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Radiation burns

Veep
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013

I am posting for my Mom in hopes to get some advice and relief for her.  She just finished her last radiation treatment on Tuesday and was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday due to burns and extreme pain during urination.  The burns are on her whole underside from front to back.  We finally got her to be able to urinate without severe pain but now her skin is starting to heal from treatment and is sticking to itself.  They given her aquaphor and silvadene to help but we can't figure out how to keep her skin from sticking together.  She is constantly having to pull it back apart and it's extremely painful.  Has anyone else dealt with this?  We were hoping there was a way to numb the area with applying a cream with alcohol in it but no one can come up with anything.  Any help would be appreciated!!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2856
Joined: Jan 2010

I am so sorry to hear of your Mom's suffering.  I, too, had unbearable pain during urination, but I never experienced the adhering of my skin.  I'm not sure I can give you any advice about that, but I have heard others mention it, perhaps some on this board.  Maybe someone who has experienced that will chime in with some advice.  Has she tried applying Lidocaine cream?  It has a numbing effect and might be worth a try.  That was what I applied to my port prior to having it stuck and it numbed things up pretty well.  I'm sorry I can't be of more help.  I wish your mom all the best and admire you for coming here on her behalf for advice.  I hope someone here can help. 

Veep
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013

We haven't tried the lidocaine because we were told it would hurt her more because it has alcohol in it, though at this point it may not hurt her any worse, though.i will double check with her Dr. And see what she says.  It's been a hard last couple of days for her; things seem to be going well and the Doctor's think she'll be ready to go home and then she has an extremely painful episode.  I am really hoping that someone has dealt with this before and can help.  My Mom is really struggling right now.

AZANNIE
Posts: 372
Joined: Mar 2011

I also was hospitalized with burns front and back. A wound care nurse was consulted and she prescribed Xenaderm ointment which helped. I also had burning during urination and was given saline solution to pour on the area when I urinated. I remember being stuck together, too. If I remember correctly, the ointment helped with that. After xenaderm was applied, desitin was applied on top of that. I also used a sitz bath with warm water.
I hope your Mom finds relief soon.

 

Ann

 

Veep
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013

Thank you for the advice.   I will find out about the ointment and see if that might help her feel better.  i will also check on the saline solution, so far we haven't tried anything like that.  We did try sitting her in the shower to use the water as help to urinate, but it didn't go very well.  We weren't sure if her skin was still just too raw to handle the water temperature, even though we kept it fairly cool.  Maybe the saline will help with that.  

Thank you!

islandgirlculebra's picture
islandgirlculebra
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2012

I had severe burns but never had problems with skin sticking together. My pain was helped immensely by a cream called "3M Cavilon Durable Barrier Cream". It was a lifesaver for me when I was in extreme pain. Urinating into a sitz bath helped me also because I didn't feel the pain if I was urinating into lukewarm water..... I also would squirt water onto myself while urinating but it might be a challenge for someone who is elderly as it was hard enough for me at 54. I hope she gets feeling better soon. I know this is a really rough time.

mxperry220
Posts: 358
Joined: Mar 2011

You mentioned in your post you might apply a cream with alcohol.  I would suggest NO alcohol to be used on raw flesh as this can create severe pain.  Baby wipes with no alcohol work pretty well.  Many patients take sitz baths to help.

Mike

Veep
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013

We've decided to not try to pursue the lidocaine for the moment.   Maybe we will later once her skin has healed and if we feel we still need it.  We've started using wipes with the aquaphor spread on them and have found it's added a little bit of relief when urinating.

jcruz
Posts: 216
Joined: Jan 2013

I began to have problems with my labia sticking together less than a week after my final radiation treatment.  I remember being horrified and scared. I was able to unstick them when I sat in the tub.  I am trying to remember exactly what my rad onc recommended.  I know that I was using silvadene, neosporin and aquaphor compounded with lidocaine.  I do remember that she had me come in to the office and get the dilators and started using the smallest one that week.  I also used lidocaine gel for some numbing relief before I tried to urinate.  I began to heal pretty quickly within the first two weeks after treatment.  I hope your mom does too.

Veep
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013

We have started a regime of the silvadene and aquaphor.  It's helped with the sticking a bit and her urination has become a bit more bearable.  I will make sure we ask about the dilators, though.  It's been a week now and she is finally starting to feel some relief :)

Thank you!

lowens's picture
lowens
Posts: 33
Joined: May 2012

I had severe burns and the silvadene (sp) did NOT do the trick nor did anything else that was suggested. I received my treatment in Houston through St. Luke's in the Medical Center. The only thing that helped me and also convinced me there was an end to the fear and I would heal, was Lydia in Wound Care. My burns were ferocious and when she first saw me/them, she patted me and told me I would heal. She told me to definitely keep clean but NOT to sit in sitzbaths for long periods of time. She placed what I called the MIRACLE "strips" on me called Silvacell and then followed up with Aquacel "strips" after about a week of two. I was to wear the same ones for a least a day maybe two. I could immediately see healing after a day in them and I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. After three weeks, I was not 100% better but as close to normal as I thought I would ever get. I told my radiation oncologist they should send every anal cancer with such harsh radiation directly to wound care to spend the healing up. It was the best thing for my emotional and mental health as well.

Veep
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013

I'm so sorry you had to deal with that!  My Mom and I were also discussing how surprising it was that she wasn't spoken to about the likelihood of burns and suggestions for helping to soothe the skin early on in treatment.   We did have a visit from wound care but they saw her on a Friday and then were off for the weekend so they didn't help much in our case.  Thankfully her body really is healing a bit quicker than we expected, though.  Her pain is still there but it's become a little bit more bearable daily.  We have slathered her in aquaphor and silvadene and she has felt some relief on her skin from that.

nicotianna
Posts: 37
Joined: Oct 2013

I had excoriation from radiation in the groins

& vulva but not as severe as what your mom is experiencing.  I used Domeboro astringent solution.  It was recommended by the radiation tech.  I found it to be soothing.  It comes in powder packets (12 for $17).  I took strips of cotton & dipped them into the solution.  Having someone assist with the application would make it much easier!  I hope this helps.

Nicotianna

Veep
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013

Thank you for the suggestion.  Luckily the aquaphor and silvadene have starting helping her feel some relief, finally.  I will definitely keep this in mind if things change, though.  i really appreciate you replying!

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 840
Joined: Jun 2013

Can't add too much to the great advises above. But severe burns like this may require a consultation with a burn center who have more extensive knowledge and more suffisticated medications than a radiology where they only deal with mild burns.

Good luck to you both and happy Thanksgiving to your family.

Laz

Veep
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013

Thank you for the kind thoughts!   Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, as well!

damillval
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2013

I do recall some areas of skin sticking together and it really freaked me out too.  I used domeboro soaks 3 times/day.  Also used the silvadene cream.  The oncology nurse gave me strips with an ointment on them.  Can't remember what they're called, but they were basically like bandaids (not-adhesive though) with petroleum jelly on one side.  They were basically used to keep the moisture inside the skin which is critical for any deep burns.  So maybe strips like this would work to separate the skin?  Also, it's best at this point to not wear any underwear.  I just wrapped a big beach towel around my waist, and I know others just wore long skirts, no underwear.  Good luck.

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