This website is intended for an international audience, excluding the United States, Canada and France
This website is intended for an international audience, excluding the United States, Canada and France

Dietary advice for diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is a symptom that often occurs in several types of NETs (which you may also hear referred to as carcinoid tumours, GI-NETs, GEP-NETS, pancreatic NETs and lung NETs). Chronic diarrhoea can cause dehydration and weight loss. So speak to your doctor about any diarrhoea you experience. Always ask them before you take any medications for diarrhoea since these may interact with some NETs treatments.

General nutritional advice for diarrhoea

Loss of appetite and weight loss

As someone living with NETs, you may lose your appetite if you’re feeling unwell due to various symptoms and treatment side effects. This can also lead to weight loss.

Although you may not feel like eating, remember that getting good nutrition and keeping a healthy weight are important parts of your recovery. Eating well can also help you to cope better physically and emotionally with the effects of NETs cancer and cancer treatment.

Ask your doctor for advice about ways to relieve other gastrointestinal symptoms you may have, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation or stomach pain.

Tips for getting nutrition when your appetite is poor

  • Eat five to six small meals a day and snack whenever you are hungry
  • Determine which times of day you are hungry, make sure to eat at those times, and do not limit how much you eat
  • Eat nutritious snacks that are high in calories and protein, such as nuts, yogurt, cheeses, eggs, milkshakes, ice cream, cereal, and pudding
  • Keep your favourite foods on hand for snacking
  • Add calories and protein to foods by adding sauces, gravy, butter, cheese, cream, and nuts
  • Drink fluids between meals, rather than with meals. Drinking during a meal may make you feel full too quickly
  • Choose nutritious or filling drinks, such as milk or nutritional milkshakes or smoothies
  • Ask family members or friends to get groceries and prepare food for you when you are too tired shop or cook, and consider buying precooked meals or order your groceries online

Dietary supplements

Speak to your doctor before you try any dietary supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, or products made from plants (botanicals). Even ‘natural’ supplements can sometimes have harmful effects on your tumours and interact with cancer treatments.

Avoid products that claim to be ‘miracle cures,’ ‘breakthroughs,’ or ‘new discoveries,’ for NETs.

Also avoid those products that claim to have benefits but no side effects or claim to be based on a ‘secret ingredient’ or method. Such claims are almost always fake, and the product may contain harmful substances, drugs or contaminants.

While your doctor might not know all the details about these products, they may be able to keep you from making a dangerous mistake.

Probiotic supplements

Supplements that contain live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your gastrointestinal (digestive) system are called probiotics. Some people living with NETs may find these helpful to take.

You can find probiotic supplements available for sale in most supermarkets and include yoghurt drinks that contain the ‘good’ bacteria lactobacillus or bifidobacterium.

These ‘good’ bacteria are present in some dairy products and can help people with irritable bowel syndrome as well as NETs.

It is not known exactly how probiotic supplements help people with NETs. One theory is that they might help because people with NETs have excess ‘bad’ bacteria growing in the gut and probiotics restore the balance of good versus bad bacteria.

Excess ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut is a condition known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or ‘SIBO’ and is usually treated with antibiotics. Your doctor can perform a simple breath test to see if you have this.


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This website is intended for an international audience, excluding the United States, Canada and France. This website has been developed by Ipsen in collaboration with those living with NETs and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Ipsen would like to thank everyone for their valuable insights and stories. All names used on this website are not necessarily real names. Visit for more information about us. Website design and development by Kanga Health Ltd.