Constipation is annoying and uncomfortable. Medications to treat cancer pain may cause constipation. Changes in the body, such as organ failure, decreased ability to move, and depression can also cause constipation. Other causes of constipation include not drinking enough liquids and not eating enough food. 

Treatment of constipation includes prevention, if possible, as well as elimination of possible causes and limited use of laxatives. 

What Can I Do About Constipation? 

  • Increase fluid intake by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid each day, unless your doctor says you have kidney or heart disease and tells you not to do this. 
  • Get some exercise every day, if possible. Go for a walk or try a more structured exercise program. 
  • Increase the amount of dietary fiber in your diet by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals, breads and bran. Patients who have had a bowel obstruction or have undergone bowel surgery (for example, a colostomy) should not eat a high fiber diet. 
  • Take only medications prescribed by your doctor. 
  • Do not use suppositories or enemas unless ordered by your doctor. In some patients, these treatments may lead to bleeding, infection, or other harmful side effects.