Nutritional Management of Constipation During Cancer Treatment
Nutritional management of treatment side effects
There is more to nutrition during cancer and cancer therapy than getting enough calories
and protein. The foods you choose also help you cope with side effects. These include
loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chewing and swallowing difficulties,
and taste changes.
As each person's individual medical profile and diagnosis is different, so is his
or her reaction to treatment. Side effects may be severe, mild, or absent. Be sure
to discuss with your cancer care team possible side effects of treatment before the
Nutritional management of constipation
Some anticancer medicines, pain medicines, and other medicines cause constipation.
This is a condition in which the stool becomes hard and dry, making it difficult to
pass. When waste matter remains too long in the bowels, water is absorbed. This leads
to hard stools and constipation. The following suggestions may help to prevent or
Drink plenty of liquids, especially water—at least 8 cups every day.
Drink a hot liquid such as hot tea, about one-half hour before your usual time for
a bowel movement.
Check with your healthcare provider to see if you can increase the fiber in your diet.
If you can, try foods such as whole-grain breads and cereals, dried fruits, wheat
bran, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes such as dried beans and peas, and brown
rice. Eat the skin on potatoes.
Try to get some exercise every day to help prevent constipation.
If you have not had a bowel movement for two days, call your healthcare provider.
He or she may suggest taking a laxative or stool softener. High-fiber foods will help
constipation, but check with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian before
you eat these foods. There are certain types of cancer for which a high-fiber diet
is not recommended.