Many aspects of cancer care can contribute to constipation. They include treatment medications, pain medications, decreased food and fluid intake, depression and activity levels. You can prevent constipation by following these recommendations:

Over the Counter Options

  • Take stool softeners daily. Docusate-Colace, Surfak and Dialose are effective and available over the counter. Consider a daily probiotic. Some health food stores have delicious drinks that contain probiotics and promote stomach health. 
  • Use laxatives. If you do did not have a bowel movement in two days, take 2-3 tablespoons of milk of magnesia or senna tablets. Repeat every 12 hours until you have a bowel movement. Do not use milk of magnesia if you have kidney problems. If you do not have results from the laxative call your care team for additional recommendations. 

Fluids and Diet

  • Increase your fluid intake. Drink 8-12 cups of liquid daily, including fresh fruit juices and hot liquids upon arising in the morning. Lemon water first thing in the morning promotes health digestion. 
  • Change your diet. Eat high fiber foods very day. Use whole grains rather than refined grains. Add bran, fresh fruits, raw vegetables, figs and prunes to your diet. 

Physical Activity

  • Add physical activity to your life daily. Even if it is just a short walk. 

Contact your doctor

  • If constipation remains a problem, please do not hesitate to contact your doctor.