Why Does Prostate Cancer Cause Constipation?

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  1. When the cancer has spread and affected the back passage (rectum).
  2. The side effects of using certain medications such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or even pain-relieving medicines.
  3. Being less mobile (lack of physical activity). If you are a sedentary individual, you are more likely to have bloating and constipation.
  4. Age factor! Prostate cancer is more common in men older than 50. And in fact, constipation is also common in elderly people.
  5. Anxiety and depression! Having life-threatening condition such as cancer can make you depressed and anxious. These psychological problems sometimes can be a trigger of constipation.

Constipation and chemotherapy

Each treatment for cancer could carry the risk of side effects. Even some could cause serious side effects. But in general, the use of any treatment for cancer should far outweigh the potential risk of the side effects.

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The same goes for chemotherapy, a common choice to treat cancer, including for prostate cancer. While it can help shrink and destroy the cancer, it can affect the healthy tissues and cells, too.

How does chemotherapy cause constipation?

In the case for constipation, there is a chance for chemotherapy you take could affect healthy cells inside the intestines.

We know well that your intestines have important role to help process any food that you eat. If the cells of intestines have been affected by chemotherapy, the intestines are more likely to work slower and absorb more water, causing too dry and hard stools. As a result, you have constipation.

In fact, constipation is pretty common in patients who take chemotherapy. It can be very bothersome and even it may affect your daily routines. But the most important thing, don’t let this symptom go on for days & days!

Constipation that lasts longer than usual must be treated immediately, otherwise it could carry other problems! Fortunately, some medicines are available for coping – ask your doctor for more guidance!

Tips for coping

In general, the following tips are helpful to improve constipation along with medicines prescribed by your healthcare provider.

  1. Drink adequate water (about 8-ounces glasses of water per day), because dehydration can make the problem worse! Starting you day with drinking a glass of warm water in the morning may help make your bowel movement easier.
  2. If you are looking for dietary approach to cope with constipation, foods high in fiber are the best answer. Eat more fiber to help make the waste products in the colon move easier!
  3. Restrict fatty foods because diet high in fat is commonly linked to constipation, too!
  4. Move more to boost the level of your physical activity! Even a daily walk can help.
  5. Avoid staining in a bowel movement! Straining when trying to pass a stool can lead to high pressure in the veins of your lower rectum, increasing the risk of developing health condition called ‘hemorrhoids’ (swollen veins in the lower rectum).

Speak to your doctor provider for more advice! And never take any over-the counter medicines without prescription because they may interact with other medicines for prostate cancer!

Citations /references:

  1. http://www.uchospitals.edu/online-library/content=P00363
  2. http://prostatecanceruk.org/information/prostate-cancer/advanced-prostate-cancer#symptoms
  3. http://urology.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=512

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