Most people have changes in how their bowel works after rectal surgery.
If you had a local resection, your bowel will usually recover quite quickly.
After TME surgery, it will take longer. It could take several months for your bowel function to get into a regular pattern. It may never be the same as it was before the cancer. But in time, it should settle into a routine that you recognise as normal for you.
After rectal surgery, you may experience one or more of the following changes:
- needing to poo several times a day (more frequent)
- feeling that you can’t wait when you need to poo (urgency)
- diarrhoea or constipation
- losing control over when your bowels open (incontinence)
- difficulty telling the difference between wind or stools
- feeling bloated or passing a lot of wind
- having a sore bottom.
These effects usually improve over time. Tell your surgeon or specialist nurse if you are having problems, or if your bowel is not settling into a routine. They can give you advice, prescribe medicines or refer you to a continence specialist nurse or dietitian.