Constipation in Cancer Patients
What it is ?
Constipation occurs when bowel movements become less frequent and stools become hard, dry, and difficult to pass. You may have painful bowel movements, feel bloated, or have nausea. You may belch, pass a lot of gas, and have stomach cramps or pressure in the rectum.
Why it happens ?
Chemotherapy, the location of the cancer, pain medication, and other medicines can cause constipation. It can also happen when you do not drink enough liquids or do not eat enough fiber. Some people get constipation when they are not active.
|Ways to manage with food
Talk with your doctor before taking laxatives, stool softeners, or any medicine to relieve constipation.
Other ways to manage
- Talk with a dietitian. He or she can suggest foods to help relieve constipation.
- Keep a record of your bowel movements. Show this to your doctor or nurse and talk about what is normal for you. This record can be used to figure out whether you have constipation.
- Be active each day. Being active can help prevent and relieve constipation. Talk with your doctor about how active you should be and what kind of exercise to do.
- Let your doctor or nurse know if you have not had a bowel movement in 2 days. Your doctor may suggest a fiber supplement, laxative, stool softener, or enema. Do not use any of these without first asking your doctor or nurse.
Source: National Institute of Health Jan 13, 2013
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