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Dry throat help

oneill407
Posts: 7
Joined: Dec 2000

I am having difficulty in sleeping at night due to the dry throat. I wake every 15 to 20 minutes to sip water. Is there anyone who has found a way to extend the sleeping time with this side effect of radiation?

Dan

snwflk
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2000

Nope, nothing was ever satisfactory enough for my tastes ;-) Walgreens has several mouth moisturizers such as Oralbalance & some spray which was difficult to find. Salagen pills can be prescribed after rads done but they cause excessive urination the 1st 3 mos. (sipping water is a piece of cake compared to getting up every hr.)and all that extra water never did seem to find its way to my mouth=:-O
One recommendation I will make is Biotene toothpaste & mouthwash formulated for people w/dry mouth.
Contains no alcohol nor the foaming agent that is added to regular paste, which without the salvia to break it down can be a bit overly foamy.
As a matter of fact this paste is so good that it spared me the deep pocket cleaning that my dentist had threatened me with after my other dental work was done. 3 mos later he could no longer find those pockets :-) :-) :-) !!!!
Good, nay, excellent dental care is a must from now on. Depending on where main rads are aimed will determine the about of salvia production that returns cause the damage to the glands is irreversible.
My best wishes to you.

oneill407
Posts: 7
Joined: Dec 2000

Thanks so much for your helpful responce.

gcashman
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2001

Dan,
If your radiation was recent be patient, the recovery period can be several months. At least you're beyond the excessive mucus stage, eh?

I've been taking Salagen for the past five years with some success, albeit I drink 120 oz of water a day (distance runner) and have to pee all the time. When sleeping my mouth is dry although not bad enough for me to constantly need water. I do use the mouth trays (with Prevident) before bed which makes my mouth sticky.

I usually get up once during the night. What else do you eat or drink that could contribute to the dryness? Tea, onions, some breads make my mouth drier than usual, sometimes for several or more hours.

Toothpaste with baking soda, like Arm and Hammer, also drys me out for long periods. I've tried the Biotene products but happier with most of the sensitive toothpastes.

Good luck. Guy

jackie7964
Posts: 16
Joined: Jan 2001

Guy, I am looking at radiation therapy to begin next month. The biggest worry I have is the dry mouth. Can you tell me, did you have both sides irradiated, or just one? And how is the dry mouth affecting the sports activity you seem to be involved with? I am fairly young (36) and am having a hard time thinking about spending the rest of my life with little to no spit. Jackie

harold
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2001

ask the doctor there is a pill for dry mouth.my dr. offered it to me but i did'nt get dry mouth. not everyone do'es

jackie7964
Posts: 16
Joined: Jan 2001

Harold, did you have radiation on both sides of your mouth? Did your doctor give you any reason for why you didn't get dry mouth? From what I've been told, it's almost a given that it happens, so you are very lucky!

gcashman
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2001

Jackie,
I'm 45 (5 yr survivor) and had a left radical neck but radiation on both sides of the neck. There are 3 sets of salivary glands and thousands of mucous glands in the mouth. I take pilo-carpine (salagen) which stimulates a salivary function. So most (60-70%) of the time I'm fine albeit I always have a water bottle with me and drink approx 140 oz@day, (runners typically hydrate constantly). Otherwise my mouth is dry or sticky (mucous). I never have enough saliva to masticate normally and maybe just enough to lick a stamp...
Regarding running, I usually take a water bottle in a waist pack (45 min or 10k) or a Camel Pak with 90oz for 2.5-3 hrs (18-22 mi). I normally put in 30-60 miles a week depending on my race schedule. Carrying water on a bike is no problem. I do notice a drier mouth when eating onions, or drinking sparkling water. Hope this answers your question. Stay in touch, Guy (gcashman@earthlink.net)

jackie7964
Posts: 16
Joined: Jan 2001

Guy:

Thanks for the information. Sounds like you're doing pretty well dealing with the after effects of the treatment. I'm still hanging around waiting to find out if they plan to irradiate me. Seems that my radiation oncologist is on the fence about whether or not to do it (cancer was small, stage 1, and the pathologists are fighting over whether it was low grade or intermediate grade). So in the meantime, my biopsied tongue parts are gathering frequent flier miles while being looked over by more docs, and I'm just hanging around waiting to find out what's next.

