Constipation (symptom of pancreatic cancer)

Pancreatic Cancer Action
Patient Information Booklets

Control the symptoms of pancreatic cancer

This booklet covers the different procedures used to control pancreatic cancer symptoms with practical information about your hospital visit and returning home. Includes a section about second opinions, clinical trials and questions to ask your doctor and a glossary to explain some of the terms used.

Being constipated, or unable to open your bowels, is common for people with pancreatic cancer.

It may be due to the disease itself or it may be because of a treatment you are receiving. Constipation can be uncomfortable and can also cause bladder symptoms such as incontinence or retention (holding) of urine.

If you are constipated, medications can be given to help get your bowels moving again. This ranges from medicines you drink to suppositories (inserted in the rectum) or a liquid enema. You can take regular medication to keep things moving and prevent constipation but remember to let your doctor know if you develop loose stools (diarrhoea).

Increasing the amount of fluid you drink will help to soften stools. Moving around as much as possible helps to keep your bowels moving too. Though this can be difficult if you are feeling unwell.