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Digestive Changes

Some cancer drugs and treatments can result in diarrhea or constipation. You may also experience water retention or dehydration (loss of fluids).

Some ideas for relieving diarrhea symptoms include:

  • Eating foods that are bland, low fiber and high in protein, calories, and minerals
  • Eating several small meals a day, instead of three large meals
  • Drinking six to eight glass of liquid each day
  • Avoiding:
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Milk or milk products
  • Chocolate
  • Dried fruits
  • Beans
  • Popcorn
  • Fatty, fried, greasy or spicy foods
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Very hot and cold beverages

Check with a doctor or nurse before taking any medications for diarrhea.

Some ideas for relieving constipation symptoms including eating:

  • Fresh raw vegetables and fruits, especially those with skins (unless white blood cell count it low)
  • Bran, whole grains and cereals, granola, wheat germ flakes
  • Dried fruits, especially dates, prunes and apricots
  • Prune juice
  • Dried beans
  • Fresh fruit juices, except apple juice
  • Warm or hot fluids, especially in the morning
  • Other things that can help relieve constipation include:
  • Getting as much physical activity as possible
  • Attempting a bowel movement at a regular time each day, preferably after breakfast
  • Avoiding chocolate, cheese, eggs or fatty fried foods

Check with your doctor or nurse before using over-the-counters laxatives, stool softeners or enemas.

Learn more about diarrhea during cancer treatment.

Learn more about constipation during cancer treatment.