Thanks again for the message!

Take care,

Jackie

madison
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2001

Ask your doctor to give you a prescription of Salagen during your radiation reatments. I found that has helped me a little because after treatments I never had a problem waking up because of dry mouth. I am young (22) also and I finished radiation about a year ago and it does get better. At first things are hard but gradually you get better. Oh and drink tons of water!

lesk
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2001

I've had 32 sessions of oral radiation, and one of my major light saliva glands were destroyed.

I've found that using an antihistamine (Allegra) has helped keeping me from breathing through my mouth instead of my nose. Also, for what it's worth, removing my dentures for the night reduces my requirement for lubrication.

Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. I still consume about six ounces of water during my night.

Here is the bright side!! We are alive and not pushing up daisies!

Regards,

Les Karpati
Waynesboro, TN

tambam's picture
tambam
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2000

Dan the Man..
I have that problem too. Do you take anything like salagen or humabid? These may help a little.. There really is no relief but to deal with this particular problem however, when you consider the alternative... that one always works for me! If I can help in any way ....e-mail me! chow

jerrelynn's picture
jerrelynn
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2001

My husband has just finished 62 radiation treatments 7,400 rads. His sleep is about 15 minutes at a time due to dry mouth! His tongue is full of sores and thrush seems to always be present. Because of his broken sleep I am always worried. He just finished his radiation three days ago. He sips water all night but even water hurts his burned tongue.
Jerre, Wife of Bob

snwflk
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2000

Oh my, this is awful. If he indeed does have Thrush I hope you have obtained the medication to treat it. Once he has gotten rid of the Thrush the pain & swallowing difficulties should improve. The dry mouth will also improve but very slowly over a long period of time. I'm 3 yrs out and waking up with an incredibly dry mouth is a given. One thing I find that helps is simply not to swallow in the effort to relieve my dry throat (just roll over and go back to sleep; less disruptive). Swallowing just makes it more noticeable and causes choking ,so just don't! (Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this....Well then don't do that!)
Bless you Jerre, Wife of Bob. The best thing you can do is be there to offer sympathy & the PATIENCE to deal with the travails he faces. Not being able to eat and swallow like a normal person takes its toll and great effort on the patients part to deal with.
Marie

dkeats
Posts: 11
Joined: Oct 2000

Jerre,
I finished my treatments 9/00 and had similar problems. I learned part way thru the treatment that if you have metal fillings in your teeth, the radiation bounces off the fillings causing extra burning to your tongue. I made some protectors from wax paper and wax to eliminate that and it helped alot. Too late for you now but perhaps it might help someone else reading this. I had thrush for about 2 months. I took liquid Difulcan (couldn't swallow pills) for 6 six weeks and then used a topical medicine called Nystatin (suggested by my Dentist). That finally cleared it up. I figured out that I was able to keep my mouth closed while sleeping by sleeping on a foam rubber wedge that keeps my head elevated about 8". I'm still using it. Plus I rub Oral Balance under my tongue clear back to my back teeth. This get's me about half way thru the night. One more little tip...I would have to raise myself up to reach my water at night (I had a neck dissection so movement was painful) so I got one of those no sip sippie cups like the little kids use and lay in right in bed with me. Works great if I can keep my husband from rolling on it!
I had radiation treatments in 1994 and then again this past September so they tell me that I probably won't ever be rid of the dry mouth, but tell your husband that when I had the treatments the first time (and they took out a couple of my saliva glands), I was pretty much back to normal in about 4 months. Hopefully he'll have the same type of response.
Hopefully you'll find a little help in this feedback...I know you husband is miserable because it's not something you can ignore but it will get better!
Marilyn

snwflk
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2000

Marilyn
The tips for the sippie cups will definitely be a help. I've always kept a glass of water bedside ever since by 'crawling across the desert dying of thrist' dream. I was too scared to get out of bed (monsters underneath bed, wouldn't ya just know it;-))to get a drink and so kept a glassful bedside ever since. Lost count of how many times I've knocked it over and had to jump out of bed to clean up the mess.

Marie

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