Why Hydration is Vital During Chemo Days
Last updated: April 2023
My hope is that after reading this article I can convince you to drink more water while you're undergoing chemotherapy. If there is 1 thing that can make your chemo day easier, it's to have at least 1 to 2 liters of water right next to you.
Why drink more water during chemo?
During infusion days your body is under a tremendous amount of stress. Chemotherapy drugs are extremely toxic to your body. They are infused to kill cancer cells ASAP. However, in the process, the drugs are killing healthy cells as well.
The common side effects of chemotherapy are:1
- joint aches/stiffness
- neuropathy in your hands/feet
- dry eyes
Chemotherapy drugs can dehydrate you. Dehydration occurs because your body is using water during the detoxication process. If you choose to replace fluids with processed fruit juices, soda, coffee, and/or tea you are adding additional stress to your body. It takes water and energy to process any fluid you drink, unless it is pure water.2
Why don't people like drinking pure water?
So why not just drink pure water? Why do we add additional fluid stress to our bodies in the form of processed sugar and caffeine? The 2 biggest excuses of why people don't drink water:
- it's tasteless
- frequent trips to the bathroom
I get that pure water is tasteless and makes you pee, but when you are fighting to extend your life, wouldn't you do everything possible to make it easier for your body to recover from each chemotherapy treatment?
Use a straw or add fresh fruit
To make water taste like something, take a pitcher full of water and add any fresh fruit you like to infuse the water. Let it sit overnight and then fill up a glass full of the infused water and sip it using a straw. It's incredible how much water you will drink if you drink it through a straw.
Using the bathroom makes you move
The new way to fight cancer is encouraging patients to move as much as possible. The "old way" to fight cancer was to rest. Not anymore. If your movement for the day is to get up out of your bed and to use the bathroom, then that is your movement for the day. Hydrating with water will get you up out of bed every hour. And that's a good thing. Your oncologist will be happy to hear that you are maintaining your strength. Getting out of bed every hour will enable you to stay strong and hydrated.
Our bodies need fresh water
When your body is fighting cancer and trying to process powerful drugs, it's a double whammy on your system. Hydrating your cells with fresh water will enable your body to work better.
Freshwater also helps your body flush the chemotherapy out of your system. It's a win-win.
Chemo day hydration
Drinking only water on chemo days forces you to get up out of your chemo chair. Using the bathroom is just part of the chemo process. Getting up out of your chair and moving around is something your body will really enjoy. By moving around you're circulating the drugs much faster than if you were sitting still. The oncology nurses loved it when I got out of my chair every hour and walked around with my IV pole. I noticed they tried to encourage patients to get up and walk around (if they felt comfortable and steady on their feet).
I always felt stronger and more fluid (no pun intended) when I got up and went for a short walk to the bathroom. The more I sat, the stiffer I became in my chemo chair.
Did I convince you that drinking water is a habit you need to develop while undergoing chemotherapy?
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