Constipation is a symptom associated with both the treatments given to palliative care patients and some of the illness's effects. It is commonly described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week or difficult passage of stools (Albert et al., 2017). Management of constipation is significant since it can lead to pain, vomiting, restlessness, and delirium.
Here is a list of some diseases and treatments that can promote constipation:
Diseases that can lead to problems with constipation.
- Mechanical obstruction from a tumor
- Neurological lesions
- Spinal cord injury
- Autonomic neuropathy
Treatments and situations that can lead to constipation.
- Anticholinergics (can be ordered for secretion control)
- Low food intake
- Low exercise
- Poor appetite
- nability to use the bathroom (Dalal et al., 2017; Albert, 2017)
Here are some measures that can be used to prevent constipation.
- Stimulant laxatives
- Daily stool softeners
- Stronger laxative
- Enemas (Clary, 2009)
Constipation is defined as having fewer than five bowel movements a week.
Albert, R.H. (2017). End-of-life care: Managing common symptoms. American Family Physician. 95(6), 356-361.
Clary, P.L. & Lawson, P. (2009). Pharmacologic pearls for end-of-life care. Am Fam Physician. 79(12), 1062.
Dalal, S., & Bruera, E. (2017). End-of-Life Care Matters: Palliative Cancer Care Results in Better Care and Lower Costs. The oncologist, 22(4), 361–368.