What can happen?
Radiotherapy for prostate cancer (external beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy) can cause bowel problems for some men. Radiation can cause the lining of the bowel to become inflamed (proctitis) which then leads to symptoms such as:
- loose and watery bowel movements (diarrhoea)
- passing more wind than usual
- needing to go to the toilet more often, or having to rush to the toilet
- feeling an urge to have a bowel movement, but then not being able to go
- a feeling that your bowels haven’t emptied properly
- pain in the stomach area (abdomen) or back passage
- bleeding from the back passage – this is rare.
Some men find that changes to their bowel habits settle down a few weeks after finishing treatment. For others, the changes last longer. Some men get bowel problems months or years after treatment.