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Bowel cancer - your diet after surgery

If you have had part of your colon removed after a bowel cancer diagnosis, it is likely that your stools (poo) will be looser because one of the functions of the colon is to absorb water from the stools. This may mean that you experience repeated episodes of diarrhoea or urgency – when you need to go, you need to go now.

You should inform your care team if diarrhoea becomes a problem because medication is available to help control symptoms.

You may find some foods upset your bowels, particularly during the first few months after your operation.

Different foods can upset different people, but food and drink that is commonly known to cause problems include:

  • fruit and vegetables that are high in fibre, such as beans, cabbages, apples and bananas
  • carbonated (soft) drinks and beer.

You may find it useful to keep a food diary to record the effects of different foods on your bowel.

If you find that you are having continual problems with your bowels as a result of your diet, or you are finding it difficult to maintain a healthy diet, you should contact your doctor. You may need to be referred to a dietitian for further advice.

You can find more recovery tips and information on the Bowel Cancer Australia website, or call their helpline on 1800 555 494.

Last reviewed: August 2016

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