What is constipation?
Constipation is when you have either hard stools, fewer or smaller stools, or you have a diffi cult time passing
What are the other signs of constipation?
• Fullness in your abdomen
• Painful cramping
• Poor appetite
• Needing to strain with bowel movements
What could cause this to happen?
There are many things that can cause you to be constipated. Some reasons are:
• A low fi ber diet
• Being less active than usual
• Not enough fl uids
• Not going to the bathroom when you feel the urge to move your bowels
• Some medications, such as antidepressants, tranquilizers, pain medications and some chemotherapy
What is best to eat if I am constipated?
Check with your doctor to see if you should increase the fi ber in your diet. If your doctor approves, try foods
from the following list:
• Whole grain breads and cereals
• Oatmeal and legumes (peas and beans)
• Carrots and potatoes
• Fruits like pears, apples, bananas and cantaloupes
• Dried fruits like raisins, dates and prunes
• Seeds and nuts
What is best to drink if I am constipated?
• Warm drinks like tea, coffee or a squeeze of lemon juice in warm water
• Drink fl uids (8-10 eight-ounce glasses per day, especially water)
• Limit the use of milk products (milk, yogurt, etc.)
Is there anything else I can do that may help?
Prevention of constipation is the goal!
• Include mild exercise, like walking, in your daily activity. Talk to your doctor about the amount and type
of exercise that is right for you.
• Listen to your body. If you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, do not ignore it. This leads to
• Give yourself time and privacy.
• If you have a raised toilet seat, use a footstool. Squatting and leaning over is the normal position for
moving your bowels.
• If you are taking medication that causes constipation, take the laxatives that are prescribed for you. If none
have been prescribed for you, discuss any laxative use with your nurse or doctor before star