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Side effects after chemotherapy

 
Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 25.06.2018
 

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies more than twenty types of side effects after chemotherapy.

These include:

  1. Lesions of the gastrointestinal tract:
    • occurrence of stomatitis,
    • the emergence of esophagitis,
    • detection of gastritis,
    • the appearance of enethrocolitis,
    • the emergence of dysbiosis with fungal infection,
    • the appearance of nausea and vomiting,
    • the occurrence of anorexia,
    • detection of liver damage.
  2. The defeat of the blood and blood system:
    • the occurrence of anemia,
    • the appearance of leukopenia,
    • the occurrence of neutropenia (febrile fever).
  3. The appearance of immunodeficiency:
    • the occurrence of frequent respiratory tract infections,
    • the occurrence of recurrent herpes,
    • detection of fungal infections.
  4. The appearance of renal impairment:
    • occurrence of frequency of urination,
    • detection of high protein in the urine, as well as leukocytes and erythrocytes.
  5. Violation of the functioning of the reproductive system:
    • the appearance of insufficiency of the ovaries,
    • the occurrence of menstrual disorders in women,
    • the appearance of testicular failure,
    • occurrence of violations of spermatogenesis.
  6. The origin of lesions of the nervous system:
    • the emergence of polyneuropathies,
    • detection of impaired consciousness.
  7. The appearance of cardiac lesions.
  8. The occurrence of lesions of the respiratory system.
  9. Breach of the skin system:
    • the appearance of dermatitis.
  10. Hair loss.
  11. The appearance of allergic reactions.

WHO classifies side effects after chemotherapy in terms of severity as follows:

  • 0 degree - there is no change in the patient's condition and laboratory data.
  • I degree - minimum changes are fixed that do not affect the general condition of the patient; the indications of laboratory studies record minor changes that do not require corrective measures.
  • II degree - there are changes in the moderate level in the condition and activity of the patient, his internal organs; The data of the analyzes are markedly changed, which requires corrective measures.
  • III degree - the occurrence of severe abnormalities that require intensive physical therapy, as well as the transfer of chemotherapy sessions or the cessation of treatment
  • IV degree - the appearance of disorders in the body that pose a threat to the life of the patient; this requires an immediate cessation of chemotherapy.

Temperature after chemotherapy

In some patients after the course of treatment, an increase in the total body temperature is observed. This is due to the reduced immunity of the patient, which is always observed after the chemotherapy. The temperature can be increased due to penetration into the patient's body of various infections, which manifests itself in the emergence of various diseases of the viral bacterial nature.

Increased body temperature indicates that the body has foci of infections, which must be treated with a course of antibiotics. Therefore, in most cases after the spent chemotherapy the patient receives antibacterial treatment.

Constant elevated body temperature means that the patient's body can not independently cope with the foci of the disease. This feature arises due to a decrease in the number of leukocytes in the blood, which are responsible for protecting the human body from various infections. The processes of inflammation in the body of the patient at this time can greatly progress, so treatment should begin immediately after the appearance of the first symptoms of the disease.

The correctness of the selected drugs is determined by conducting a blood test and ascertaining the type of infection from which treatment is required. In this case, you can not use medicines without consulting a doctor, this applies to all drugs, including antipyretic drugs.

To avoid infection, after the chemotherapy, you must refrain from visiting places with a large concentration of people, as well as avoid contact with patients with various infections.

Intoxication after chemotherapy

Preparations for chemotherapy - cytostatics - have a pronounced toxic effect on the body. Intoxication after chemotherapy can be manifested in varying degrees from zero to the fifth, corresponding to the severity of the consequences after chemotherapy.

The toxic effect of drugs is that they act equally on all actively dividing and growing cells: both malignant and healthy. Healthy cells that quickly reproduce include skin cells, hair follicles, epithelial cells of the internal organs - the mucosa, bone marrow cells. Therefore, frequent complications after chemotherapy are nausea and vomiting, hair loss, disturbance of the functions of hematopoiesis, inflammatory and dystrophic changes in the mucous membranes, frequent bleeding.

Intoxication of the body after chemotherapy is expressed in the defeat of almost all tissues and internal organs, since toxins of cytostatics act in the same way on both diseased cells and healthy ones.

Weakness after chemotherapy

All patients after chemotherapy have complained of weakness in the entire body, as well as lethargy and constant fatigue.

