With AML treatment comes side effects. Some may experience them more strongly than others, but it’s always good to be prepared and have a plan to help if and when symptoms occur.
You’ll want to contact your doctor or go to the emergency room if you have more severe symptoms such as a high fever, blood in the urine or stool, uncontrollable bleeding, nausea or vomiting that prevents you from eating or drinking, severe diarrhea or constipation, shortness of breath, abnormal pain, swelling or itching.
Some of the most common side effects of AML treatment include: nausea, bruising, fatigue, taste changes, irritation of the lining of the mouth, throat and gut (mucositis) and bowel changes.
Nausea: It’s important to stay on top of taking your anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor. If you find the nausea isn’t completely controlled with medication, there are many other strategies you could consider.
Fatigue: Fatigue can keep you from being able to do daily activities or things you enjoy. Use physical activity and good nutrition to combat low energy.
Diarrhea/Constipation: Changes to bowel habits is common with AML treatment. Hydration and fiber intake are two key ways to manage these side effects.
Managing side effects is both an art and a science. It will take some time to understand what strategies work best for you. If a strategy doesn’t work perfectly the first time, don’t give up! Keep trying different techniques until you feel relief. Your doctor, nurse, dietitian, psychologist, pharmacist and other healthcare providers are very knowledgeable in side effect management and can help as well. Keep a symptom journal so that the next time you visit with them, you can be clear about what symptoms you are experiencing and when. This will help your provider give you personalized feedback and suggestions and lead to relief sooner.
about the author
Katie joined HealthTree as the Community Director for AML in 2021. She is a registered dietitian who previously worked at the VA hospital in Dallas, Texas where she coached veterans with blood cancer on how to use nutrition to improve their treatment outcomes and minimize cancer-related side effects. Katie is passionate about health education and patient empowerment. In her spare time, she loves to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, spend time running outdoors and travel to new places.