It is a common symptom during oncological treatment and the most frequent causes are changes in diet (reduced intake of liquids and/or foods rich in fiber), decreased or lack of physical exercise, and the administration of certain drugs specific to the treatment. All of this can slow down bowel movements, which makes the stool less water-absorbing and dry and hard. Evacuation will be difficult and may lead to pain and discomfort.


Such as quince, banana, white rice, toasted bread, baked apple, or compote.

Do not take laxatives without consulting a specialist.

Walk every day for at least 20 to 30 minutes. If this is not possible, mobilise the gut by doing small clockwise rotating massages on the abdomen.

Except for cases where treatment has been accompanied by weight gain.

Increase consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables (preferably raw), pulses, whole grains and cereals, mushrooms, and nuts. If you prepare soups, purées, juices, or smoothies, do not strain the preparations to not eliminate fibre.

Examples of food preparations to incorporate more fibre in meals
Dishes made with whole grains or pulses, with vegetables, dried fruit, or nuts:

  • Brown rice salad with cucumber, grated carrot, seeds, and sultanas
  • Lentil salad with onion, tomato, and sweetcorn.

With stews:

  • Sautéed peas with onions and mushrooms.
  • Spinach with sultanas and pine nuts.
  • Stewed pulses.
  • Stewed cereals.

With omelettes/scrambled eggs:

  • Omelettes: spinach, aubergine, beans, mushrooms…
  • Scrambled eggs: with garlic, artichokes…

With vegetables and mushrooms:

  • Vegetable soups (unstrained).
  • Steamed, microwaved, or grilled vegetables and/or mushrooms


Foods to snack on
  • Muesli, wholemeal breakfast cereals (sugar-free).
  • Natural yoghurt with oats and sultanas, walnuts and sultanas, seeds, and fruit…
  • Homemade popcorn.
  • A handful of nuts.
  • A handful of dried fruit: sultanas, prunes, apricots…
  • Fruit with skin: apple, grape, pear, peach, plum…
  • Fruit without skin: mango, pineapple, pomegranate…
  • Homemade fruit ice cream and ice lollies.
  • Wholemeal breadsticks with cereals and/or seeds.
  • Wholemeal biscuits.
  • German bread sandwich with whatever you fancy inside.

Sit on the toilet every day, if possible, at the same time, even if you do not have a bowel movement at first.

If there is no nausea, add a tablespoon of virgin olive oil to a glass of lukewarm water, followed by a piece of fruit, such as a kiwi or an orange.

  • Drink around two litres of water between meals throughout the day.
  • Drink mainly water-based liquids, but you can also combine herbal teas, vegetable broths, natural fruit, and vegetable juices with their pulp (plum, orange, pineapple, tomato…).
  • Avoid black tea or other astringent teas, rice, or carrot drinks.