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Spicy food

james chambliss's picture
james chambliss
Posts: 70
Joined: May 2010

I was wondering. About how long does it take before you can eat spicy food without it hurting. I stay away from it now, well i try it like once a week. I eat food without spices now because i can't take it. It kills my throat. So i was curious to see what others had to say.



Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

James, I'm 16 months post treatment...for me food tastes are still a work in progress. I have nearly 80% of both my taste and saliva that has returned.

Initially (first six plus months) I had very little of either. I'd try different foods that I liked before treatment, some would be slightly familiar and good, some completely disgusting.

So I'd put those on the back burner and try them again a few months later. Eventually a lot of those old tastes have returned, not all, and very few are 100% of what they used to be before radiation. But they're close enough that I still enjoy them and have started needing to watch my weight gaining.

I didn't really have a problem with spicy foods, but it did take awhile for acidic fruits and juices.

I do still tend to have a lot of acid reflux, especially if I eat late. It always seems to hit me around 2- 3AM. I was prescribed Protonix during Chemo as I had a lot of acid during that time also. That's what I am still using with good results.

Only real advice that I can give you is to keep trying. If you are lucky it'll return soon for you. Most of my gains and improvements have come very slowly, more like months instead of weeks.


Jimbo55's picture
Posts: 578
Joined: Jun 2010

James, I am 2 months out from treatment. I can eat most foods now, except for spicy things. I just haven't made much progress with that, which is a real shame since I luv spicy food (my wife is Thai and a really good cook). Even mildly spicy food is a problem for me presently. The first bite or 2 are ok, but after that the spiciness multiplies with each additional mouthful. I surely haven't given up on it yet and continue to try some here and there. Cheers


Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

.... and still can't really handle stuff with Chilli. It's not as bad as it was so things are improving, but my mouth does burn really only from Chilli, wines (esp red) and spirits, not that i drink these days, but when I have tried a taste or a special wine at a dinner, it has burned. I think we all recover in different ways James and I'm sure things will improve.


Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 2010

I am 9 months out. I can eat spicy/hot foods after about six months but the problem is my head sweat so much when I eat spicy foods. I think there is a connection between your sweat glands and tongue/taste buds. Some foods do not taste the same but some are okay. Usually I can taste it for a few minutes and then the taste disappear. Eating is not a very enjoyable experience as it used to be but I try to eat more healthy food now, so it does not really matter. Frank.

fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

I am not 14 years 5 months post treatment and still can not handle spicy foods. For me even to much black pepper does not work. I go for texture, smell and easy to swallow. When it burns like I need a fire truck to put it out I use a bit of sour cream.

James, I sure hope yours gets better along with everyone else


Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

For me, it is somewhat different. NPC, with the most damage done to my mouth. Within nine-months, post-treatment, I was eating a lotta hotter foods- like onions and Roadhouse chili. Taste buds were hit so that getting flavor didn't exactly happen, except for such spicier foods. Do still eat slowly, but I do enjoy such foods, now.


james chambliss's picture
james chambliss
Posts: 70
Joined: May 2010

Most foods i can eat. Though it seems once i am done the back of my throat almost always hurts for about 15 to 20 mins after, unless it's spicy. Then it kills for about an hour, plus i am rinsing my mouth constantly. I do hope some day i can eat spicy foods again, because i love them. All of my taste buds seem to be working, saliva still a big issue. I use Stoppers 4, which helps a bit. I do enjoy my cereal. It's the one thing that does not bother my throat at all. Then again, i do let it get some what soggy.

Thanks all!


delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

Before cancer I was happily eating my homegrown nuclear-powered habanero peppers, dicing them on my salads.
About two months after treatment I figured I'd try some ketchup. Not a spicy ketchup, just plain old Heinz. HOT!!!!
That was in December 2008. Come spring of 2009 I did like I do every spring: I planted tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and habanero peppers. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to eat them, but I figured I'd give it a shot.
By summer I was eating habaneros on my salads again, just like before.
It just took awhile for me to bounce back. Give it time, and work your way up the spiciness ladder gradually.
Good luck.

--Jim in Delaware

james chambliss's picture
james chambliss
Posts: 70
Joined: May 2010

I like having hope and Jim, you have given me hope. I love Mexican, Thai, Indian and many other spicy foods. I look forward to that day when i can eat them again. I also like King Crab legs and Lobster, which i have found i can still eat and enjoy with drawn butter. Life is not bad and is getting better.


abbimom's picture
Posts: 87
Joined: Sep 2010

You do the same thing I do. I always order extra sour cream and usually if I'm out I have to order the same things because I never know what spices they use. and I 10 years post treatment. Are you having any problems with your teeth?
best wishes,

charles55's picture
Posts: 87
Joined: Aug 2010

James, all these posts show that everyone is different. I am three years post treatment and still cannot do spicy. Nor alcohol, and did so enjoy a timely glass of wine or beer. I have to believe it is basically due to scarring of the nerves (neuropathy) from the radiation. My ENT say this kind of scarring forms and reforms over 10~12 years. I guess the ride is never really over.

james chambliss's picture
james chambliss
Posts: 70
Joined: May 2010

We are truly all different, but i like to think for me that it will all heal in time. I think as long as we stay positive, good things will come and if it doesn't change. Well that's life. I do love having hope, it's a key element in healing i believe. I hope that someday you can have that glass of wine or beer. I don't drink, but i did have a non alcoholic beer a few days ago, it wasn't that bad. A little different at first, but my body seem to adjust. I figure, i will try things every few months and see where i am at. No matter what though, i will enjoy my life until it ends. Hopefully that will be a long time from now.



Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi James

As soon as your treatment is finish your body will start the healing process for some it takes longer and other heal faster. For me it took me a little over two years before I could eat food with any king of spicy again. I grow my own Habanera Peppers and love the taste of it now but before it was a killer.

ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

About one year post here for BOT. I just made up a batch of shrimp cevichi with two jalepenos diced in it and can barely taste them. Next time I'm adding three. I think a habenero would kill me though.

friend of Bill
Posts: 87
Joined: Mar 2010

taken 23 months but can do almost all spicy except the smokin hot variety. Lips still a little sensitive but mouth and throat vastly improved!


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