Let’s talk about constipation.

July, 2016

Constipation. Everyone hates having trouble going to the bathroom and we certainly don’t like to talk about it, but it’s an important subject. If you have a serious illness, constipation is one of the most common problems you are likely to have.

Palliative care can help. Palliative care is specialized medical treatment for people with serious illnesses. It can treat your pain and symptoms, including your constipation, so that you can live more comfortably.

So what is constipation?

If you can’t pass a bowel movement for longer than three days, your doctor would consider you constipated. But everyone has different bathroom habits. So if you are waiting longer than usual for nature to call, or you are pushing harder than usual in the bathroom, you are probably constipated. If you feel like you can’t finish your bowel movement, or you feel bloated or gassy, you’re probably constipated.

Constipation can be very upsetting. It can cause pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. If you leave it too long, constipation can also cause more serious problems. It can make it hard for your body to absorb your medicines, for example.

It can happen for a lot of different reasons. You may not be drinking enough water or getting enough fiber in your diet. Your pain medicines or other treatments for your illness may also be the cause. You may simply not have enough privacy.You are very likely to have trouble going to the bathroom when you are sick or in the hospital. Please speak up and ask for palliative care!

Your palliative care team will help to find the causes of your constipation and then design a treatment plan that’s right  for you.