Chemotherapy side effects are experienced by people undergoing this aggressive form of cancer treatment.
Chemotherapy is the standard treatment for cancers and tumors in conventional medicine but they come with unbearable and adverse side effects.
Some of these side effects can be prevented or treated with natural remedies and some pass when you stop your treatments while some persists until the chemotherapy drug is detoxed from your system.
Is Chemotherapy Necessary?
Well, as stated in some of our posts, there are cases where one would need chemotherapy to slow down a fast-growing tumor but it is not advisable in all cases of cancer and if at all you must do it, you must accompany it with natural therapies to help your body cope with the damages therapeutic agents cause.
So, we put together this post to help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy find relief from the adverse side effects.
Common Chemotherapy Side Effects
Please note that it is difficult to predict the side effects you will get when taking chemotherapy, so don’t be afraid, thinking you may have all of these.
We just put together a list of common side effects of taking chemotherapy.
This is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy. Patients undergoing treatment feel tired a lot of time or get very tired just doing their everyday tasks.
A way to overcome this is to take in green smoothies, get plenty of rest, engage in some light exercises like walking, and get a help to help you with your everyday tasks.
If tiredness comes upon you suddenly and you even feel out of breath, you have to contact your doctor immediately, it may be a sign of anemia.
Malaise is a state of being sick or feeling sick. People undergoing chemotherapy have periods of malaise and this is followed by nausea and vomiting.
Antiemetic medications are given to prevent or reduce these but they also have their own side effects. Some of the side effects of these antiemetic medications are headaches, insomnia, indigestion, and constipation.
If these medications are giving you too many side effects, you have to let your doctor know.
3. Hair loss
This is another common side effect of chemotherapy but it depends on the type of chemotherapy you are taking. Hair loss usually starts within a few weeks of your first treatment season.
In 1 to 2 months, you can lose a lot of hair. And this hair loss doesn’t happen to your hair only but other parts of your body like arms, armpits, face, and legs.
This adverse side effect of chemotherapy is temporal and your hair will grow back when you finish your treatment.
Some people notice that the hair that grows back has a different color from the old one or it might be straighter or curlier.
4. Frequent infections
Chemotherapy weakens your immune system by destroying your white blood cells thereby making you more prone to infections and frequent illnesses.
Sometimes, these infections can make you seriously ill.
Remember we said chemotherapy destroys your white blood cells, your red blood cells are affected also. And when your red blood cells are reduced, the amount of oxygen circulating around the body is reduced.
This can lead to anemia and its symptoms.
A sign of anemia is tiredness that is more severe than the general type chemotherapy patients go through. Heart palpitations and a pale complexion is a sign of anemia.
6. Easy Bruising And Bleeding
Chemotherapy also reduces the number of platelets in your blood, and the work of platelets is to stop bleeding when you have a cut or get injured.
Chemotherapy causes low number of platelets and this, in turn, makes your skin bruise easily, and even gives you severe bleeding gums, and nose bleeds.
7. Sore Mouth
Chemotherapy can also induce mucositis, a condition characterized by irritated or sore lining of the mouth. Sore mouth develops a few days after your treatment starts.
Very aggressive chemotherapy can cause the lining of the mouth and digestive system to slough off, they become raw and tender.
Symptoms you may notice are:
- The inside of your mouth feels sore, as if burnt by eating very hot food.
- Mouth ulcers/sores which can become infected due to low immune system
- Discomfort when talking, eating, or drinking
- A dry mouth and reduced sense of taste
- Bad breath
8. Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is common during chemotherapy, a way to overcome this is to drink lots of fluids (pap, teas, green juices, fruit juices, probiotic drinks, etc.) and eat what you can.
9. Skin and nail changes
Chemotherapy can cause temporal changes to your skin. Your skin can become dry, slightly colored, patchy, red and sore, itchy, and even more sensitive to sunlight.
10. Cognitive problems
Chemotherapy affects your memory and concentrations and even attention span. You may even notice that your usual routine task will take longer than usual.
Chemotherapy also causes sleep problems as adverse side effects. You might have difficulty falling asleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep again.
12. Sex and fertility issues
During chemotherapy, people lose interest in sex. Also, some chemotherapy drugs reduce fertility in men and women, and this fertility can be temporal or permanent.
13. Diarrhea and constipation
You may notice either diarrhea or constipation a few days after you start treatment.
14. Emotional issues
Undergoing chemotherapy can be frustrating, traumatic, and stressful. You will feel anxious and even wonder if the treatment will be successful.
Stress and anxiety can also increase your risks of having depression.
Potent Natural Remedies For Chemotherapy Adverse Side Effects
These powerful natural remedies will help you cope with the adverse side effects mentioned above and even improve your quality of life.
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This powerful antiemetic herb relieves nausea and vomiting. There are many phytochemicals in ginger that fight nausea and vomiting. They calm and soothe your stomach.
Hold a slice of ginger in your mouth during chemotherapy and chew on it if you get nauseous. You can also inhale ginger essential oil.
2. Baking soda
This is a top home remedy for mouth sores. Mix baking soda with warm water and use this solution to rinse your mouth. It will also help balance the pH of your body thereby helping you respond well to the treatment.
To make this rinse, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of sea salt to 8 ounces of water.
3. Carraway seed
If you are suffering from indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation, you can support your digestive system with this herb. It also treats nausea and boosts your immune system.
Make caraway tea and sip after your chemotherapy treatment.
This form of Chinese treatment relieves pain and even prevents nausea. The acupuncturist does this by using pressure points throughout your body to target and relieve pain.
These help you maintain a strong immune system and fight off many adverse side effects of chemotherapy. Probiotics are good bacteria, you can find them in fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut and you can also take a daily probiotic supplement.
6. Activated charcoal
This is so powerful in relieving symptoms. Patients who take this 2 hours after treatment notice a reduction in their symptoms. Put a tablespoon of activated charcoal in a cup of warm water, stir and drink.
You can also use it as a compress to relieve pain and abdominal issues.
A mayo-clinic study revealed that high doses of ginseng help relieve chemotherapy-induced fatigue.
This amino acid helps heal mouth sores as it repairs the lining of the mouth.
9. Green tea extract
This is another powerful home remedy for chemotherapy adverse side effects. It decreases inflammation and increases osteoblastic activity.
You need a daily dose of 1500 to 2500 milligrams.
This slows down the aging caused by chemotherapy. It reverses the telomere decay caused by chemotherapy and improves your overall health.
Don’t take red wine, get your resveratrol from supplements, and spread out the dosage over time because it has a very short half-life in the body.
You need 10 to 20 grams of this supplement daily.
11. Liver support
It is essential to support the liver during chemotherapy since its main job is to detoxify harmful drugs and chemicals. And to make matters worse, the liver becomes overburdened during chemotherapy.
There are herbs we prepare and give patients to take between their chemotherapy cycles. Other supplements we can recommend to boost your liver during chemotherapy are milk thistle, N-Acetylcysteine, and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
Alpha Lipoic Acid helps to repair damaged nerves caused by chemotherapy.
12. Reduce brain inflammation
We have herbs that help reduce inflammation in the brain. Some of the herbs we use are arnica, ginkgo, turmeric, white willow bark, Boswellia, nettle root extract, celery seed, ginger root, Bacopa, etc.
13. Nutrition and diet
Although the last, this is not the least. The right diet can help you go through chemotherapy successfully and even boosts its effects. It heals the barriers of the gut and brain.
Contact us if you need our help in drafting a diet plan that suits you. We also offer help that reduces other inflammatory causes.