Sidestepping Side Effects – Mouth Sores

One of the most common side effects for both courses of chemotherapy drugs I have been given is mouth sores. Now, if you are like me, you are asking, what is that? I did not know and each time I went into the oncologist they would ask me if I had sores and I was like, “not that I know of.” “Oh, you’ll know,” was the response. So when they happened, all I can say is, “Yup, no mistaking that!”

That said, I still have questions about the “trouble swallowing” side effects they asked about. I have been told that it is caused by mouth sores actually in your throat. I have not experienced that as of the time of my writing this, but I do sometimes feel so nauseous that I can’t swallow randomly. But that isn’t what this is about.

The routine that I have had success with to prevent mouth sores is a little bit different than what I started out doing after that somewhat terrifying meeting prior to my first chemotherapy treatment. So I give the disclaimer that during my “teach” appointment, my nurse at the time recommended the Crest Alcohol-Free mouthwash, which is not listed on the practices official paperwork. For whatever reason, that is the one I found first when I went to get all my goodies and it worked like a charm for the most part.Whenever I felt like a sore was possibly coming on, I would rinse more frequently and then it would seemingly settle back down and all would be well in the mouth world again. I should also add that I wear a bite guard retainer type thing most nights and that tended to cause irritation that would bring on these want to be sores since they were always around the edges of it. In addition to doing the rinse more often, skipping some nights helped those areas heal. The toothpaste I used was the Biotene toothpaste. The one or two times I would accidentally grab my old toothpaste my mouth would sting like crazy, so that was a definite must for me.

When I did have the sores come out, it was awful. There really wasn’t anything I wanted to eat other than frozen drinks like smoothies and ice cream without anything in it. Even those I tried to keep on the opposite side of my mouth. I made quite a few mistakes on things I tried to eat, butternut squash pasta sauce was a big oops. Of course, as timing is everything, they got very bad on a Friday night, and I waited until Monday to seek some help when I went in for treatment. They prescribed a “Magic Mouthwash” and told me to use a baking soda and salt mixture rinse in addition to the mouthwash. The Magic Mouthwash was truly magic and numbed the area, and I truly believe helped them heal so much faster than anything else as much as I hated to add any other medications to my body.

I was very fortunate to only have the sores to the extent that I did. So many people experience much worse. Hoping this helps someone out there!

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