Home Care Management of Constipation

Constipation is the infrequent or difficult passage of hard stool.  This typically causes pain and discomfort.  It can be caused by too little fluid or not enough movement in the bowel.  Lack of activity, weakness, ignoring the urge to have a movement, pain medicine, some cancer therapies or poor food and fluid intake all contribute to this problem.

Homecare Instructions

  • Drink additional fluids; warm or hot fluids in the morning are helpful
  • Increase fiber in your diet by eating foods such as whole grain, fresh raw fruits and vegetables, fruit juice, dates, prunes and prune juice
  • Avoid foods that cause gas such as cabbage, broccoli and carbonated drinks
  • Avoid constipating foods such as cheese and eggs
  • Perform regular exercise such as a short daily walk
  • Do not avoid the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Keep a record of how often you are having bowel movements so you can share this information with your nurse or physician
  • Utilize stool softeners as directed by your nurse or physician
  • Utilize laxatives or enemas only after you have been instructed to by your nurse or physician


Report the Following Problems

  • No bowel movement in 3 days
  • Blood in bowel movement
  • Frequent leakage of soft or liquid stool that looks like diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating, cramping or pain
  • Vomiting or uncontrolled nausea
  • Constipation that persists or worsens
  • Fever greater than 100.5
  • Ongoing difficulty with hard stool despite stool softeners