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Temporary or chronic constipation may be caused by a number of factors. Some anticancer drugs and other drugs, such as pain medications, may cause constipation.  The problem may also occur if your diet is low in fiber or lacks adequate fluid.  Constipation may also result from lack of exercise or being bedridden.

Follow these suggestions to help prevent and treat constipation:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, except at mealtime.  This will help to keep stools soft.
  • A hot beverage a short time before your normal time may stimulate a bowel movement.
  • Eat high-fiber foods such as:
    • Whole grains
    • High-fiber cereals
    • Fresh raw fruits such as berries, apples with skin, oranges, and bananas
    • Dried fruits such as apricots and prunes
    • Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, peas, corn and potatoes with skin
    • Nuts
    • Add fiber to your diet such as:
      • Add wheat bran to foods such as casseroles, meatballs, and homemade breads
      • Sprinkle granola or bran on yogurt or ice cream
      • Try prune juice
      • Get some exercise, such as walking every day.  Check with your doctor or a physical therapist about the amount and type of exercise that is best for you.
      • If none of these efforts work, ask your doctor about medicine to ease constipation.