Q:

How do you overcome constipation during chemo?

A:

Quick Answer

To treat constipation caused by chemotherapy, the American Cancer Society recommends drinking more fluids, eating high-fiber foods and exercising. If these actions fail to work, a doctor may prescribe a laxative or stool softener.

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Full Answer

To treat chemotherapy-related constipation at home, reducing alcohol intake is recommended, according to WebMD. Although a doctor may be required to provide a specific fluid intake goal, most adults need eight to 10 glasses of water per day. WebMD also suggests scheduling a consistent time each day to have a bowel movement to train the body to become more regular. Bulk-forming fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, can also be beneficial.

When undertaking home treatment for constipation, warning signs include worsening chronic constipation, rectal pain, bloody stool or leakage, according to WebMD. A health care professional should be consulted in the event that these symptoms appear.

Taking laxatives without a doctor's recommendation may cause problems, cautions WebMD. Overuse of laxatives can lead to dependence and have long-term negative effects, such as vitamin D and calcium deficiency.

Constipation is a common side effect of anti-cancer drugs, explains Chemotherapy.com. While most cases can be managed through diet, exercise and medication, chronic constipation can lead to stool impaction, which occurs when stool is unable to pass through the colon and requires medical intervention to be removed. Rather than treat constipation, Chemotherapy.com suggests modifying lifestyles to prevent it from occurring.

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