Chemotherapy and digestive system ~ Health Guide

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Chemotherapy and digestive system

Written by Mystic on Monday, August 04, 2008

Your digestive system

Nausea and vomiting are side effects associated with some chemotherapy drugs, which may start from a few minutes to several hours after receiving them.

If sickness is likely to occur with the drugs you are having, or if you have experienced this reaction, there are anti-sickness drugs (antiemetics) which your doctor can prescribe. These are usually very effective.

To help to reduce nausea:

  • Avoid eating or preparing food when you feel sick.
  • Eat only a light meal before your treatment; for example soup and dry biscuits.
  • Eat several small meals each day and chew the food well.
  • Drink whatever non-alcoholic fluids you prefer. Some people find soda water, dry ginger or weak tea refreshing.
  • Avoid rich or fatty foods.
  • Drink as much fluid as possible before your treatment. After treatment you may find it easier to drink small amounts more often than to have large drinks.
  • Eat cold or slightly warm food if the smell of hot food causes nausea
  • Some people find that using relaxation techniques helps to fend off or reduce their nausea.

The lining of the digestive system may be affected by some chemotherapy drugs and this may cause diarrhoea. More rarely, you could become constipated. To help to reduce the problems of diarrhoea and constipation:

  • Drink more fluid.
  • Eat small snacks rather than large meals.
  • If you have diarrhoea, eat less fibre and avoid raw fruits, cereals, vegetables, milk and milk products until it is cleared up.
  • If constipation occurs, increase your intake of fibre, raw fruits, cereals and vegetables. Prune juice and hot drinks can often stimulate bowel action.
  • See your doctor if problems persist - medications are available to ease problems.

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