Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Coping with constipation

The following are some tips for coping with constipation:

  • Eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  • Drink 8-10 cups of clear liquid a day (e.g., water, prune juice, warm juices, non-caffeinated teas, soup, popsicles).
  • Eat a breakfast that includes a hot drink and foods high in insoluble fiber (e.g., bran cereals).
  • Try drinking a warm liquid (e.g., soup, tea) 30 minutes before your normal time for a bowel movement.
  • Try drinking ½ cup of warm prune juice.
  • Slowly add high-fiber foods to your diet (e.g., whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables with skins/peels, beans, peas, raisins, dates and prunes). Always increase fluid when increasing fiber.
  • Try eating at the same times each day to help regulate your bowel movements.
  • If gas becomes a problem, limit drinks and foods that cause gas (e.g., carbonated beverages, cruciferous vegetables and chewing gum). Avoid drinking with a straw.
  • If you feel up to it, and if your doctor permits, try to increase your physical activity (e.g., take short walks).
  • If using an enteral formula, as in the case of a feeding tube, consider switching to a formula with fiber.
  • Ask your doctor about medications to relieve constipation (e.g., some over-the-counter medicines include Senekot, Colace, Metamucil, Benefiber).

NOTE: This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to making decisions about your treatment.