Feelings of weakness in patients are due to the following reasons:

  1. The general intoxication of an organism - usually, similar sensations pass through some time after end of a course of a chemotherapy. But in elderly patients, who have far more severe degrees of oncological processes, feelings of weakness can continue for a long time.
  2. The presence of damage to internal organs - the appearance of cardiac, renal, hepatic and pulmonary insufficiency.
  3. The appearance of anemia due to oppression of hematopoiesis.
  4. Infiltration of infections into the body due to decreased immunity.
  5. The emergence of psychoemotional stress due to the treatment and the accompanying factors.
  6. Decreased body weight due to:
    • deterioration of food processing and absorption of nutrients by the digestive tract;
    • increasing the body's need for energy to restore;
    • reduced ability to consume food - lack of appetite, the appearance of nausea and vomiting, the emergence of diarrhea or constipation and so on.
  7. Disorders of metabolic processes in the body.
  8. The appearance of hormonal disorders due to intoxication of the thyroid gland and adrenal glands, which is expressed in the insufficient functioning of these organs.
  9. The presence of hypodynamia - increased weakness causes the desire to remain constantly at rest. But the lack of movement leads to a decrease in muscle tone and muscle hypotrophy, reducing the physical endurance of the patient and the ability to lead an active lifestyle. All this strengthens the already existing state of weakness and leads to a closed circle of causes and effects.
  10. Sleep disorders - the inability to sleep properly and restore strength leads to increased weakness and fatigue. All this also causes the change in the negative side of the psychoemotional state of the patient.
  11. Painful sensations throughout the body also lead to weakness. Exhausting and persistent pains cause a state of fatigue and devastation, as well as unwillingness to move and lead an active lifestyle.
  12. The presence of nausea and vomiting - the appearance of these symptoms does not allow liquids and food to be properly absorbed in the body, which causes its exhaustion and dehydration, and, accordingly, the appearance of weakness.
  13. All the above changes in the patient's condition can lead to the appearance of anxiety and depressive states, which only increases the sensations of weakness of the body. Against the background of these disorders, physical weakness only increases, but in case of elimination of its causes, it provokes the appearance of fatigue and lethargy of psychoemotional nature.

To reduce the manifestation of weakness, patients need to resort to certain measures:

  • Increase the level of hemoglobin in the blood by switching to a special diet and using certain additives.
  • Increase the number of leukocytes with proper nutrition and use of medicines.
  • Do regular physical activity - morning light gymnastics, walk more often outdoors.
  • Arrange a short-term daytime rest, or rather - sleep for one hour.
  • Go to bed on time, not later than 22.30. And the duration of a night's sleep should be at least nine hours.
  • Relieve yourself from those things that can wait or with them other people will cope. Try to spare yourself and minimize stress.

Swelling after chemotherapy

Many patients who have undergone chemotherapy are beginning to suffer swelling. Puffiness can occur either on the whole body, or on its individual parts. There is edema on the face, hands, all hands, feet, or the entire surface of the legs. Also, swelling is manifested in the swelling of the abdomen and the appearance of a sensation of swelling in the entire abdomen or just below.

Swelling after chemotherapy is the result of deterioration in the functioning of the kidneys, due to their toxic damage to chemotherapy and heavy loads that are on the kidneys during treatment. Therefore, in this case it is necessary not only to eliminate edema, but also to restore the whole organism in a complex manner.

In this case, swelling can be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  1. The deterioration of the quality of breathing - it becomes harder to breathe.
  2. The appearance of irregularities in the functioning of the heart.
  3. Rapid occurrence of edema throughout the body.
  4. A sharp increase in body weight.
  5. The appearance of interruptions in urination - virtually no emptying of the bladder or rare cases of this phenomenon.

If you have these symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor for advice and help.

What can be done to reduce the swelling of the body? There are a number of tips to which you need to resort:

  1. It is necessary to refuse the use of table salt and replace it with sea or iodized salt. In this case, the daily amount of salt should be minimal. Best of all, a few days in general to abandon the use of salt and salty foods. Instead of salt, you can use powdered dry sea kale - thallus laminaria.
  2. In food, you need to add greens with a diuretic effect, namely parsley and dill. The same properties and has fresh lemon juice. Greens can and should be eaten fresh in large quantities.
  3. It is necessary to eat vegetables fruits and berries with a diuretic effect. These include watermelons, melons, cranberries, strawberries, cranberries, viburnum, blackberries, pumpkins, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, dried apricots (dried apricots, apricots, kaisas).
  4. It is necessary to avoid foods and foods that increase the viscosity of the blood. These include jelly, jelly and jelly, rowan and so on. To achieve a diuretic effect, you need to eat foods with a thinning effect on the blood - raspberries, black and red currants, lemons and garlic.
  5. Puffiness is also due to the fact that by means of chemotherapy, useful micronutrients were extracted from the body. First of all, it concerns potassium reserves. To saturate the body with this useful substance, it is necessary to eat a lot of apricots and peaches, bananas, dried apricots, honey and lettuce leaves.
  6. Well-prepared juices are good for edemas. In an equal proportion, you need to mix fresh juices of beet, cucumber and carrots. Also, juices, prepared from parsley and celery, are suitable. One third of this juice replaces one diuretic tablet.

