After cancer treatment ends, many people feel drained and exhausted. Indeed, this is pretty much expected. For some, this can be long-lasting and impact their ability to get back to work, complete household chores, or be able to play with their grandkids. It can be tough to cope with the ongoing fatigue, but there are ways to manage it. This is reversible and doesn’t have to be the norm for anyone. This blog post will discuss some tips for coping with fatigue after cancer treatment ends. Stay tuned for more information!
When most people are confronted with cancer treatment, they expect to feel some level of fatigue going through the process. There is no question these treatments can cause imbalances that can result in fatigue. People usually underestimate the various causes of fatigue and how they can be overcome.
Fatigue is a very vague symptom, meaning there can be one or several causative factors for any one person’s fatigue. It can be digestive insufficiency where you’re not absorbing your nutrients. Medications can also block certain vital nutrients from being made by our gut flora that are necessary for making energy. Certain antibiotics or those Proton Pump Inhibitors so many people get put on during treatment for heartburn can greatly impact your digestive function creating fatigue.
Aside from digestive issues, emotional stressors and toxicity stressors can both lead to hormonal-related fatigue. Your adrenal glands secrete hormones that allow you to handle stress like cortisol. Less cortisol being secreted by the adrenal glands due to excessive emotional stress can lead to serious fatigue where you wake up in the morning still tired even after sleeping the night before. When this happens you will also start to become irritable and “sweat the small stuff”. You start yelling at your kids or spouse. The 24-hour circadian rhythm that allows you to sleep at night and have enough energy during the day can then be thrown off due to low melatonin levels or high nighttime cortisol when you should be sleeping. We know night shift workers and those with abnormal circadian rhythms have a higher chance of getting certain cancers like breast cancer. Oftentimes, just looking at melatonin makes a huge difference for people so they can sleep better. Having better sleep hygiene, in general, is also really important.
In terms of supplementation, certain supplements have evidence to show they can impact cancer-related fatigue and can be safely taken. This can be done while you’re also looking at some of these underlying causative factors and lifestyle behaviors to be corrected.
It’s so important to have support and infrastructure to help you cope while you are going through treatment. This includes having other people like third-party mentors. Other people going through the same thing who are part of your support group, are imperative. We also want to consider certain supplements to take that can help with anxiety and depression vs. the medications that are usually given that usually have long-term side effects or just numb your emotions.
The reality is that if you don’t have support for your mental/emotional health, stress can become an obstacle to your healing as well as negatively impact your likelihood of recurrence. I’m not talking about psychiatric drugs. I mean counseling, as well as support groups.
If you are feeling drained after cancer and treatment, know that you are not alone. There is help available in the form of safe supplementation as well as addressing the causative factors and lifestyle behaviors. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help – we would be happy to schedule a free discovery call with you to see how we might be able to support you on your journey back to health.
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