What Is Magic Mouthwash for Cancer Patients?
In the midst of battling cancer, patients spend a lot of time searching for ways to mitigate as many of their negative symptoms as possible. Sometimes, there are obvious and effective solutions, but more often it’s difficult to have any effect at all on the hair loss, nerve pain, mouth sores, nausea, and the many other chemo side effects that tend to plague patients. Part of the issue is the necessity of the fundamental treatment; defeating cancer is the top priority, so patients can’t simply stop their chemo regimen, even if it’s causing them serious issues. However, there are some ways to ease patients’ pain and improve their quality of life, such as by using the so-called “magic mouthwash” to help treat oral mucositis. What is this mouthwash, and where can you get it? To find out, keep reading as the people at Chemo Mouthpiece™ explain.
The Cause of Chemo Mouth Sores
It’s no secret that chemotherapy causes a host of painful and unpleasant side effects; although they are not as obvious or as widely discussed as some of those effects, the mouth sores caused by chemo are nonetheless one of the most debilitating conditions that many cancer patients experience. Not only can they cause extreme discomfort, but the inflammation, dry mouth, and thickened saliva that accompany the sores all cause problems of their own. So, why does this happen during chemo?
The answer lies with the nature of chemotherapy itself. Though it’s intended as a life-saving treatment, the medications used in this procedure are actually toxic to living tissue as well. While this makes them effective against cancer cells, it also means collateral damage to many of the healthy cells they come into contact with. And because chemo is a systemic treatment, not a localized one, the drugs involved are free to circulate throughout the body, seeking out any tissues that grow quickly – like those in a tumor or, say, the mucous membranes of the mouth.
Once the chemo drugs reach the vulnerable tissues that line the cheeks and tongue, they begin to break them down. This causes sores to develop in the mouth, wounds which present an opportunity for invading bacteria. In fact, a 2008 study found that a one-point increase in the severity of oral mucositis led to more than double the risk of developing a serious infection, plus longer periods of IV nutrition, narcotic painkillers, fever, and general hospitalization. All told, the cost of oral mucositis can reach tens of thousands of dollars per patient.
Magic Mouthwash to Treat Oral Side Effects from Chemotherapy
Treating the symptoms of mucositis can be easier said than done, given the importance of its underlying cause: the chemo medication. However, many patients who suffer from this condition swear by the solution known as “magic mouthwash” – a term that applies to a number of different medicated mixtures.
In truth, there’s no one product that can definitively call itself magic mouthwash; instead, there are many formulas for this liquid, which is a combination of drugs intended to help patients deal with the effects of oral mucositis. Common formulas include some combination of the following ingredients:
- A topical anesthetic, such as viscous lidocaine
- Antibiotic or anti-fungal agents to prevent infection
- Antihistamines to help relieve pain
- An antacid to help the mixture coat the mouth
- A corticosteroid to treat swelling and inflammation
Most versions of magic mouthwash are meant to be used every few hours to reduce the severity of symptoms, or at least to relieve the pain and inflammation. They can be obtained at your local pharmacy, though your doctor will likely have to write you a prescription first.
Make sure to follow the directions you’re given when using the mouthwash, including directives not to eat immediately afterward or to swish the mix in your mouth for a minute or two. Results can vary, especially since there is no set formula for magic mouthwash, but it should provide some measure of relief.
Fighting Oral Mucositis with Oral Cryotherapy
Magic mouthwash may be helpful in the event that you develop oral mucositis, but the better choice is to try and prevent the worst of the symptoms altogether. While no treatment yet devised can entirely protect against mouth sores, one method – oral cryotherapy – has proven effective at helping to block more severe forms of oral mucositis from appearing.
The science behind this is relatively simple: By cooling the tissues of the mouth, the blood vessels in that area are forced to shrink, which in turn allows less of the chemotherapy medication to access the area. In the same way that closing lanes on a highway can slow traffic, oral cryotherapy can reduce the concentration of toxic chemicals in the mouth.
Ice chips and popsicles are the standard methods of using oral cryotherapy during treatment, but the Chemo Mouthpiece™ is undoubtedly the more effective option. Because the Chemo Mouthpiece™ can cool the entire oral cavity, from top to bottom, by as much as 30 degrees, it can shrink the blood vessels throughout the mouth, effectively limiting the amount of chemotherapy medication that can reach the area; visit our website to learn more about this unique oral cryotherapy device.
Combat Chemo Mouth Sores with the Chemo Mouthpiece™
If you or someone you know is facing the prospect of developing chemo mouth sores, don’t wait; take preemptive action by ordering a Chemo Mouthpiece™ today. This one-of-a-kind medical device was created by an engineer and cancer survivor named David Yoskowitz who wanted a more effective means of cryotherapy than just bits of ice. Learn about David’s story and the power of the Chemo Mouthpiece™ by visiting our website or calling (866) 461-7518 today.