Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Lessen the Side Effects of Bone Marrow Transplants


A bone marrow transplant is the process of transplanting healthy bone marrow to replace unhealthy or deficient bone marrow. Bone marrow is where blood cells are made, and any problem with bone marrow decreases the body's ability to fight disease. Bone marrow transplants may be necessary for patients with specific types of cancer such as leukemias, lymphomas and myeloma, as well as for immunodeficiencies and bone marrow deficiency diseases. You should be aware of the possible side effects before you undergo a bone marrow transplant.


Difficulty: Moderate



Step One

Take any prescribed mouthwashes and antibiotics to help decrease the chance of infection.

Step Two

Know that food can cause infection. Eat your meals while they are hot, and thoroughly wash and peel all fruit and vegetables. Do not eat soft cheese or lightly cooked eggs.

Step Three

Clean your home thoroughly every day to lessen the side effects of a bone marrow transplant. Dust and other airborne illness may cause infection.

Step Four

Ensure that each visitor washes his hands completely before he enters your home. Visitors may be required to wear masks or gloves, and, if they are ill, they will not be allowed to enter.

Step Five

Tell your doctor if you are feeling extremely tired or weak, as these are signs of anemia. While you can expect to lose red blood cells after a bone marrow transplant, losing too many causes anemia and a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Step Six

Alert your doctor if you are experiencing nose bleeds, bleeding gums or if you see blood in your urine or stool. These are side effects of losing platelets, and a platelet transfusion may be required.

Step Seven

Expect to feel ill with vomiting and diarrhea after a bone marrow transplant. Lessen these side effects by taking prescribed anti-nausea medication.

Step Eight

Suck on lozenges and use mouthwash to decrease the risk of mouth ulcers and mouth infection after receiving a bone marrow transplant.

Step Nine

Deal with loss of appetite by eating small meals throughout the day. If you have a very difficult time eating, a dietician may require you to drink liquid nourishment providing protein and calories. In extreme cases, you may need to be fed through a central line.

Step Ten

Cope with the often difficult long-term side effect of infertility by taking preventative measures. Men may be able to place their sperm in a sperm bank before the transplant, and women usually experience early menopause, which may be treated with hormone replacement therapy.

Step Eleven

Continue to report any side effects to your doctor on a continual basis. He can help you lessen any side effects from your transplants.

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