What To Expect After An Autologous Stem Cell Transplant

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), non-communicable diseases such as stroke and heart disease are among the top ten causes of death today. In 2016, cancer had claimed the lives of close to 1.7 million people. This situation has led to an increasing interest in stem cell transplant research, clinics as well as funding. So far, there are very few licensed clinics undertaking stem cell transplants. Therefore, if you or your loved one plans on receiving this treatment, you should visit Dr. Bleiweiss, a stem cell specialist offering Caldwell stem cell treatments.

Autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is today one of the most common cancer treatment options due to the improvement of patient’s survival. This procedure is only carried out once the patient undergoes both induction and high-dose therapy.

These two treatments aim at reducing the burden caused by the tumor as well as increasing the response rate and improving the tolerability of ASCT. There are specific side effects and aftercare habits that patients should know before undergoing ASCT.

Common Side Effects

Low white blood cells

This is one of the most common side effects of ASCT. The high dose chemotherapy may lead to a reduction in neutrophils, which are essential for immunity. During chemotherapy, these cells are killed, and your body is not able to make new ones leaving patients at a high risk of infections.

You lose the ability to make platelets

Chemotherapy lowers the number of platelets in your body. Therefore, after undergoing ASCT, you will have to be careful by avoiding cuts and strenuous tasks that could lead to bleeding, especially of the gums.

Your doctor must also take daily blood samples to find out the number of platelets in your bloodstream. However, once the new stem cells from the transplant take hold, your platelet counts will increase, putting you on the road to recovery.

Fatigue

The ASCT procedure will lower your blood cell count, as well. With less oxygen being transported in the body, you will experience fatigue. Carrying out daily activities will prove challenging, so it’s best to have a caregiver close by but also try to stay active.

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Nausea and vomiting

These side effects are mostly due to chemotherapy done before ASCT. The intensity varies depending on the type of chemotherapy you receive. Therefore, you should hydrate and also talk to your doctor to give you medication.

Diarrhea

This is another unpleasant side effect of ASCT. If this happens, you shouldn’t buy any over-the-counter medication. Call your doctor to find out the best treatment option for you.

Constipation

You should talk to your doctor if you notice a change in bowel movement, especially a lack of bowel movement for more than 48 hours.

Mouth sores

Some patients have complained of dryness, swelling, and other discomfort symptoms after undergoing ASCT.

Skin changes

Some changes include discoloration, pigmentation, and increased sensitivity to the sun.

Hair loss

Losing your hair can cause distress and may even affect your recovery process. You may want to cut it off before undergoing the procedure to help lessen the emotional pain caused by the sudden loss of hair.

Lifestyle Changes to make after ASCT

Due to the high risk of infection, you should maintain excellent hygiene standards and avoid shaking hands, avoid overcrowded places, and stay away from animals. You must also maintain good oral hygiene and only eat food that has low-microbial ingredients.

The bottom line is that every procedure has its risks, but this shouldn’t prevent you from seeking professional help. Dr. Bleiweiss offers specialized skin cell treatment while guaranteeing his patients minimal side effects.