The short term side effects that may happen during pelvic irradiation

  • Skin reactions: The skin being irradiated may become red, dry and itchy. Towards the end of treatment, the skin sometimes becomes moist and sore, and there may be breaks in the skin, especially around the back passage and the groin areas.
  • Urinary Bladder: Burning sensations during urination, increased frequency during day and night times.
  • Bowl: Loose motions, mild to moderate abdominal cramps.
  • Ovaries: Pelvic radiotherapy stops the ovaries producing eggs . As a result, you won’t be able to get pregnant.
  • Possible hair loss in the treated area.
  • Radiotherapy often makes you feel tired, especially towards the end of the course of treatment. The tiredness continues after the treatment has finished and may last for a few months.
  • While on treatment you will be seen weekly by your doctor, who will help you to manage the side
    effects if they occur.

How to avoid the severity of these reactions:

  • Wear loose fitting clothes preferably cotton.
  • Avoid wearing under wear during treatment.
  • Avoid rubbing your skin in case of itching.
  • You can take bath daily, use soft cotton towel to dry the area, gently dry by pressing the area, don’t rub.
  • Avoid using talcum powder, shower gel or any scented products on the treated area, as these can irritate the skin.
  • You are allowed only Johnsons baby powder at the irradiated site to keep the area dry.
  • Drink at least 2–3 litres of fluid a day – urine that’s concentrated irritates the bladder and makes symptoms worse, so drinking more reduces these symptoms.
  • Eat fibrous diet .
  • Don’t shave, wax or use hair removal creams until a few weeks after radiotherapy is over and any skin reaction has healed.
  • Pain medicines can be used according to doctor’s advice in case of pain and discomfort.