Some tips for alternative medicine help get rid of edema:

  1. It takes castor oil and turpentine in the proportions of 1: 2. The oil is heated and poured into turpentine. After that, this liquid is applied to the sites of edema.
  2. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar is mixed with egg yolk, then one tablespoon of turpentine is added. After that, this means needs to rub the edematous zones.
  3. They take herbs that have an anti-edema effect. An infusion is prepared from them, which is then poured into molds and frozen. The places of edema are wiped with the healing ice. For these purposes, camomile flowers, linden blossom, bearberry leaves, corn stigmas, grass spores, horsetail grass, peppermint leaves, blue cornflower flowers are well suited.

Leg edema after chemotherapy

Edema of the legs after chemotherapy is observed because of improper kidney activity. This was discussed in more detail in the previous section.

To help remove the swelling of the lower extremities, one must resort to the advice given in the section on edema after chemotherapy.

Stomatitis after chemotherapy

Stomatitis is a frequent side effect after chemotherapy. Medications work on the cells of the mouth.

Stomatitis manifests itself in the redness and swelling of the mucous membrane, as well as the appearance on it of small sores. At the same time, the cells of the epithelium are squeezed, and the mouth cavity is strongly over-dried, cracks appear on the lips. There may be bleeding gums.

Stomatitis is a temporary complication after chemotherapy. The disease will disappear when the level of leukocytes in the blood increases to normal.

Prophylactic actions to reduce the likelihood of stomatitis can be as follows:

  • Rinse the mouth with dental elixirs - Pepsodent, Elcadent.
  • Periodically lubricate the lips with greasy lipstick, can be colorless hygienic.
  • Before the beginning of the course of chemotherapy, it is necessary to sanitize the oral cavity in the form of dental caries treatment.
  • Several times a day you can cool the mouth with ice cubes.

When stomatitis occurs, it is recommended that the following measures be taken:

  • To clean the teeth, rinse the mouth with the above-mentioned tooth elixirs.
  • It is recommended to rinse your mouth with a solution of soda - in a glass of water half a teaspoon of soda is dissolved. It is also good to rinse with salt solution - a liter of water dissolves a teaspoon of salt.
  • Infusions and herbal medicinal herbs are useful in the treatment of stomatitis. You should use for this purpose chamomile, oak bark, sage, St. John's wort.
  • It is necessary to drink a lot of liquid, at least two liters of water per day.

Hair loss after chemotherapy

Hair loss after chemotherapy is a common occurrence that affects most patients. The patient begins to lose the whole body hair approximately in the third week after the end of the course of treatment. This is due to the toxic effects of drugs on the follicles, from which the hair grows, and their destruction. After a while after hair loss, the follicles are restored, and the hair grows again.

More detailed information is given in the section on the patient's hair after chemotherapy.

Alopecia after chemotherapy

Alopecia after chemotherapy occurs due to the effect on the follicles from which hair grows, medicines. The follicles are destroyed, with the hair on the head completely or partially falling out. After a while after chemotherapy, the hair begins to grow again, and becomes more healthy and thicker than it was before.

Numbness of limbs after chemotherapy

Numbness of the limbs after chemotherapy is the result of damage to nerve fibers of the peripheral nervous system. During the treatment, nerve fibers experience structural disorders and lose the ability to sufficiently conduct nerve impulses from receptors located in the skin to the corresponding zones in the brain.

Numbness of the limbs is manifested in the loss of sensitivity in the hands and feet, as well as the loss of flexibility in the limbs. The feeling of numbness begins with the tips of the fingers and toes, feet and hands and spreads further along the entire surface of the limbs and along the spine. Sensations of numbness can also be accompanied by vivid symptoms of tingling, burning, constriction in the limbs, and also pain.

This reduces the sensitivity of the body and skin, disrupts the ability to move, as well as manipulating objects during self-service. Patients with difficulty can tie laces and button up buttons, they can often stumble and fall, they find it difficult to maintain balance and maintain coordination of movements. This phenomenon is considered one of the symptoms of polyneuropathy, which was discussed in the corresponding section.

