Dehydration caused by chemotherapy
Hydration during chemotherapy
What is chemotherapy, what side effects does it cause and how can deep hydration help the patient overcome these challenges?
What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is part of the therapeutic arsenal used to overcome cancer. Unlike targeted therapy, it is a systemic treatment , in other words, which does not target a particular part of the body but treats it as a whole. Here we will use drugs that eliminate cancer cells by destroying them or preventing their multiplication. Among the classes of drugs used, mention may be made of alkylating agents, antimetabolites or even antimitotics. Chemotherapy will be given in cycles, consisting of a period of treatment followed by a period of rest, which will allow time for healthy cells to recover.
Its effectiveness is unfortunately obtained at the cost of significant adverse effects. Indeed, cancer cells targeted by chemotherapy are very actively dividing cells. Also, other rapidly dividing cells, such as those in hair follicles or the lining of the digestive tract may also be in the crosshairs of drugs. This explains why some individuals will experience hair loss during their treatment, or even significant digestive disorders.
So what role does hydration play in the chemotherapy process? How can maintaining good hydration limit/relieve certain adverse effects of treatment?
Hydratis to optimize hydration during treatments
Hydratis offers drinkable hydration and rehydration solutions that are particularly useful for dehydrated individuals. The company's objective is to formulate solutions that are easy and pleasant to drink, making it possible to increase the osmolarity of the liquid and thus to be assimilated and absorbed by the body more quickly. Hydratis products are offered in oncology boxes available in pharmacies.
Water as a protection for the kidneys
There are several reasons why a person with cancer should make sure that they meet their water needs. First, one of the undesirable effects of this therapy is nephrotoxicity. Thus, to preserve their kidneys, the sick person will be recommended to increase their water consumption throughout their treatment. Accompanied by renal monitoring in the hospital, this will have the effect of intensifying the elimination of drugs by the kidneys, which will reduce their toxicity.
The individual exposed to chemotherapy can adopt different strategies in order to hydrate deeply. It is generally recommended that he drink up to two liters of water a day. In addition to mineral water, he can drink herbal teas, soups or fruit juices, these must still be limited given their acidic nature. In order to select the most suitable drinks, the patient may seek advice from the medical team supervising him. He will also take the precaution of rinsing his mouth after consuming a sugary drink in order to limit the occurrence of mouth ulcers. In some cases, hyperhydration will be put in place by the oncologist: this consists of an infusion of physiological fluid in addition to substantial oral hydration.
Hydration to relieve digestive system disorders
Similarly, water can play a beneficial role in the digestive system. Indeed, chemotherapy is often a source of multiple gastrointestinal disorders, which are very troublesome for the patient. Among them, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting are unfortunately commonplace. In addition, the person undergoing chemotherapy may have a drop in their immune defenses which will make them more vulnerable to digestive infections caused by various viruses or bacteria.
However, the major risk that diarrhea can represent is dehydration . The symptoms of this are of course the feeling of thirst, but also dry mouth or concentrated urine and, when it sets in severely, it can be very dangerous. Care must therefore be taken to compensate for water loss by hydrating appropriately. The patient is advised to drink in large quantities and to split the intake so as not to contribute further to the onset of vomiting.
Furthermore, the water itself can preferably come from various brands. This will provide additional minerals, and, in addition, some waters have a high content of sodium bicarbonate, which, in addition to antiemetic drugs, will reduce nausea. Similarly, there are commercial rehydration solutions, concentrating many minerals which will help the person to obtain optimal hydration . Nevertheless, it should be kept in mind that any new initiative to take medication, food supplements or phytotherapy products must be submitted to the doctor who will judge its benefit and risk depending on the situation.
Constipation may also occur in response to painkillers or antiemetic drugs. In this situation, hydration is also essential because a lack of water promotes hardening of the stool. The doctor may possibly prescribe a suitable drug treatment, compatible with chemotherapy and concomitant treatments.
Hydration to relieve skin irritation
Another visible adverse effect of chemotherapy is xerosis: intense skin dryness caused in this situation by an alteration of the skin barrier due to drug treatment. Certain areas are particularly affected: toes, heels and fingers. This dryness is manifested by scaling of the skin, and sometimes itching, which constitutes an additional unpleasant sensation for the patient. Good oral hydration is unfortunately not always enough to neutralize it, but fortunately, there are dermo-cosmetic products specially designed for people with cancer and compatible with drug treatment: moisturizing and nourishing creams, shower oils or even varnish for nails weakened by chemotherapy.