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Cancer Nutrition Consortium

How can I relieve constipation pain?

Question

My husband is on chemotherapy for colon cancer and is having a difficult time with constipation. What type of diet should I follow to help relieve the pain from constipation?

Answer

Constipation occurs when the colon does not contract well enough or often enough. It is important to eat foods high in fiber and drink plenty of fluids to get the bowel moving. Insoluble fibers such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, and green vegetables such as green beans and zucchini help to retain water to create bulky stool and do not produce colon gas which makes it easier for the stool to pass through the colon. Soluble fibers such as a beans, vegetables like broccoli and carrots, and fruits like berries, plums, apples and pears are also helpful to get the bowel moving but can cause increased gas. Make sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses of clear liquids a day and avoid caffeine and constipating foods such as cheese and bananas. Prune juice can also be an effective way to reduce constipation. If these are not effective, you may have to discuss with your physician the possibilities of adding over the counter medications such as Colace, Miralax, Metamucil, or Benefiber.

 

This information is not intended to replace the individual recommendations or guidance you may have received from your physician or registered dietitian.