Managing the side effects of cancer treatment is especially hard during the holidays. Appetite loss, fatigue and nausea don’t pair well with a house full of family and friends. And for those suffering from diarrhea, big holiday dinners can be filled with more dread than delight.
Neuroendocrine tumor (NET) cancers and the therapies used to treat patients can put a serious strain on the entire body, including the gastrointestinal (GI) system. NET cancer’s most debilitating symptom is chronic diarrhea – with many patients experiencing up to 20 episodes per day.
For NET patients, or anyone suffering from the symptoms of diarrhea, here are some tips to help you manage your way around the buffet during the busy holiday season:
- Snack on This: Eating too much food during a meal can irritate an already sensitive GI system. Try eating five to six smaller meals or “snacks” instead of two to three larger meals.
- Bland is Better: Rich, heavy foods, or those that are greasy or fatty, can be hard on your GI system. Consider opting for baked or steamed foods, or blander options such as crackers, breads and leaner meats.
- Soluble Fiber is Friendly: Select foods that are high in soluble fiber, including rice, oats, boiled potatoes and bananas, as they can help absorb the water in your digestive system and potentially decrease your diarrhea symptoms.
- Stay Hydrated: Hydration is an important factor for anyone undergoing treatment for cancer. Proper hydration keeps cells healthy and promotes proper blood flow. Dehydration can increase weakness and fatigue, damage vital organs and decrease your overall well-being. Drink at eight glasses of non-caffeinated fluids per day, and consider incorporating enterade into your routine as it may improve how you feel. In a recent study, 80% of patients who consumed an 8 oz bottle of enterade® twice/day for one week reported an improvement in diarrhea and 51% of patients reported more than 50% reduction in diarrhea frequency.
Avoid Sugar: Research has shown that glucose (sugar) can actually decrease electrolyte and fluid intake and contribute to associated health complications, such as diarrhea and dehydration. If you’re already suffering from diarrhea, eating sugary sweets or drinking alcohol during the holidays may worsen these symptoms. Unlike sugar, scientists have found that amino acids can provide better nutrient transportation and absorption. The select amino acids and sugar-free composition in enterade® provides better nutrient transportation and absorption compared to glucose.