6 Ways To Ease Chemotherapy Side Effects

5 January 2016
 Categories: , Articles


Chemotherapy uses chemical substances to kill cancer cells and is one of the most common ways to treat this disease. However, chemotherapy still comes with side effects. The drugs used to treat cancer are very strong and can damage your healthy cells in the process. If you are going through chemotherapy treatments, you may experience fatigue, nausea and other unpleasant symptoms. The good news is that it is possible to make yourself feel better. Here are six effective ways to ease chemotherapy side effects:

Eat the Right Foods to Prevent Nausea

Nausea is one of the most common, yet unpleasant, side effects of chemotherapy. According to the Mayo Clinic, you are more likely to experience nausea if you are younger than 50, a female, or have a lot of anxiety. It is possible to reduce nausea by paying attention to what and how you eat. It is a good idea to eat smaller meals throughout the day and choose foods that are easy on your stomach, such as yogurt, toast or soup. You should avoid fatty and fried foods, as they can make nausea worse. In addition, make sure to drink plenty of water during the day.

Be Gentle With Your Hair

Chemotherapy drugs can be pretty rough on your hair, so it is important to treat it with extra care. It is normal to expect some fallout a few weeks after you begin treatment, but you can reduce hair loss. Avoid heat styling products, bleach, and anything else that can weaken your hair. You should also wash your hair as little as possible during your treatments.

Say Yes to Exercise

When you feel tired and weak after a chemotherapy session, exercise is probably not on your mind. However, working out a few times a week can actually boost your energy levels, making you feel less tired. High-impact activities might be too difficult for you right now, so it is best to stick to low-impact workouts. For instance, yoga is great for cancer patients because it is a light exercise and can give you the energy boost you need. To avoid injury, practice yoga with an instructor who has experience with cancer patients.

Add More Flavor to Your Foods

Chemotherapy can lead to taste changes, making the foods you once liked less appealing. If taste changes have left you without much of an appetite, you should try spicing up your foods a little. Different marinades and spices can add flavor to your food, increasing your appetite. For example, you could marinate your chicken in barbecue sauce or Italian dressing. 

Use Ice to Prevent Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are pretty common during chemotherapy treatments and can be quite painful. Luckily, you can reduce your risk of developing mouth sores by swishing ice chips in your mouth for the first 30 minutes of chemotherapy. The cold temperature of the ice will prevent too much of the chemotherapy drugs from getting into your mouth.

Try Relaxation Techniques for Insomnia

If you take certain medications to manage chemotherapy side effects or are stressed about having cancer, you can have trouble sleeping at night. Including some relaxation techniques throughout the day can prevent insomnia. For example, you could meditate in the morning and before bedtime. It may also be beneficial to practice hypnosis with a physician.

Chemotherapy is never a walk in the park, but it does not have to make you completely miserable. If you follow these helpful tips, you should feel a lot better throughout your treatments. However, if you still feel awful all the time, make an appointment with your doctor soon.

For more information on chemotherapy, contact a professional at Sturdy Memorial Hospital