When I ended chemo and radiation therapy, I had a painful side-effect to contend with--radiation burns. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with them knows the discomfort they produce. The burns will often cause lifting of the epidermis (the protective outside layer of skin) and often even the dermis (the second layer) can get lifted off as well.
Some folks get a good bit of relief from a product called Aquaphor. On the advice of the radiation team, I tried it. It’s an excellent moisturizer and very economical--inexpensive and a little goes a long way. But, although it helped, it didn’t help enough.
Since I’d been required to do daily, and even multiple-daily sitz baths, with Epsom salt added to the water. I continued them, but switched out my usual bath gel and replaced it with Dawn dish detergent. The reason? Dawn is the preferred soap of many animal rescue operations. It’s proven to be gentle enough to even bathe injured baby animals in need of not just a clean-up, but sometimes wound cleansing, too.
As I’d hoped, the blend didn’t cause any pain at all. It did the opposite. Soon as I was in the water, the burn discomfort stopped, even where I was missing some skin layers.
It gave me so much relief, I wished I could have slept in the tub, but since I don’t live alone and everyone here uses the bathroom, that wasn’t an option.
Still, as soon as I began the warm sitz baths laced with Dawn and Epsom salt, the healing began. It wasn’t overnight, but within only a few days my skin was much less sensitive and producing new skin.
It would have healed even faster if my clothing hadn’t been a near-constant abrasive. Even so, the baths worked wonders and I was totally healed up, with minimal scarring, in less than two weeks.
Silvadine cream was another option, but for me, the stuff was too much trouble to work with so I stuck with the sitz bath concoction.
In a follow-up appointment with my radiation therapy team, I passed along the results of the sitz baths. They were impressed and I’m hoping they’ll recommend it as an optional therapy for other radiation patients.
If you’re familiar with this blend and have perhaps used it for the same type of therapy, or even a totally different type, I’d love to read about it in the comments! Knowledge is power and sharing is caring.
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