If you have constipation

Constipation means that you are not able to open your bowels (poo) as regularly as you normally do. It can become difficult or painful for you to poo. Some chemotherapy drugs, anti-sickness drugs and painkillers can cause constipation.

Below are some tips that can help with constipation:

  • Make sure you eat plenty of fibre (roughage) each day. Good sources of fibre include: 
    • whole-wheat breakfast cereals like Weetabix®, Shredded Wheat® or muesli
    • wholemeal bread and flour
    • brown rice
    • wholemeal pasta
    • fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of fluids – both hot and cold drinks will help. Aim to drink at least 2 litres (3.5 pints) a day. This is particularly important if you increase the amount of fibre in your diet, as eating fibre without drinking enough fluids can make constipation worse.
  • You could try a natural remedy for constipation. These include prune juice, prunes, fig syrup and dried apricots.
  • Gentle exercise, such as walking, will help keep your bowels moving.
  • If you are constipated because of the medicines you are taking, it may be possible to change the dose you take. You may need to take laxatives (medicines that help you poo) as well. Your doctor can give you more advice.

If you have cancer of the bowel, or you think your cancer treatment is causing constipation, ask your doctor or specialist nurse for advice.