Constipation means having difficulty opening your bowels. It is a common problem for people with cancer. Find out more about the symptoms, causes and treatment of constipation.

Causes of constipation

You might be constipated when you have cancer. There are several possible causes. 

Symptoms of constipation

Constipation means difficulty having a poo. It can be a problem for people with cancer and during cancer treatment. 

Assessing constipation

Before you have treatment for constipation, your doctor or nurse will need to find out how bad it is and what the cause could be.

Diet, fluid and exercise

You might be able to manage constipation through diet and exercise.


Laxatives can help you empty your bowels if you're constipated. If you have cancer, you should speak to your healthcare team before taking any type of laxative.

Last reviewed: 
12 Dec 2022
Next review due: 
12 Dec 2025