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It’s no fun to talk about your bowels. But when you are ill you should tell your Agrace 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.

We will ask what words you want to use to talk about bowel movements (such as “stool,” “poop” or “BM”). Here is a printable bowel movement tracker, which is also included in the Tracking section of your Patient & Family Care Handbook, so you can keep track of bowel movements for your care team.


What are some symptoms of being constipated?

  • 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 upset stomach

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

  • you are eating and drinking less
  • you are using certain medicines, such as strong pain medications (Your care team will discuss them and tell you which ones may cause constipation.)

What can be done to help prevent or relieve constipation?

  • Talk to your Agrace team about your bowel movement patterns (use the tracker in this handbook).
  • Drink as much liquid as is comfortable for you: Water, hot lemon water, warm prune juice and other juices.
  • Add fiber to your diet with foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Use bowel medications as suggested by your care team and doctor.

What should you report to the hospice/supportive care team?

Call your team if:

  • You have a change in the color, texture or timing 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.

Caregiver Support

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

(800) 553-4289

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