Health Library
Constipation with Cancer

Why Does Cancer Cause Constipation?

Constipation is a common side effect of some of the cancer treatment drugs your child may be receiving. Pain medications like narcotics can also cause constipation.

Treatment for Constipation

  • Use prescribed medicine as instructed by your child's doctor or nurse practitioner. If your child gets diarrhea, stop using the medicine until the stool is formed again. Do not use enemas or suppositories.
  • Encourage your child to use the bathroom at the same time each day to establish a daily routine. Remind your child not to strain while trying to have a bowel movement.
  • Encourage activity such as daily exercise or walks.
  • Encourage your child to drink liquids such as water, prune juice and apple juice.
  • Encourage your child to eat high fiber foods such as fruits, raw vegetables, raisins, cabbage, green beans, whole wheat products, bran muffins, granola bars or dried prunes.

Call Your Child's Doctor or Nurse Practitioner If:

  • Your child experiences a change in his normal bowel patterns, eating habits or appetite
  • Your child experiences swelling or an enlarged stomach
  • Diarrhea lasts for one day or more
  • If there is no bowel movement in one to two days with prescribed medicines for constipation
  • If there is pain or bleeding with bowel movements

Last Updated 11/2022