The following information is based on the general experiences of many prostate cancer patients. Your experience may be different. If you have any questions about what prostate cancer treatment services are covered by your health insurance, please contact your health care provider or health insurance provider. This education material was made possible by a Grant from the California Department of Justice, Antitrust Law Section, from litigation settlement funds to benefit Californians diagnosed with cancer or their families.
When you have chemotherapy (key-mo-ther-a-pee) to control your prostate cancer, you may have side effects or unwanted changes in your body. Side effects are different from person to person, and may be different from one treatment to the next. Some people have no or very mild side effects. The good news is that there are ways to deal with most of the side effects. You will learn:
It is important for you to learn how to manage the side effects you may have from chemotherapy so that you can keep doing as many of your normal activities as possible.
Constipation is when your bowel movements become less regular than normal and your stool is hard, dry, and difficult to pass. You may have painful bowel movements and feel bloated or nauseous. You may burp, pass a lot of gas, and have stomach cramps or pressure in your rectum. This is a common side effect or unwanted change in your body from some chemotherapy medicines. The medicines your doctor gives you to help other side effects that you may get from your chemotherapy treatment may also cause constipation. Constipation can also be caused by what you eat, not drinking enough water or fluids, and not being as active as you normally are.
The powerful anticancer medicines you take can affect the healthy cells in your body, including the cells that line the inside of your intestines. Your intestines help your body to take in food, water, and other liquids. If your chemotherapy medicines affect the cells that line the inside of your intestines, your intestines may work too slowly. This causes your intestines to take in too much water. This makes your stool hard and dry.
Constipation is a common side effect or unwanted change in your body when you have chemotherapy treatment. Constipation can make you feel very uncomfortable. The most important thing for you to remember is to not let your constipation go on for days and days, but to get help right away. If you do not have a bowel movement for two days, you should tell your health care team right away. There are medicines that your doctor or health care team can give to you that will make your constipation better.
Just as every cancer patient’s treatment is different, the way each person responds to his treatment is also different. While one person may have constipation, another may not. However, there are things you can do to help deal with this treatment side effect.
Plan For Managing Your Constipation
You should call your doctor if:
If you have any of these signs talk to your doctor or health care team. There are medicines and treatments that can help you feel better. It is important that you talk to your doctor or health care team about any side effects you may have during or after your treatment. Your health care team can help treat these problems.
You learned about:
If you have any questions, please talk to your doctor or health care team. It is important that you understand what is going on with your prostate cancer treatment. This knowledge will help you take better care of yourself and feel more in control so that you can get the most from your treatment.