Constipation during chemotherapy is a main side effect of chemotherapy. As some chemo drugs damage the intestinal lining which leads to constipation. It also happens due to patients’ physical inactivity. Moreover, patients do not walk frequently which is also caused by decreased oral intake, especially fluids. Another reason is nausea and vomiting, to prevent this patient avoids taking food and drinks.
If not managed on time, constipation can become a major issue for some patients. It can lead to indigestion and a decrease in appetite, which can further weaken the patient’s physical health and cause medical problems such as
Abdominal pain and discomfort.
The feeling of indigestion
Flatulence and bloating
Nausea and vomiting in severe constipation
Tips to Manage and Prevent Constipation during Chemotherapy:
Constipation during Chemotherapy can be prevented by lifestyle modifications and diet. Following are some tips that can prevent constipation.
Drink plenty of fluids
Drink plenty of juices and fluids, as we know water or fluid intake is very important for our body to work well. Drinking water and juices can soften hard stool and can be passed very easily without hurting the anal mucosa. Furthermore, water helps in maintaining hydration keeps a person alert, and also helps in the digestion of food.
Use High fiber diet:
A diet high in fiber can prevent constipation. A high-fiber diet includes fruits, cereals, and well-cooked vegetables. Some fruits like bananas, apple berries, and pears contain a good amount of fiber. However, fruits and vegetables are recommended to prevent constipation but try to take fresh and clean fruits and vegetables. because the main side effect of chemotherapy is a patient’s weak immune system due to low white blood cells, and patients catch infections very easily. So, try to use well-cooked vegetables and hygienic fruit.
Over-the-counter stool softeners:
In case of severe constipation, you can use some over-the-counter stool softeners. Do not use too much that can cause diarrhea. Furthermore, do not overuse or do not use stool softeners on a daily basis, this will make you habitual and your gut movement will be decreased.
Physical activity: (To prevent constipation during chemotherapy)
Physical activity is very important to prevent constipation. people who do not walk frequently experience more problems with constipation and indigestion than those who are active physically, so, do not bond yourself to bed that can decrease your digestion and gut motility and cause constipation. If in case you can not go outside your house, do a walk inside the house or in your room. Moreover, involve yourself in the kitchen in cooking with care.
Warm Milk with Some Funnel Seeds: (To prevent constipation during chemotherapy)
Use warm milk with some funnel seeds in it, taking it at bedtime is the best remedy for constipation.
Funnel seed normally improves digestion. Those patients who have lactose intolerance should avoid this remedy.
Yogurt and sweet potatoes:
Yogurt contains probiotics and is good for bowel health and prevents constipation. Sweet potatoes are also good for relieving and preventing constipation.
Foods to avoid Constipation during Chemotherapy:
There are some foods if used excessively can worsen your constipation. E.g
Too much use of coffee.
Complications of Severe Constipation.
If severe constipation is not relieved in a timely manner, it can lead to intra-abdominal infections. Passing hard stools can also cause harm to the anal mucosa, resulting in per rectal bleeding and injury to anal tissues. These injuries can potentially lead to infection and severe pain. It is important to seek relief for constipation to avoid these complications.
To prevent constipation, it is best to make lifestyle changes through diet and exercise. It is not recommended to rely on over-the-counter stool softeners as they can cause your bowel to become dependent on them.