The common bowel problems faced by the patients with cancer are in the regions of gastrointestinal tract or rectum or anus. Constipation and diarrhea are the most complicated problems with respect to the gastrointestinal tract. Another common problem is the presence of swollen veins around the anus or lower rectum which is generally referred to as hemorrhoids.
Constipation occurs when a person has the need to move the bowels but is unable to do so. It affects the quality of life terms of physical, social and psychological dimensions. Constipation is more common than diarrhea. But diarrhea may be severe in some cases that leads to life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. Given below are 5 ways to manage bowel problems from a patients undergoing cancer treatment.
- CONSUME MORE WATER
Frequent sips of the water is the simplest and the most effective way to manage bowel related problems. It is recommended to drink 8–10 glasses of water per day for a smoother bowel movement.
2. INTAKE OF FOOD RICH IN FIBER
Eating foods that are high in fiber like fruits, cereals, vegetables, banana, rice, white bread, nuts and whole grains daily will help to control bowel problems. Avoid foods like fatty or fried items, strong spices, carbonated beverages, lactose containing products, gas forming food items and alcohol.
3. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY — DAILY EXERCISE
Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes on a daily basis, mostly walking that is preferred by majority of the patients. Regular exercise helps to stimulate digestion and avoids constipation. This is more helpful for the patients who follow a prescribed bowel regimen.
4. SKIN CARE IS IMPORTANT
Maintaining a clean skin around the anus region is very important. Clean the skin around anus with warm water and soft cloth, later dry it gently. Also, the patient should allow the irritated skin to be exposed to open air as much as possible. Skin care is very important, especially for hemorrhoid patients.
5. HOME REMEDIES FOR HEMORRHOIDS
The home remedies that we suggest for hemorrhoids are sitting in warm water (commonly referred as sitz bath) after each bowel movement. According to Harvard Health, taking a warm bath for 20 minutes after every bowel movement will be most effective.
Consumption of apple cedar vinegar, psyllium husk, aloe vera, tea tree oil and fermented foods like yogurt also help in easing the bowel movement.