Objective To evaluate the frequency of and risk factors for severe late bowel toxicity after curative radiotherapy in women treated for locally advanced cervical cancer. Methods Included were 515 women treated for locally advanced cervical cancer with primary radiotherapy with curative intent from 1992 to 2013. Bowel toxicity was graded according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events. Associations between risk factors and severe late bowel toxicity were assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression models. Results Median follow-up was 78 months. Fifty-nine patients developed severe late bowel toxicity. The actuarial 3-year and 5-year severe late bowel toxicity rates were both 13%. In the multivariable analysis, factors significantly associated with severe late bowel toxicity were: smoking (HR 2.59 [1.48–4.55]), severe acute bowel toxicity (HR 2.46 [1.24–4.49]), previous major abdominal surgery (HR 2.35 [1.20–4.60]), hypertension (HR 2.33 [1.23–4.40]), parametrial boost (HR 2.18 [1.10–4.33]), low socioeconomic status (HR 2.05 [1.17–3.59]) and low BMI (HR 0.93 [0.88–0.99]). First symptoms of severe late bowel toxicity were reported after a median follow-up of 9 months, but occurred up to 10 years after end of treatment. Only one third of the patients with severe late bowel toxicity were referred to a gastroenterologist. Conclusions Severe late bowel toxicity is a frequent complication of definitive radiotherapy for cervical cancer. Several independent risk factors were found which warrant further research. A standardized and structured approach in the early diagnostics and management of bowel toxicity is needed.