Acne after chemotherapy

After chemotherapy, some patients start to notice that acne has appeared on their skin. Acne occurs as a consequence of toxic damage to the skin and reduce the immunity of the patient. Acne testifies that the correct functioning of the skin glands is disturbed, which causes the appearance of inflammatory processes on the skin.

The appearance of acne indicates that the metabolic processes in the body are in imbalance. Therefore, to eliminate acne on the skin, first of all, it is necessary to take measures to restore the proper functioning of all organs and systems. This applies, in the first place, immune, hormonal and hematopoietic processes.

To avoid acne, it is recommended to use an antibacterial soap to care for the skin, and then apply a moisturizer to the washed place.

Low blood pressure after chemotherapy

Some patients after chemotherapy begin to experience the following symptoms: the appearance of lethargy, the appearance of dizziness, increased fatigue. In this case, when lifting from a sitting position, especially sharp, strong weakness, clouding of consciousness, appearance of "stars" before the eyes, nausea and even fainting can be observed. These manifestations are signs of low blood pressure.

The decrease in pressure after chemotherapy is caused by a decrease in the amount of blood that passes through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. Arterial pressure is lowered due to the fact that a smaller amount of blood swings in the heart in the artery. The cause of low blood pressure can be the expansion of small arteries and increase their flexibility, so they are less resistant to blood flow. Moreover, the veins are also enlarged and more blood is stored in them, and less is returned to the heart.

When the blood flow is disturbed, the percentage of oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to internal organs decreases, which causes a deterioration in their functioning.

Climax after chemotherapy

The appearance of menopause in the life of a woman is a natural event, to which the female body and psyche are gradually being prepared. After chemotherapy, menopause can occur suddenly and in a sharp form, which leads to serious stress and worsening of the mental and emotional state of patients. At the same time, menopause is always considered to be early, that is, premature, and is called provoked.

Manifestations of menopause during this period can be expressed so that alone with them a woman simply can not cope. Symptoms of menopause are:

  • termination of menstrual flow,
  • the appearance of hot flushes,
  • weight gain,
  • the appearance of dryness in the vagina,
  • the emergence of sudden changes in mood,
  • the appearance of weakness, increased fatigue, a decline in strength,
  • changes in skin and hair structure,
  • the appearance of osteoporosis,
  • memory reduction.

At some patients at this time there can be an appearance of vaginal discharge.

Entry into the early period of menopause is perceived by many women so sharply that it can lead to depression. In this case, it is impossible to do without outside help, and the woman needs qualified help from a psychotherapist, as well as careful and attentive attitude of relatives.

Cystitis after chemotherapy

Cystitis is an inflammatory disease of the bladder, which manifests itself in the inflammation of its epithelium (mucous membrane).

Symptoms of cystitis are:

  • occurrence of painful sensations, cuts or burning sensation at emptying of a bladder,
  • the appearance of frequent urination,
  • The impossibility of restraining when urge to urinate and requiring the body to immediately urinate,
  • the appearance of redness of urine or the admixture of blood in the urine,
  • the emergence of signs of fever,
  • the appearance of chills.

When the above symptoms appear, it is recommended to drink plenty of water and liquid, at least two liters per day, as well as fresh fruit juices. Increasing the amount of urine will provoke leaching of toxins from the body, which will help reduce the irritating effect of poisons on the patient's bladder.

Depression after chemotherapy

At the end of the course of chemotherapy, some patients note a worsening of the psychoemotional state. This is expressed in a decrease in emotional tone, sharp mood swings, general oppressed and depressed state.

Depression after chemotherapy appears in fifteen to twenty percent of patients. Apathy and lethargy, anxiety and tearfulness, gloomy view of the world, lack of faith in recovery, unwillingness to return to normal life, constant isolation and alienation, feelings of anguish and despair are manifestations of depressive states. There is also a decrease in concentration of attention, deterioration of mental and mental activity, memory problems.

The cause of depression after chemotherapy are:

  • General intoxication of the body, which depresses the central and peripheral nervous system.
  • The defeat of some parts of the brain, which are directly related to the emotional mood and mental stability of the patient.
  • Changing the hormonal background due to damage to the endocrine system.
  • A strong deterioration in well-being, which affects the quality of the overall emotional state and mental stability after chemotherapy.
  • Manifestation of duodenitis is an inflammatory disease of the duodenum. In this section of the small intestine, hormones are produced that are not only related to digestion, but also affect human behavior. In inflammatory processes, these hormones can not be produced in sufficient amounts, which causes duodenal depression.

