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Constipation means being unable to have a bowel movement, having a bowl movement less often than normal or having to push harder than normal to have a bowl movement. Causes of constipation may include being less active, not eating or drinking enough or certain medications.

  • Eat at the same time every day.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Set a goal of at least 8-10 cups of liquid per day.
  • A warm or hot beverage may help stimulate bowel movements like hot lemonade or hot prune juice.
  • Foods that are liquid at room temperature also count as fluids like ice pops, gelatin or ice cream.
  • Slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet by including foods like whole-wheat breads, whole-wheat cereals, raw fruits, dried fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans. A general recommendation for fiber is 25-35 grams per day.
  • Eat a large breakfast including a hot drink and high-fiber foods like hot cereal, whole-wheat toast and fruit.
  • Packaged foods have the amount of fiber per serving listed on the Nutrition Facts label. Compare similar foods to find higher fiber choices. Choose products with 4 grams of dietary fiber or more per serving.
  • Try to get some exercise every day. Talk to your medical provider before exercising.

These suggestions are not meant to replace talking to your doctor and registered dietitian. For more information regarding constipation, schedule an appointment with the Registered Dietitian at the UW Carbone Cancer Center by contacting Cancer Connect by calling (608) 265-1700.