Bowel surprises after seeds/brachytherapy

Had my seed implant February 1. Minor urination issues under control with Flomax twice a day. Saw my doctor just yesterday; he says everything is going according to plan.
About a week ago, I had my normal morning bowel movement, but then another within an hour. Not diarrhea - just another movement, but with a bit of "mucus". Doc said this was probably caused by the radiation. No problems since then, until ...

Then just today, I had the normal morning movement, but have had much gas and several more small bowel movements - not liquid, just "walnut-size", with a tiny bit of pink color in the mucus (?).

I know radiation can lead to bowel surprises; my doctor said to expect something like this eventually.

Anyone else experience bowel changes after seed implant? And what treatment and/or changes you used to deal with it?

I searched on "bowel" here but only found one discussion, which dealt with loose bowels nine months after implant. I'm just 3 weeks after implant.

Thanks.
Tom in CT

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13 replies. Join the discussion

anyone? bowel changes after seed implant? symptoms and treatment?

Thanks.
Tom in CT

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It could be connected. Have you taken a look at what you've been eating prior to these episodes? It's likely there is a connection to the brachy, but your diet could be aggravating it.

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Try taking Metamucil daily. Most of the radiation guys have very good response to this. Some changes in bowels are normal; unless you are bleeding alot there should be no problem. Sometimes Brachy causes constipation and sometimes loose stools; Metamucil will work on both issues.
JohnT

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Thanks gentlemen. The many sources on brachytherapy after-effects I've been reading don't give a lot of detail on exactly what to expect. That's why it's great to have "been there done that" guys to talk with.

No bleeding, no pain, not "loose", but surprising to go from one movement a day to two or three. And the feeling of a "tight rubber band" across the abdomen continues.

Surgeon and radiologist both say this is all to be expected, but seem to imply it's something you just have to live with.

I wish there were a pamphlet: "Changes you may experience after seed implant, and how to deal with them".

Thanks.
Tom in CT

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Your excellent recommendation re "Changes you may experience after seed implant, and how to deal with them." is one I made--shockingly--to my radiation Dr. at a major university cancer center. Hard to believe they didn't have such a document with ranges of side effects.

Had seed implant for localized, low-level PCa April 20, 2010 and still have multiple, small bowel movements (BM) daily, often associated with having to urinate with urgency, e.g. after running 6-7 miles. No longer eat baked beans or sweet potatoes since they cause gripping when performing a BM (if performance is right!)

This week I tried eliminating flomax (down to once a day for five months now) and found it much more difficult to get started, smaller stream, up once again five times per night so I'm going to get back on flomax despite fears of taking medication for long time periods. I also experience swelling of the bladder (quite noticeable) when not on flomax.

Any suggestions, of course, are welcome. All else is good, still aggressively exercising and first PSA test at 6 months was down to 1.0 and the Dr. was pleased. Next PSA test at year one.

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Had my seeds in Feb., 2009 at age 60. Eventually weened myself off Flomax during the first year. TTS, I suggest you wait a few months, and then try every other day, then every third day before quitting. I now sleep through the night many nights for the first time in 10 or 15 years, and when I do wake up, it's often after 6 or 7 hours.
As far as bowel movements, I developed hemorrhoids after Brachy. Allegedly unrelated, but I have my doubts. My BM's have been all over the place (No, not literally!) Sometimes walnut sized or smaller pellets and sometimes toilet stuffing hard or floodgates open soft. John's Metamucil suggestion is excellent. My GI doc recommended it for constipation before I was diagnosed with PC and I occasionally used it. Now, it's essential. I take 2 Citucel tabs 3 times a day, and try to eat a package of Metamucil bars daily. Keeps things soft and flowing pretty well most of the time.

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TTS and BigC - thanks very much for your detailed experiences. Hearing from guys who have actually had the same side effects after the implant is *very* helpful.

Even tho' the literature talks about "bowel and urinary" changes, every man is different. So without other guys to talk with, you always find yourself thinking "but is what's happening with me the same thing the books talk about?".

Thanks.
Tom in CT

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I'm now five months past the BT. As I have posted in other threads, very minor side effects. Usual trouble urinating, but Flomax after dinner seems to keep it coming with no problems.

As to BM, they vary, but difficult to pinpoint to the BT, as I have been constipated for a couple years do to another medication I take. In my case, eating prunes seems to keep it under control, but have to vary how much I eat. Now about 4-5 prunes after dinner.

After the surgery, it got so that it did vary a lot more. Sometimes, as noted above, a little bit, other times a normal, well-formed movement. If I eat too many prunes, then have to go more often.

The other bothersome thing is more flatulence that I never had before. This may be due to the change in my diet with much more vegetables and fruits, or not, who knows?

As to the suggestions, I think I will try Citrucel to see if that helps.

Good luck, try not to worry too much (easy for me to say). Things could be a lot worse.

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Great topic guys. I was wondering about bm's after seeds. Right now I'm having everything set in place for the seeds, which should happen in the next month or so. I've read that seeds & radiation therapy (I'm having both plus hormone therapy) could cause some problems with bowel movements, ie.-diarrhea and/or constipation. Either could be a problem for me because I want to continue to work after all this. Have any of you went to work after seed implants, etc? How did you deal with the bowel problems while at work? How soon did you return to work? You can see where I'm going with this. Would appreciate your imput and feedback.

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I've been fortunate so far (knock wood!) that I've had no diarrhea at all; just more frequent "normal" bowel movements. Plus the frequent urination during the day, and "tight/slow" urination at night. Taking .4mg Tamsulosin (Flomax) once after breakfast, and once after dinner.

But I still have a "tight rubber band" discomfort in the lower abdomen, which I've had since my implant on February 1. No pain, no fever.

I wonder if anyone else remembers having a tight or "slightly sore" abdomen? If so, how long did it last, and what you did to help (or just live with it for a couple months)?

Thanks.
Tom in CT

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Just a follow-up. It's now eight weeks since the Palladium 103 implant.

Urinary problems (weak stream or just dripping) in the evening and during the night. Daytime long as I keep moving urination much better. Now need to figure out a way to keep moving 24/7!

Big issue right now is what seems to be constipation. Two weeks ago I went from 2 or 3 soft bowel movements a day, to one compacted movement a day - and not very large. Very tight abdomen and stuffed feeling 24/7. Have been taking Metamucil (two wafers daily) with a cup of water for a week, but no improvement. Normal bland diet and plenty of liquids.

I feel stuffed, but don't really feel an urge to have a movement.

Anyone else remember going through this constipation situation? and how you dealt with it? Very uncomfortable here, but doctor says it's to be expected at this point.

Thanks.
Tom M.

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DZ,
No problem going to work a day or two after seeding; just stay close to a bathroom because you will have urinary frequency for about 4 to 6 weeks. Stay off all alcohol and caffine and take flowmax and ibubropin and you will do just fine.
JohnT

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I can relate to everything on this thread so far. Thanks to all who contributed.

This is my 6 week mark since getting seeds, hope this is the start of better times. I began noticing bowel irregularities after a couple of weeks but thought little about it until I had a constipation issue (4 weeks) along with a lot of discomfort and nausea. I believe that better information from my doctor I would have been on Metamucil and might have prevented this incident. I will definately pick some up today on the way home and add it to my routine. If your bowels feel full it may likely be because they are.

Good luck to all.

JohnB

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