Radiation enteropathy; Radiation-induced small bowel injury; Post-radiation enteritis
Starting a low-fiber diet on the first day of radiation treatment can be helpful.
Avoiding the following foods may help with symptoms:
- Alcohol and tobacco
- Almost all milk products
- Coffee, tea, chocolate, and soda drinks with caffeine
- Foods containing whole bran
- Fresh and dried fruits
- Fried, greasy, or fatty foods
- Nuts and seeds
- Popcorn, potato chips, and pretzels
- Raw vegetables
- Rich pastries and baked goods
- Some fruit juices
- Strong spices
Foods and drinks that are better choices include:
- Apple or grape juice
- Applesauce, peeled apples, and bananas
- Eggs, buttermilk, and yogurt
- Fish, poultry, and meat that has been broiled or roasted
- Mild, cooked vegetables such as asparagus tips, green or black beans, carrots, spinach, and squash
- Potatoes that have been baked, boiled, or mashed
- Processed cheeses, such as American cheese
- Smooth peanut butter
- White bread, macaroni, or noodles
Other ways to control the symptoms of radiation enteritis include:
- Eat foods at room temperature
- Eat small meals more often
Your doctor may suggest or prescribe certain medications:
- Drugs that help decrease diarrhea, such as loperamide
- Pain medications
- Steroid foam that coats the lining of the rectum
- Special enzymes to replace enzymes from the pancreas
Drink plenty of fluids (up to 12 8-ounce glasses) every day when you have diarrhea. Some people need fluids given through a vein (intravenous fluids).
Your health care provider may choose to stop or reduce the dosage of radiation for a short period of time.
There often are no good treatments for chronic radiation enteritis. Your doctor may discuss surgery to either remove or go around (bypass) a section of damaged intestine.
When the abdomen receives radiation, there is always some nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In most cases, the symptoms get better 2 - 3 weeks after treatment ends.
However, when this condition develops, symptoms may last for a long period of time. Long-term (chronic) enteritis is rarely curable.
- Bleeding and
- Weight loss
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you are undergoing radiation therapy or have had radiation in the past and are experiencing a lot of diarrhea or stomach pain and cramping.