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It’s no fun to talk about your bowels. But you should tell your doctor or hospice care team when you are feeling constipated or having problems “going to the bathroom.”

You may be straining, having lower belly pain, unable to go at all or having bowel movements that are unusual for you. What is normal may change while you are ill and taking certain medicines.

Here is a printable bowel movement tracker you can use. Agrace Hospice Care recommends that our hospice patients keep track of bowel movements and share that information with their hospice nurse:

Bowel Tracker


What are some signs you are constipated?

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  • No bowel movement at all for more than two days
  • Bowel movements that happen less often than is normal for you
  • Small or hard bowel movements that hurt for you to pass
  • Discomfort even after a bowel movement, from belly pain, bloating or nausea/upset stomach

Having bowel movements less often or having trouble passing stool might happen because:

  • you are eating and drinking less,
  • you are moving your body less, or
  • you are using certain medicines, such as strong pain medications (your doctor or hospice are team will discuss them and tell you which ones may cause constipation).

What can help prevent or relieve constipation?


When should you report constipation to your care team?

Call your hospice care team or doctor for advice if:

  • You have a change in the color, texture or frequency of your bowel movements.
  • You are having trouble passing stool.
  • You have gone longer than two days without having a bowel movement.
  • Your belly is firm or painful.

Hospice Caregiver Support

If you need help urgently for an Agrace Hospice Care patient, please call. Otherwise, email us directly at caregiversupport@agrace.org, or send your questions through our online contact form.

Call (800) 553-4289

Call to talk to an interpreter / Tenemos intérpretes disponibles: (800) 930-2770


More Care Tips for Families

For more expert advice from Agrace, visit Agrace.org/CareTips.