Constipation in children with cancer

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Find out about the causes of constipation in children with cancer and how you can treat constipation, as well as some strategies for preventing constipation.

Key points

  • Constipation means bowel movements that are less frequent than usual, painful or hard to pass.
  • Constipation in children with cancer can be caused by chemotherapy medications, medications to treat pain, eating or drinking less, inactivity, poor bowel routines or a combination of these.
  • Most children with cancer will need to use a laxative (medicine for constipation) at some point during their treatment. This is normal.
  • Start treatment for constipation with a laxative such as PEG flakes if your child has not had a bowel movement for over two days.
  • Call your doctor if your child has blood in their stool, has a fever, has severe stomach pain, is vomiting repeatedly or has a swollen abdomen (belly).
Last updated: July 13th 2019