How Long After Chemo Does Appetite Return (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 6 weeks

Chemotherapy, most commonly known as chemo, is a therapy where certain drugs destroy the rapidly dividing cancer cells. Therapy is more common nowadays since a change in lifestyles has caused many to suffer from this deadly disease.

Powerful chemicals and drugs are used to get rid of the cancer cells, which many a time causes loss of appetite (when you don’t feel hungry, have no taste for food) in many patients. This is caused due to the medicines used, feeling of tiredness, pain in the throat. It is really important to know when the appetite will return as the body is already weak and is in dire need of good/nutritional food.

How Long After Chemo Does Appetite Return?

It takes around 2 to 6 weeks for your appetite to become normal once the chemotherapy treatment has been stopped. Also, the doctors might provide you with certain medications to improve your appetite.

The change in appetite is not permanent which is a point of relief. It mainly depends on the types of medicines you are given, the amount of the medicines, and the time gap of taking the medicine.

Loss of appetite is a major concern for many as the body has already become weak after the therapy. It needs energy and nourishment which can be provided only by the food. Eating well helps in feeling better, storing up strength and energy, correct weight, speed up the healing process.

Now that you know all about the loss of appetite and the time duration during which the appetite will return, you must also know about some of the other symptoms of the therapy and how to deal with them.

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Fatigue or the feeling of getting tired is very common but the reason is not known yet. Short walks and a bit of exercise will cure it. The issue of diarrhea can be cured by eating food that has lower fiber content. In case of changes in the nervous system, you must contact the doctor.

TherapyTime (For Appetite Return)
Therapy/Medications stopped 3 weeks after chemo
Therapy stopped but medication ongoing6 weeks after chemo

Why Does Appetite return So Long After Chemo?

Loss of appetite is a common symptom caused after chemo-therapy. And it becomes normal only after it has been 2-6 weeks of stopping the therapy. This lasts for so long because of the medications and the effect of the strong chemical and drugs used in the therapy sessions.

Change of metabolism, or sometimes, enlargement of spleen or liver puts a force on stomach and creates a feeling of fullness. These changes take time of about 2-5 weeks to get back to normal. That is why appetite returns so long after chemo.

The loss of appetite also results from medication’s side effects, which are nausea, loss of smell, vomiting, and many more. However, there are certain ways by which, you can improve this appetite loss. One of the hacks which you can follow to fight off this appetite loss is breaking your meal intake into 5-6 parts.

Spices and herbs will be your great friend during this journey of appetite regain. Eat a small quantity after every few hours. Set up a daily schedule for your eating time. Instead of taking solid foods, try to have smoothies, juices, and shakes. Try doing some light exercise and staying active, making you tired and make you feel hungry.

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Fight off nausea by taking ginger, lavender, lemon, or peppermint. This will ease down your stomach. Say hello to your favorite food for some time duration. It’s okay to take high-calorie, high-fat food. The main thing is to eat.

Conclusion

Chemotherapy affects a person’s appetite in a lot of ways. The food tastes different or the sourness and bitterness may be more profound. Sometimes the patient also experiences a metallic taste. This causes loss of appetite which lasts throughout the duration of therapy sessions.

The appetite will return to normal only after it has been 2-6 weeks after the therapy session has stopped. This means that the loss of appetite is not permanent. You can try taking your favorite food or some sort of juices and smoothies till then. What’s important is to eat and eat and provide energy to your body.

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References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1191/0269216302pm593oa
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0277537983904182