What Helps Mouth Sores Caused by Chemo Heal Faster?
Patients who go through chemotherapy often report a wide variety of symptoms and side effects that make life even more difficult for them. Many of these side effects are well-known, even among those with no firsthand experience fighting cancer; the hair loss, nausea, nerve pain, and a few other symptoms are often instantly recognizable as a sign that someone is undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
However, there is another serious side effect of chemo that can have far-reaching implications for a patient’s overall health, not to mention their ability to fight their disease and withstand the chemo treatments themselves: oral mucositis, sometimes referred to as chemo mouth sores. If you or someone you know is going through chemotherapy and is at risk for developing the symptoms of oral mucositis, you might find yourself wondering what helps mouth sores caused by chemo heal faster. To find out, keep reading as the people at Chemo Mouthpiece™ share some suggestions.
Why Does Chemo Cause Mouth Sores?
No matter where your cancer might be located, the use of chemotherapy as a treatment will likely mean side effects that touch on most, if not all, of the body’s various systems. That’s because chemo is an example of “systemic” treatment, meaning that it is applied to the entire body, instead of just one area. Whether you take a pill, sit through an infusion, or have to undergo some other type of chemo application, the drugs will circulate throughout your body in search of cells that look or behave like cancer cells; this makes them quite effective at their job, but it also leads them to attach any healthy tissue that may be similar to cancer in nature.
Generally speaking, chemo medications seek out and attack cells that divide and grow very quickly – those in a tumor, for example, though the cells in your hair, nails, bone marrow, and mucous membranes also exhibit that same quality. It’s for this reason that the most common side effects of chemotherapy affect the body hair, fingernails, toenails, mouth, and immune system of patients; the toxic chemo drugs can’t tell the difference between the cells in those healthy tissues and the cells in a tumor.
When the patient’s chemo medication reaches the mouth, it travels through the blood vessels there and assaults the mucous membranes, causing those tissues to break down and leading to the formation of painful sores, bleeding, inflammation, changes in taste, and a thickening of the saliva in some patients. Collectively, these symptoms mark the appearance of oral mucositis, along with the many complications that can accompany it.
How to Heal Mouth Sores Caused by Chemo
Unfortunately, because oral mucositis in cancer patients is caused by the very treatment that is working to save their lives, the symptoms are often exacerbated with each successive round of treatments. However, there are a few things patients can do to help their bodies endure this grueling process until they are once again cancer-free; find out more below.
Get Plenty of Protein
Those with chemo mouth sores often have a difficult time chewing or swallowing solid foods, which can easily lead to malnutrition. To help these sores heal, however, you’ll need to get as much protein as you can in your diet. That’s because protein is necessary for the body’s healing processes to function properly; without an adequate supply of this key macronutrient, your body will struggle to close the wounds in your mouth and reduce the severity of your oral mucositis symptoms. Consider mixing some protein powder into pudding, ice cream, or some other soft food to increase your protein intake in a safe and (hopefully) painless way.
Keep Your Mouth Clean
If simply eating a meal sounds painful, brushing your teeth probably seems even more so. However, it’s important to maintain a good oral care routine during chemo, as it will help reduce bacteria in the mouth and make repairing mouth sores quicker and easier on your system. Try brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and using a saltwater mouth rinse after each meal to keep your sores free of debris that could impede the healing process.
Stop Mouth Sores with Cryotherapy
It can be tough to prevent the appearance of mouth sores during chemo, but one method has shown a lot of potential for helping patients mitigate their symptoms, depending on your specific chemo regimen. Cryotherapy – a type of treatment that uses freezing or near-freezing temperatures – can safely shrink the blood vessels of the mouth, limiting the number of harmful chemo drugs that can reach the area and helping patients reduce the severity of their oral mucositis symptoms. If waiting for your mouth sores to heal sounds like a long and painful process, try stopping their development before they appear with an oral cryotherapy device like the Chemo Mouthpiece™.
Help Fight Your Mouth Sores More Quickly with the Chemo Mouthpiece™
Finding ways to help deal with the symptoms of oral mucositis caused by chemo can be difficult, not only because of the hardships the condition itself imposes but also simply because you can’t address the underlying cause – the chemo drugs – without jeopardizing your overall recovery.
With the Chemo Mouthpiece™, however, you can work to minimize the damage done to your mouth by using one innovative yet simple, reliable device. Just keep the Chemo Mouthpiece™ in your home freezer until you’re ready for your next treatment, then bring it with you for potent cooling power anytime, anywhere. To learn more about the Chemo Mouthpiece™ and how it can help you or someone close to you with chemo-induced mouth sores, visit us online or call (866) 461-7518 today.