North Houston Cancer Clinics

Chemotherapy Education(constipation)

December 3, 2023


Constipation is when your bowel movements happen less often than normal or if your bowel movements are hard or

painful to pass.

There are things you can do to prevent constipation, including the following:

o Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid every day, such as water, fruit, or vegetable juices, and other clear liquids, like broth,

or sport drinks. Speak to your pharmacist or care team about oral rehydration solutions found over the counter at the


o Warm liquids, such as coffee and tea, may help.

o If you are able, try to stay active every day. Walking is a good form of exercise that is convenient and easy to do. Even

short walks around the house can help keep your bowels moving.

o Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, prunes, nuts, seeds, popcorn, and

high-fiber cereals.

Your doctor may recommend medications to prevent or treat constipation. Take your medication as directed by your care


Call your care team

Call your care team if you experience any of the following symptoms:

o You have pain in your stomach.

o You have not had a bowel movement in more than 2 days.

o You are unable to pass gas.

o You have pain in your rectal area.

o You have a fever over 100.4°F.

o You are having nausea or vomiting with your constipation.

o Your stomach looks swollen or feels hard to the touch.

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. It doesn’t always cause symptoms, especially in early stages. But with regular screening, it can often be prevented or found early when it’s small and might be easier to treat. People at high risk include those with a personal history of colorectal cancer and certain types of polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, an inherited colorectal cancer syndrome and a personal history of getting radiation to the abdomen or pelvis.

There are several effective tests available, including visual tests (colonoscopy, CT colonography and flexible sigmoidoscopy) and at-home stool tests that look for abnormal fecal DNA or blood. Stool-based tests include a highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year, a highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year, and a multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA every 3 years) Visual exams include a colonoscopy every 10 years, CT (virtual colonoscopy) colonography every 5 years, and a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years If a person chooses to be screened with a test other than colonoscopy, any abnormal test result should be followed up with colonoscopy.

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