Welcome to the topic How to deal with tamoxifen side effects?
We are aware of the significant influence that Tamoxifen’s adverse effects can have and the difficulty they can provide. Numerous individuals have shared their stories of overcoming similar challenges with us through various social media platforms and email. People have repeatedly brought up the challenge of evaluating the potential risks of quitting therapy against the burden of dealing with the adverse effects for several years. We decided to establish this blog to combine materials and management strategies that will assist with coping with these typical side effects, as well as to explain how Tamoxifen works and why it is so important.
What is it?
One form of hormone therapy is referred to as Tamoxifen. It accomplishes this by interfering with the estrogen receptors that are present in cancer cells. In this manner, estrogen will continue to be present in the body in the typical proportions, but it will no longer activate the cancer cells to grow further.
Whether a breast cancer patient is premenopausal or postmenopausal determines which hormone therapy is accessible to treat their condition. Because estrogen is produced in different body parts depending on whether or not a woman is pre-or postmenopausal, treatments need to target distinct parts of the body to be effective. Tamoxifen acts by selectively inhibiting the production of estrogen in the ovaries, which is the primary source of estrogen in premenopausal women.
Managing side effects
1. Hot Flushes and Night Sweats
The term “hot flushes” refers to extreme internal heat in the chest, face, and head that is accompanied by intense internal heat in the chest, face, and head. In most cases, the response of the body to hot flushes is not only the production of perspiration but also an acceleration of both the heart rate and the metabolic rate. Tamoxifen and other hormonal medications are prescribed for breast cancer treatment, and one of the most common reported adverse effects of these treatments is hot flushes.
There is a large amount of variation amongst people in both the severity and the frequency of hot flushes. The duration of a hot flush ranges from one to five minutes on average, but some might linger for up to an hour.mIn point of fact, mood swings, irritability, and difficulties concentrating might directly result from sleep disruptions brought on by hot flushes. This is especially true for women.
2. Fluid Retention
Edema, often known as fluid retention, is a typical adverse effect of Tamoxifen and can lead to increased body weight. A number of treatments for breast cancer carry with them the risk of adverse effects such as fluid retention or swelling. If it starts hurting or the swelling gets really bad, you should make an appointment with your doctor. The swelling that occurs around the eyes, particularly in the morning, is the most prevalent kind of mild to moderate edema. This is followed by swelling that occurs in the ankles, feet, and lower legs. This condition is referred to as “peripheral fluid retention,” and it describes the process through which the body stores fluid that is in excess at its extremities, such as the ankles. The swelling does have a tendency to decrease and go better with time.
3. Vaginal dryness
Tamoxifen inhibits the activity of estrogen receptors in cancer cells and healthy cells; hence, some of the drug’s negative effects result from the changes in estrogen levels that occur in healthy tissue. For instance, the estrogen-blocking properties of Tamoxifen in the cells that line the vaginal canal can cause those cells to become frailer and more fragile, which can result in dryness and itching of the vaginal canal. When the vaginal lining is less healthy and drier, it is easier for the vaginal tissue to be injured, which can result in blood being present in the discharge. This can be a sign of an underlying health problem.
Additionally, some women might notice an abnormal discharge. This can be a difference in the volume of discharge, its appearance, or its fragrance. If you use bisphosphonates, it’s possible that your discharge will grow whiter. Thrush can be identified by a thicker and whiter discharge, similar to cottage cheese, which causes irritation both inside and outside of the vulva. Even though you may have these side effects rather frequently, it is essential that you discuss them with your care team so that they can be managed in the most effective way possible. According to one study, 32.4% of women on Tamoxifen experienced at least one vaginal side effect that was evaluated as moderate to severe. Premenopausal women are more likely to report experiencing vulvovaginal side effects than postmenopausal women.
4. Irregular or loss of menstrual periods
Tamoxifen’s effect of blocking estrogen receptors can lead to a number of changes in the reproductive organs, one of which is an irregular menstrual cycle or even the absence of the menstrual cycle altogether. Tamoxifen does not cause menopause, and the absence of all menstrual periods is not necessarily an indication of menopause. After the tamoxifen medication has been finished, you may experience a period that is complete. On the other hand, after treatment with Tamoxifen, your period might not return because you might have entered menopause spontaneously or because you might have undergone other therapies, such as chemotherapy. This is not unusual, given that tamoxifen medication might extend for up to ten years.
A common adverse consequence of cancer, its therapy, and Tamoxifen, in particular, is fatigue, which can be described as an abnormally intense feeling of tiredness or a general lack of energy on a regular basis. It has a systemic effect and is frequently referred to as “paralyzing” and “exhausting.” In contrast to typical weariness, this condition may not be alleviated by rest or sleep. It also manifests itself in a variety of ways. Keeping a record of one’s energy levels and the food consumed is one method that can help one manage exhaustion caused by cancer. It will be identify trends of when you feel wearier and if particular activities and meals help or hinder your ability to fight fatigue. It is vital to schedule frequent moderate workouts (such as walking, swimming, and aerobics), even if you feel like you have no energy. Research has shown that these exercises dramatically improve breast cancer patients’ fatigue.
You might initially experience nausea when taking Tamoxifen, but this side effect should go away during the first few weeks of treatment.
It is essential for you to maintain a healthy level of hydration and nutrition, despite the fact that you may be experiencing feelings of nausea. If you are having trouble keeping food down, you should drink water and be sure to take electrolyte supplements. When you are feeling nauseated, the broth is another excellent way to bring nutrients into the body.
Keeping yourself well hydrated will not only assist in maintaining healthy bowel motions but also help prevent constipation. Another important measure you may take to avoid constipation is to get regular exercise.
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Also Read: Can Tamoxifen Be Used to Reduce the Risk of Invasive Breast Cancer?