Before beginning chemotherapy, it is critical to understand your chemo drug and what to expect. Chemotherapy is used to harm fast growing cancer cells, reducing the overall number of cancer cells in your body, decreasing the likelihood of cancer spreading, shrinking tumor size, and relieving current cancer symptoms. In this blog, we will discuss the common side effects of chemo as well as tips utilized and advised by other patients while undergoing chemotherapy.

 

Chemo is an extremely powerful medicine that can induce a variety of negative effects, including:

  • Mouth sores and mucositis- Chemo can damage the cells in your mouth leaving your body weak to defend off germs which can lead to mouth sores and infections.

  • Diarrhea– Chemo damages the healthy cells in your gut, making them less efficient at absorbing nutrients. It also causes gaps to form along the barrier of these cells, allowing viruses and bacteria to enter your bloodstream which cause diarrhea.

  • Facial Flushing– A sudden warm sensation and possible turning of red over your face. Usually only lasts when this chemo is being delivered.

  • Infection Risk– This chemo can inhibit your immune system causing a decrease in white blood cells that defend your body from bacteria and viruses.

  • Bruising and bleeding- Chemotherapy can lower your platelet count; platelets aid to slow and stop bleeding when you bump into something or have an open cut. When you don’t have enough of them, it’s easier to get nasal bleeds or gum bleeding, as well as bruising.

  • Nausea and vomiting- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is primarily triggered by stimulation of the chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ), a brain region that responds to medications or chemicals in the blood. As well as damage done to the GI which allows for toxins to enter the blood stream causing nausea and vomiting.

  • Weight loss- Weight loss is typical during chemotherapy treatment because cancer patients eat less due to poor appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, and other symptoms.

Other side effects to mention are, pale appearance and difficulty breathing, allergic reactions, high uric acid levels in blood, hair loss, constipation, hand-foot syndrome, contraception risk, infertility, changes in menstruation, secondary leukemia, or cancer.  

Here is a list of tips to help with these major side effects that have been tested and recommended by other patients who have been through chemotherapy,

 

  • Be sure to drink LOTS of water- Hydration is essential. Chemotherapy and its side effects often result in dehydration. It is critical to begin hydrating heavily before and during treatment. This may also help mitigate some of the side effects. Some patients raised their water intake to 80 oz (about 2.37 L) the day before, the day of, and for the first 2-3 days following chemo.

 

  • Have something Icy– Mouth sores can be prevented by drinking ice water or drinking a smoothie. Some patients advise consuming something cold while receiving an infusion. Others advised bringing hand cream and lip balm to relieve dryness and lip sores.

 

  • Watermelon– If you are having trouble drinking water, try munching on some watermelon. It is packed with water and can sometimes be easier to eat.

 

  • Have something in your stomach– Eating small meals or something bland, like crackers, can ease nausea. One woman stated that her nurse advised always having something in her stomach.

 

  • Rest– After chemo, your body will use a lot of energy to restore itself. When you feel tired, listen to your body; it needs rest.

 

  • Exercise– Another patient stated that she used to feel better after a short round of activity, such as walking around the block or doing yoga to unwind.

 

  • Stay away from germs– Try to avoid huge groups and raw fruits and vegetables that can be difficult to clean. Your immune system will be compromised, making infection far more likely.

 

  • Enterade- While undergoing treatment, enterade can be your best friend because it not only keeps you hydrated better than water, but it also helps manage side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, exhaustion, undesirable weight loss, and dehydration.

 

Enterade is a clinically proven, plant-based, medical food that helps to manage the side effects of cancer treatment. Using Hydro Active Technology, enterade is formulated to hydrate better water. Furthermore, enterade can help relieve discomfort from diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dehydration, and unwanted weight loss. Enterade’s unique blend of plant-based amino acids helps by rebuilding the cells that line your intestines, fortifying your gut against the damage caused by cancer treatments.

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