Pain medicines, changes in your eating habits and being less active can cause your bowels to move less often and stools to become harder to pass (constipation). If you are constipated, try eating high-fiber foods. Also drink a lot of water, eat at regular times and try to increase your physical activity. Avoid cheese, meat, processed food and other low-fiber foods that cause constipation.
Ways to Ease Constipation
- Try to eat at the same times each day.
- Try to have a bowel movement at the same time each day.
- Drink eight to 10 cups of liquid each day, if approved by your doctor. Try water, prune juice, warm juices, teas and hot lemonade.
- If you are prone to constipation, try to set up a regular bowel plan. This may include over-the-counter medicines like Senokot or Colace. You also may want to try Metamucil or other forms of fiber. Talk to your doctor or nurse about what to use.
- Use laxatives only as directed by your doctor. Contact your doctor or nurse if you have not had a bowel movement for three days or longer.
- If it's OK with your doctor, eat high-fiber and bulky foods, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked with skins and peels on), popcorn and dried beans. Add these slowly to your diet to avoid bloating and gas.
- Limit drinks and foods that cause gas if it becomes a problem.
- To lessen the amount of air you swallow while eating, try not to talk much at meals, do not use straws to drink, avoid chewing gum and steer clear of carbonated beverages.
- Eat a breakfast that includes a hot drink and high-fiber foods.
- Ask your dietitian to recommend a high-calorie, high-protein, fiber-loaded liquid supplement if you need more calories, protein and fiber.
- If it's OK with your doctor, increase your physical activity. Talk about your plan with your doctor or nurse before you start.