Oncology Control Constipation

Oncology: Controlling Constipation

Constipation (difficulty passing stool) is a common side effect of chemotherapy and pain medicine. Constipation can be caused by other medications you are taking. It can also occur if you're not getting enough exercise and nourishment. Fluids are important in managing constipation.


When to see your healthcare provider

Contact your doctor if:

  • You have no bowel movement in 3 days or more, especially if you are taking vinca alkaloids (vinblastine, vincristine, or vinorelbine).
  • You are vomiting.
  • You have pain in your abdomen.

Medications can also help

Ask your doctor about the medications used to manage constipation. A stool softener or laxative may be prescribed. These can relieve constipation by helping you have a bowel movement. Do not take any over-the-counter product without asking your doctor first.