Article Text

PDF

Chronic diarrhoea after radiotherapy for gynaecological cancer: occurrence and aetiology.
  1. A Danielsson,
  2. H Nyhlin,
  3. H Persson,
  4. U Stendahl,
  5. R Stenling,
  6. O Suhr
  1. Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden.

    Abstract

    The occurrence of chronic diarrhoea was evaluated in 173 consecutive patients previously treated with radiation for gynaecological cancer. A survey of gastrointestinal symptoms showed a high frequency of diarrhoea; 13% of the patients had 21 or more bowel movements a week and 3% had 28 or more. Significantly more patients who had a cholecystectomy were in the group with diarrhoea (chi 2 = 6.26; p less than 0.02). Twenty patients with chronic or intermittent diarrhoea were subject to extended gastrointestinal investigation. Bile acid malabsorption was evaluated by the 75Selenahomocholic acid-taurine test (SeHCAT). Bile acid malabsorption was found in 13 (65%) of the 20 patients further investigated, of whom seven had extremely low whole body retention values, which is consistent with severe malabsorption. The results suggest that bile acid malabsorption is a common cause of diarrhoea after radiation treatment for gynaecological cancer. Bacterial contamination was diagnosed in nine patients (45%) by the [14C]-D-xylose breath test or by the cholyl-[14C]-glycine breath test in combination with a normal test for bile acid malabsorption. All patients with vitamin B-12 deficiency, who were tested for bile acid malabsorption, had low retention times for the SeHCAT (p = 0.05). A significant decline in the frequency of diarrhoea was found after treatment with antibiotics or bile acid sequestrants, or both, in combination with a reduced fat diet.

    Statistics from Altmetric.com

    Request permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.