- Understanding Chemotherapy: A Guide for Patients and Families
- Learning about chemotherapy treatment
- A checklist of questions to ask your doctor or nurse
- Should I get a second opinion?
- Where will I get chemo?
- How will the chemo be given to me?
- What are clinical trials?
- Can I take other medicines while I am getting chemo?
- How will I know if the chemo is working?
- How do I give my permission for this treatment?
- Chemo safety
- Will I be able to work during treatment?
- Chemo side effects
- What are common side effects?
- Hair loss
- Increased chance of bruising, bleeding, and infection
- Nausea and vomiting
- Other chemo side effects and tips to manage them
- Mouth, gum, and throat problems
- Nerve and muscle problems
- Skin and nail changes
- Urine changes and bladder and kidney problems
- Weight gain
- Other questions you may have
- When to call your doctor
- Sex, fertility, and chemo
- Thoughts, emotions, and chemo
- Paying for chemo treatment
- More information from your American Cancer Society
Some people become constipated (have trouble passing bowel movements) from chemo. Others may become constipated because they are less active, eat less than usual, have diet changes, or because they are taking certain pain medicines. Tell your doctor if you haven’t had a bowel movement in 2 or more days. You may need to take a laxative or stool softener, but don’t use these unless you have checked with your doctor, especially if your white blood cell count or platelet count is low.
Things that may help you deal with constipation:
- Drink plenty of fluids to help keep your stool soft. Warm and hot fluids often work well.
- Eat a lot of high-fiber foods. High-fiber foods include bran, whole-wheat breads and cereals, raw or cooked vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and popcorn.
- Get some exercise. Just getting out for a walk can help, as can a planned exercise program. Be sure to check with your doctor before increasing your physical activity.
Last Medical Review: 03/07/2013
Last Revised: 03/07/2013