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How to Reduce Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

By June 20, 2024No Comments

Radiation therapy is an advanced form of medical treatment that can help treat several ailments. But, this type of procedure can also produce unwanted side effects so it’s important to learn how to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy.

With the right routine, it’s possible for you to reduce nausea and other unwanted effects of radiation-based treatments.

Keep in mind that the ideal approach to addressing these side effects will vary based on the type of condition and treatment, so you need to think about your personal circumstances to find the best answer.


Tips for Reducing the Side-Effects of Radiation Therapy

If you or a loved one is undergoing this type of treatment you may be asking yourself “how can I reduce the side effects of radiation therapy?”

Since this technology has been around for a while, there are established best practices that can help reduce unwanted issues. Let’s take a closer look at a few steps you can take.


1. Establish a Skin Care and Hydration Routine

Radiation waves are known to cause internal organ damage, but it’s also important to highlight that this energy can produce skin irritation. As a matter of fact, establishing a good hydration routine is essential if you’re undergoing radiation treatment.

The reason for this is that the skin is our protective layer and one of the largest organs in the body, so it absorbs a huge amount of radiation when compared to other areas. Best practices to help protect your skin from radiation include:

  • Washing the treated area with warm water after treatment
  • When drying, gently pat your skin and avoid rubbing
  • Use pollutant-free, gentle moisturizers
  • Avoid extreme temperatures in the affected area
  • Wear loose closing to avoid friction irritation


2. Take Steps to Balance Fatigue

It’s common for radiation treatments to produce fatigue. As a patient, it’s essential for you to find ways to balance this side effect without pushing your body too much.

So, it’s important to establish a napping routine, eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated, and ask family and friends for assistance if certain activities wear you out.


3. Eat Small Portion Regularly and Avoid Irritants

Radiation treatment can also impact your eating habits and appetite levels. Here, a good option is to stay active as this will naturally boost your hunger.

Additionally, make sure to eat highly nutritious food when hungry and drink plenty of liquids as well.


4. Observe Good Oral Hygiene

It’s possible for radiation treatment to affect soft tissue in your mouth such as your gums. Therefore, radiation therapy patients should take the time to observe good oral hygiene.

As a rule of thumb, brush your teeth two to three times per day and always use mouthwash. Flossing regularly will also help remove debris and protect your gums long term.

If you have a condition that requires regular imaging, it’s advisable to ask your practitioner about additional protection for your gums.


5. Build a Great Mental Health Support Network

If you’re wondering how to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy naturally, having a great support network can give you a motivational boost that contributes to a faster recovery.

This is important because, in addition to the stress of managing your condition, you will experience side effects like tiredness and lack of hunger.

In these situations, having friends and family that motivate you and provide physical assistance will reduce the amount of stress you experience and give you an emotional boost that keeps you moving forward.


6. Adhere to Medical Advice from Your Doctors

This may seem like an obvious option, but if your medical experts provide protective gear, medicine, treatment options, and tips, make sure to adhere to these to the best of your ability.

As long as you follow the medical advice, you will be in a position where your body has the best chance to bounce back and recover as quickly as possible.


What Are the Different Forms of Radiation Therapy?

Now that we’ve answered the question “How can you reduce the side effects of radiation?” let’s take a moment to analyze the different types of radiation therapy out there.


Systemic Radiation Therapy

Systemic radiation therapy uses radioactive drugs to treat conditions like cancer. Also known as radiopharmaceuticals, these are applied in liquid form and are either ingested orally or enter the body via a drip.


Internal Radiation Therapy (Brachytherapy)

This form of treatment utilizes minuscule sources of radiation that are placed in the body near or in a tumor. It only affects a specific part of the body, but internal radiation therapy can still produce unwanted side effects.


External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

Most of us imagine this type of therapy when we think about radiation treatments. In short, EBRT consists of radiation beams that are delivered from outside of the body of the affected area. For this therapy to be safe and effective, the radiation beams have to be directed at the right area to help keep side effects at a minimum.


Conditions that May Be Treated Through Radiation Therapy

There are many different conditions that are treated through radiation therapy.


Cancerous Conditions

Radiation therapy can be used to kill cancerous cells that affect different organs and remove them completely from the human body.


Benign Tumors

Benign tumors can produce issues in the long run, but the good news is that these can be addressed through high-energy radiation treatment.



Often treated through radioactive iodine therapy, hyperthyroidism is also another condition that can be treated through this innovative technology.



Radiation therapy is a modern type of treatment, but you need to take steps to reduce stress and make yourself as comfortable as possible.

As long as you follow the tips above on how to reduce side effects of radiation therapy, you should be able to keep side effects at a minimum and recover as quickly as possible.

Interested in learning more about radiation protection? Your medical practitioner should be able to provide the right equipment during any imaging and treatment steps, so bring it up with your professional to find out what alternatives you have.