Difficulty having a bowel movement, or constipation, may be a problem for people undergoing cancer treatment. Surgery, inactivity, eating a low-fiber diet, and not drinking enough fluid can contribute to changes in normal bowel function. Pain medications and some chemotherapy drugs can also cause constipation.
Tips to Prevent and Manage Constipation
- Add fiber to your diet: whole grain breads and cereals; beans; raw vegetables; fruits; nuts; seeds; and popcorn.
- Drink at 8 to 12 glasses of water or fluid each day, warm drinks and prune juice may also be helpful.
- Stay active. Try to get a moderate amount of exercise every day.
- Ask your doctor if you should be on a bowel regimen to prevent constipation.
Always talk to your nurse or doctor before using fiber supplements, laxatives or stool softeners. Enemas can be especially dangerous if your blood counts are low.