A flushed man desperately drinking water

Chemo Dehydration

Last updated: September 2022

Having dehydration after chemo treatments was not fun. I remember my first chemo and the experience I had not drinking enough water. When I started my first round of chemo back in December of 2015, I thought this will be a piece of cake. The first round went well, and I felt good, no fatigue, no headaches, no loss of appetite I felt like a million bucks.

But a few days went by and oh my goodness I got the worse headaches, and it wouldn’t go away. I remember calling my nurse navigator and telling her the horrible headaches I was getting. The first thing she asked me was if I was drinking enough water and I told her “I think I am.” That wasn’t good enough for her, so she had me see my regular doctor.

Learning I was severely dehydrated

When I got to my doctor’s office, I was told I was severely dehydrated, and that I need to go to the hospital and get an IV. So, after seeing my doctor I went to the infusion department to get an IV and start the hydrating process. Once the IV started I remember starting to feel better and my headache goes away. I never realized that chemotherapy could cause dehydration and dehydration can cause severe headaches. Needless to say, I learned something new and learned my lesson.

I continued to get chemo every 3 weeks for about 2 months, and I made sure I drank plenty of water before and after chemotherapy. But I also made sure to stay hydrated the weeks I didn’t have chemo.

Your reminder to drink more water

Chemo dehydration is real, and we must stay hydrated as much as we can. Now there are other causes of dehydration with chemotherapy such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fever but thank goodness I didn’t experience any of that. I just had horrible headaches. So yes, drinking a lot of water is very important during your chemotherapy treatment. Also, other medications that you might have with chemotherapy can cause dehydration. Make sure chemotherapy hydration is a priority. Drinking plenty of water during chemotherapy can help the process go smoother.

Drink an 8-ounce glass of water each day, but if you are having diarrhea and vomiting or a fever you need to drink more to stay hydrated. Also, don’t depend on being thirsty to tell you that you need to drink more water. Always have water with you and sip on it throughout the day. You can also drink liquids that have electrolytes such as Pedialyte, Gatorade, Powerade, and any other sports drinks.

Have you experienced difficulty staying hydrated while on chemotherapy? Tell us about your experiences in the comments and share tips that helped during treatment.

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