Is Ice Cream Good to Eat If You Have Mouth Sores Caused by Chemo?
Dealing with the effects of chemotherapy can feel just as tough as fighting the symptoms of cancer – in some cases, even more so. Patients have reported a long list of debilitating chemo side effects when undergoing this type of treatment, from the hair loss (alopecia) so often recognized as a sign of chemo to symptoms that are less well known but quite debilitating, such as the mouth sores caused by chemo.
This condition, called oral mucositis, can have serious consequences for cancer patients, not only because of the damage it can do to a patient’s quality of life, but also because of the complications it causes. If you or someone you know is going through chemo, you might be wondering whether a person can live normally with oral mucositis or if treats like ice cream are good to eat if you have mouth sores caused by chemo. To find out, keep reading as the people at Chemo Mouthpiece™ explain.
What Causes Chemo Mouth Sores?
Chemotherapy is perhaps the most common treatment for cancer because it’s effective at seeking out and attacking cancer cells anywhere in the body. Chemo is an example of systemic treatment, meaning that the drugs that are used affect the entire body; after they’re administered, they circulate through various systems, which is why the side effects of chemo are felt throughout the patient’s body regardless of where cancerous tumors or cells might be located.
This widespread effectiveness is part of what makes chemo so reliable, but it comes with a price. Because the drugs used during chemo can’t tell the difference between cancerous tissue and cells that simply behave like cancer, many otherwise healthy systems tend to be disrupted during treatment.
The prime targets for chemo are cells that rapidly divide and grow – a hallmark of cancerous tissue – but cells in the body’s mucous membranes, hair, nails, and bone marrow also divide quickly, so these systems are especially affected.
When the chemo drugs reach the mouth, they begin breaking down the mucous membranes there, creating open wounds – sores, in other words – that are very painful and open patients up to the threat of infection, which can be devastating to people with cancer, many of whom have compromised immune systems.
Other symptoms of this condition, which is called oral mucositis, include thick saliva, changes in taste, inflammation, and difficulty eating, drinking, sleeping and even speaking.
Can Ice Cream Help Mouth Sores Caused by Chemo?
If you’ve ever experienced oral mucositis firsthand, you already know how difficult it can make your life. Not only do you have to deal with the pain that comes with this condition, but the inability to eat the foods you want can make it tough to maintain a healthy weight, and the financial cost of oral mucositis can be high. Luckily, there are a few tasty treats you can still enjoy, even if you suffer from oral mucositis; ice cream is one of these.
Ice cream can be helpful to those with chemo mouth sores for a few reasons. Firstly, ice cream is very cold, which can help to numb the pain caused by the sores. More importantly, however, ice cream contains some key nutrients that benefit cancer patients.
Like most dairy products, this frozen treat contains a surprising amount of protein, which may be the most important nutrient for a cancer patient; protein is a key component used in the body’s healing process, and it can help patients preserve muscle mass during periods of inactivity.
Ice cream also offers a significant number of calories, which many cancer patients struggle to get enough of during treatment, and because it requires little to no chewing, ice cream can help patients address this deficit without having to force down solid food.
While it may not generally be considered a healthy food, ice cream undoubtedly has much to offer those going through chemo and would make for a helpful addition to most cancer patients’ diets.
Fighting Chemo Mouth Sores with Cryotherapy
Though the side effects of chemotherapy may be almost impossible to prevent, there are ways to mitigate the severity of the symptoms. In the case of oral mucositis, the treatment that has shown the most promise as a preventative measure is cryotherapy, which involves the use of freezing or near-freezing temperatures to treat the body.
Cryotherapy works by causing the blood vessels of the mouth to shrink; if this happens while chemo drugs are circulating through a patient’s body, the smaller blood vessels can limit how much medication is able to reach the sensitive tissues of the mouth, which in turn can often fend off the worst oral mucositis symptoms.
In treatment centers, cryotherapy is generally offered in the form of ice chips or popsicles, but there’s now a better option available: the Chemo Mouthpiece™, an oral cryotherapy device for patients receiving chemo.
Whereas ice chips tend to cool only certain areas, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ provides a powerful cooling effect to the entire oral cavity, lowering the temperature in that area by as much as 30 degrees over half an hour of use.
It’s easy to use, too; just keep the Chemo Mouthpiece™ in your home freezer for at least 6 hours before use, then take it with you to your treatments.
Find Relief from Mouth Sores Caused by Chemo with the Chemo Mouthpiece™
There’s little doubt that cold objects can help with chemo mouth sores, though not always in the same way. Ice cream can provide numbing relief and important nutrients, while the Chemo Mouthpiece™ offers potent benefits that are much greater than those of ice chips or popsicles.
To learn more about the Chemo Mouthpiece™ and how it can help you or a loved one, visit us online or call (866) 461-7518 today.