Anal/rectal & bowel spasms/cramps in anal cancer
Wow, that was one of the worst weeks for pain ever, & my treatment hasn't started yet. 4 days in bed with severe unrelieved abdominal pain using Panadol & endone, then nausea for 2 days at commencement of antibiotics for potential diverticulitis. Not eaten a meal in nearly a week. Day 7 today, abdominal pain easing & nausea gone, but anal rectal cramp/spasms every hour putting me in bed for half an hour. Has anyone had experience with this type of cramping? My anal tumour (5.8cm) runs from anal sphincter into rectum, & my symptoms have been changing rapidly. Due to start chemo/radiation as combined therapy in 11 days & wanted to be in optimal health to start, but that's gone out the window. How can I stop the cramping, will the pain go once I start treatment? Help
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@kerryos, I'm sorry to hear that you are having such dreadful abdominal pain and cramping before treatment has even started and that you haven't been able to eat for a week.
I calling in your fellow supporters like @trishdep189 @4237220 @jenmo @quilthouse1 @amariewilkinson @lisag03 @mardee313 @martin77 @apinzonc0627 @artew @marymary69, who all have experience with anal or rectal cancer to share their thoughts.
Have you been in touch with your cancer care team about the pain? Have they offered an alternate way for you to get nutrition and hydration (non-oral)?
Mine was slightly different than yours since it was rectal only but still very near to the anus. I didn’t have issues until after surgery and chemo and radiation (had no signs or symptoms before this). Feel free to reach out anytime! I had to get through a long period of time where I never thought I’d get better and ended up getting legal THC drops/gummies to help with not only the pain, but I do believe it eventually helped my colon relax enough to stop what may have been spasms or the Vegas nerve reacting when I used the restroom (which was often). I didn’t want to eat because of the pain it caused but just keep trying things and plain potatoes seemed easiest for me for a while. It was a lot of guessing and keeping a pain diary to see if I could figure things out. The more you reach out for help with your care team, the better. My care team gave me some foam spray (forget name) script that tided me over some and helped with the pain back there a lot! It calmed things down some. Prayers you feel better soon! Warm baths and Epsom salts helped a lot for me too!
Colleen, thank you for reaching out. Today is day 8 & abominal spasms have eased but anal pain/ pressure still present. Reached out to team today & was told to present to ED. As symptoms are reducing & am able to eat small solid food portions, I have deferred the ED visit, but recognise I should have gone earlier. No advice on food, & haven't connected with dietician till next Monday. I am concerned that the tumour is growing rapidly as pain has changed & I seem to be straining more to pass wind. Bowel motions are scant, but then haven't eaten much in last week. Since diagnosis 6 weeks ago, new symptoms are appearing each week. Is this typical of SCC anal cancers?
I am so sorry you are suffering so bad. Since they removed my tumor I have had minimal cramping but the gas and lack of controlling it is embarrassing at times. I am also going thru mild diverticulitis and on antibiotics which is killing my stomach.
Saltines are my savior. I also ground up cooked chicken and added some broth to make it baby food consistency and I eat a lot of egg whites. Avoid anything with fats and oils.
Have they given you anti nausea medication? If so, and not working ask for an alternative.
You’re in my prayers. 🙏
I'm Dena and I was diagnosed in 2017 and treated for colorectal cancer with radiation and chemotherapy. All of the symptoms sound so familiar to me even after such a long time. I don't know what I would do without imodium since I have also been diagnosed with IBS-diarrhea dominants. Just recently I started experiencing the colon/rectal spasm with severe pain. My GI prescribed hyoscyamine for the Anal/rectal & bowel spasms/cramps. But now I am experiencing seepage to the point of becoming incontinent. I have been wearing adult panties since 2017.
But I say this to say that maybe you can tolerate hyoscyamine, so talk it over with your physician.
This support group is a Godsend.
I will have to come off the hyoscyamine because I will become home bound and not have any quality of life left.
I recently completed 6 weeks of chemo and radiation for anal cancer caused by HPV. My tumor was very large. Almost the size of a tennis ball. The pain and bleeding was horrible. It felt like I was sitting on a golf ball. Amazingly after the first week of treatment the pain and bleeding stopped. I am hopeful that the treatment worked. I won’t know for another month when I have a CAT scan. I’m trying to be positive but at times it is different. Waiting for results is making me very anxious.
I went through the exact same thing last summer. My anal cancer was caused by HPV and was a squamous cell carcinoma. My tumor had grown to 7 cm by the time they started treatment. Since last summer, I've lost 46 pounds. Before treatment, I had to limit what I ate because I knew that what went in–must come out and it was so painful. During and after treatment, food tasted horrible and I couldn't eat much. I went through lots of Jello and yogurt.
Both of my oncologists at UC Davis told me they expected my treatment plan to completely kill the tumor. After one week of chemoradiation, I could feel that the tumor had shrunk, and most of the pain went away. My chemo consisted of fluorouracil-5 and mitomycin. I had 2 rounds of chemo and 30 external beam radiation treatments. At my last PET/CT scan 2 months after finishing my treatments, the tumor was MUCH smaller, and will continue to shrink over the next few months. They will be doing regular imaging to check my progress.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it–the treatments are brutal, especially towards the end. I've had recurrent bouts of diverticulitis requiring 2 antibiotics (Flagyl and Cipro) which really make me feel like crap. Also, I've needed two blood transfusions as my blood counts got very low–but I think that's to be expected. It's a long process, but I have every expectation of a complete cure, so that makes it worth it.
You can do this!
Thanks for sharing with us,this gives me hope my brother has just been diagnosed with rectal cancer 3 weeks back and has not yet started treatment and he is in so much pain I won't lie but reading your comment gave me hope and strength.
I feel for him. He'll be in my thoughts. Please update us on his progress.
Thanks Susan I'll update