Common Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a word coined for the use of chemicals as therapy for various problems including cancers, autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, dermatomyositis, as well as for lowering risk of transplant rejection.

Chemotherapy is one of the most commonly used to treat cancers; which are diseases that occur due to a combination of factors including environmental toxins genetic susceptibilities.

ChemotherapyChemotherapy can be problematic in many ways – firstly there can be severe side effects suffered by the cancer sufferer undergoing the treatment.

Secondly the optimum dosage of the treatment can be difficult to determine – too low and it will be ineffectual, too high and the person may not be able to tolerate it at all, even resulting in toxicity.

Some common chemotherapy side effects are –

  • Chemo kills the cancer cells but along with this healthy cells of the body also get destroyed or damaged and this has several negative fallouts.
  • Damage to healthy cells in the body results in hair loss or alopecia, one of the most visible signs of chemo. This can cause issues relating to body image, self esteem and so on that go beyond the mere cosmetic.
  • There could also be skin changes, painful, dry, red and itchy spots or even hives and rashes. Nails may get discolored and may crack.
  • Fatigue, low energy levels and feeling exhausted are common side effects of chemo  and can be further exacerbated by anemia, pain, and difficulties in sleeping.
  • Low red blood cells result from chemo and this causes anemia.
  • Digestive problems such as constipation or conversely diarrhea could occur as a result of the chemo.
  • Urine changes such as wanting to go more often, or altered smell, color and appearance of the urine may also be noted.
  • Appetite changes are also common – since the cells of the lining of the mouth can be affected, the way that things taste can alter and familiar foods may taste different. Changes in the mouth and throat as well as pain may be noted with chemo.
  • Nausea is another common problem that occurs due to chemo – one may feel less hungry as a result of this or because of food tasting different at this time.
  • Blood vessels may become more prone to breaking and bleeding from the skin, gums, nasal cavity and so on can become more common.
  • Lowered immunity and increased susceptibility to certain kinds of infections is another fallout resulting from chemo.
  • Pain is another common side effect of chemo.
  • Stress, depression, anxiety and so on can be natural when one is undergoing the trauma of chemo and its very real and physical side effects. Very often one may feel sad, confused and depressed. There could also be a problem with memory and concentration, and difficulty in remembering and recalling.

When dealing with the depression that goes along with chemotherapy, patients should start by speaking with a counselor or psychiatrist. Meeting with a professional can help them to deal with the anxiety and depression from which they are suffering, which can aid recovery. Ordering some skin and health products from an online pharmacy can also help, since they can have all of these products delivered right to their doors and will not have to head out to shop for them. Finally, these patients might want to buy generic antidepressants online, as this helps them to cope with their depression while allowing them to focus their energy on the recovery process.

Changes in sex drive may also be noted. Men may find they are too tired or too stressed to have sex, they could have a problem getting or maintaining an erection or reaching orgasm. Women may have decreased interest in sex, vaginal dryness, lowered fertility, irregular or absent periods, hot flashes and so on.