Depressive states that occurred against a background of strong somatic disorders only strengthen their manifestations. It happens that when the physical condition improves due to properly administered therapy, depression causes a deterioration in well-being. This is due to the presence of complex processes of interconnection of human mental activity and its somatic processes.

Thrush after chemotherapy

Thrush in women - a discharge from the vagina, which are white and curdled condition, having a sour smell. With this disease, there may be additional symptoms:

  • Discomfort sensations in the vagina - a strong itching of the external genitalia during the first day; on the second or third day, an additional burning sensation may appear.
  • Appearance of pain in the external genital area with urination - urine irritatingly acts on the inflamed labia, which causes severe pain and rezi.
  • The emergence of pain during sexual intercourse - the mucous membrane of the vagina because of the thrush, too, is inflamed.
  • The appearance of a strong edema of the labia majora, and sometimes of the anal opening.

Some women observe the appearance of all the above symptoms, and some - only a part of them.

The appearance of thrush is caused by a general decrease in immunity after chemotherapy and the inability of the body to resist infections. Experts call the thrush "Candidiasis" - this disease is caused by Candida yeast fungi. This fungus lives on the skin of any person, but in small quantities. The spread of the fungus controls the human immune system and that microflora, which is favorable. With a decrease in immunity and the destruction of useful microflora, Candida begins to multiply rapidly and penetrate into the vagina, where it triggers the emergence of thrush.

Insomnia after chemotherapy

Insomnia is a disorder that causes problems with falling asleep. The dream at this time becomes intermittent, the person sleeps sensitively and wakes up from any extraneous stimuli, and also for no apparent reason.

Insomnia does not give a person the opportunity to relax and gain strength at night. Therefore, during the day, patients feel tired, which affects the mood, well-being and overall quality of life.

Signs of insomnia are:

  • A long time during which the patient falls asleep at night.
  • Frequent and unreasonable awakenings at night.
  • Morning early awakening.
  • Fatigue that does not go away after a night of rest.
  • Feeling of fatigue and drowsiness accompanying the patient during the day.
  • Increased emotional excitability, expressed in an irritable state, a feeling of anxiety, unmotivated attacks of anxiety and fear, depression or depression of the psyche.
  • Reduced concentration and difficulty with concentration.
  • The appearance of headaches.
  • Constant, not passing worry about how to fall asleep at night.

Insomnia after chemotherapy is caused by many reasons:

  • For cancer patients characterized by a change in the rhythm and quality of sleep, the emergence of insomnia.
  • In women, the onset of insomnia is associated with the onset of an early provoked menopause (or menopause).
  • The appearance of insomnia can be one of the symptoms of depression.
  • The defeat of certain parts of the brain and central nervous system can cause sleep disorders and the appearance of insomnia.
  • Severe pain and discomfort in the body can cause sleep disorders.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, for example, duodenitis, can cause a change in the psychoemotional state that will trigger the onset of insomnia.

Enlargement of lymph nodes after chemotherapy

After chemotherapy, many patients observe an increase in lymph nodes. The causes of this change in lymph nodes have been described in the section "Lymphonoduses after chemotherapy."

Bleeding after chemotherapy

After chemotherapy, the number of platelets is significantly reduced. These elements of blood affect the stopping of bleeding, accumulating in the place of vascular lesions and "sticking together" with each other. In doing so, they produce substances that stimulate vasoconstriction and lead to the formation of a blood clot that prevents bleeding.

After chemotherapy, the level of platelets in the blood is significantly reduced, which prevents good blood clotting. Any cuts and damage to the skin and mucous membranes can lead to long bleeding and non-healing wounds.

The first signs of bleeding is the appearance under the skin of bruises, which are caused by rupture of blood vessels and hemorrhages in the skin. Spontaneous bleeding after chemotherapy is observed from the mucous membranes of the gums and oral cavity, nasal cavity, gastrointestinal tract. This indicates that the drugs, in the first place, damaged the actively dividing cells, which are the cells of the mucous membranes. On their surface may appear sores that do not heal for a long time and constantly bleed. More dangerous are hemorrhages of the internal organs, which can be dangerous to the health of the patient.

To avoid prolonged bleeding, it is necessary to increase the level of platelets in the blood, as described in the corresponding section.

It is important to know!

Nutrition after chemotherapy should take into account that after applying any anticancer drugs-cytostatics, and also after the course of radiation therapy, their side effects inevitably manifest themselves, which affect the bone marrow, liver, gastrointestinal tract, mucous membranes, etc. Read more..

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