Different chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treatments and their side effects can be dehydrating. You can take steps to reduce the risk of dehydration.
If you’re not able to keep up with your fluid needs during CLL treatment, you’re at risk of getting dehydrated. Both radiation and chemotherapy can lead to side effects that can cause fluid loss, like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
When you don’t get enough liquid throughout the day, you can start to show some earlier signs of dehydration, such as:
- dry mouth
- dark urine
- difficulty swallowing dry foods
Worsening dehydration can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and decreased urination. Dehydration is a serious medical condition that requires attention and treatment.
To help prevent yourself or a loved one from becoming dehydrated during CLL treatment, try some of these tips for staying hydrated.
You don’t have to drink a full 8-ounce glass of water when you feel sick. Instead, try sucking on an ice cube or taking very small sips of water or another beverage.
When you are feeling ill, small and frequent sips can help keep you hydrated without causing more discomfort.
Caregivers or support persons can help with this by reminding their loved one to take sips throughout the day.
For some, writing down what you have had to eat and drink in a day
You can then use the diary as a point of reference leading up to, during, or after treatment to help guide your meals and drinks. This can help you avoid dehydration.
If you don’t enjoy drinking water, there are other drinks that can help keep you hydrated. While you should avoid alcohol and caffeine, you may find it easier to drink herbal teas, fruit juice, smoothies, and sports drinks.
Keep in mind that if you’re looking to limit your sugar intake, you should choose drinks with no added sugar. Fruit juice and smoothies may have some health benefits, but they also tend to have high levels of sugar.
When you are going through chemo or radiation therapy, you might notice your skin dry out. To combat this, you should carry and apply moisturizer as needed. For your lips, you may find that lip balm helps alleviate the pain associated with dry, cracked lips.
When you can keep foods down, you can choose to eat nutritious foods that have a higher moisture content than others. Vegetables and fruits are two good options, but you can also gain hydration from gelatins, soups, popsicles, and more.
If you find that chemo, radiation, or other therapies are causing nausea, vomiting, or digestive issues, you may be able to treat the symptoms.
Talk with your doctor about what medications could work for you and your needs. There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can alleviate digestive issues and help you avoid getting dehydrated.
Everyone’s fluid needs are different, and they can change depending on the circumstance, such as during cancer treatment.
You may find it helpful to speak with a dietitian to get an understanding and accurate measurement of how much fluid you need each day.
Combined with keeping a diary, this can help you better determine if you’re meeting your needs to avoid dehydration.
One way to help stay hydrated is to always keep a cooler full of ice, juice, water, or other beverages nearby. This way, fluids are accessible, and all you need to do is reach into the cooler.
Limiting the amount you move can help if you have low energy.
If you have someone helping you during CLL treatment, you can ask them to make sure you stay hydrated.
When going out, ask your caregiver to carry a cooler, lunch box, or other container to keep drinks on hand. You can also ask them to encourage you to drink throughout the day in case you forget.
Hydration plays an important role in keeping you healthy and feeling better during cancer treatment. There are several methods you can try to help keep you hydrated. These include keeping a drink journal, taking small sips, and leaning on your support person for help.
Your doctor or other members of your care team may be able to help treat the side effects associated with chemo, radiation, and other cancer treatments. They can also help you figure out how much fluid you need per day to help keep you hydrated.