Managing Treatment-Induced Fatigue
Last updated: February 2022
The most common side effect of hepatitis C treatment is fatigue. When I underwent treatment, I referred to it as "battle fatigue." Energy levels often fluctuate throughout treatment and recovery. I personally found several ways to deal with fatigue.
Having the right attitude
Attitude is like the steering wheel of our emotions. I found my "in look" (attitude) helps my outlook, which helps influence how I deal with a problem. When you’re in treatment, the goal is to eliminate the hepatitis C virus by being cured. We all want to cross the finish line of treatment, stand on the podium with a gold medal around our neck testifying that we’ve won–that we’re cured. When I completed treatment, I crossed the finish line. In reality, I felt like I crawled across the finish line due to battle fatigue. Nonetheless, I finished treatment.
Tips for dealing with fatigue
Here is some advice from my hepatologist to help with fatigue during treatment and recovery:
- Drink a plenty of water during treatment and recovery. At least 64 ounces a day. Water hydrates you, flushes your system, and helps with fatigue.
- Stay out of the heat. While in treatment and recovery, the summer heat is a zapper and makes the fatigue worst.
- If your doctor approves, take a daily B-12 supplement.
- Take rest stops throughout the day. Don’t push yourself too hard. Listen to your body. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep at night.
- Mild exercise (like walking, even just for 10 to 15 minutes) can help. Stretching exercises can help relieve muscle tension and often help boost energy.
- Communicate with your doctor and let them know what side effects you are experiencing. Blood tests can show if you're anemic. If so, there are steps to help.
- Eat well. Small meals and healthy snacks eating something every 2 hours helps keep blood sugar levels even.
- Laughter helps lift the spirits and release’s endorphins in the brain, which help us feel better physically. Try watching some funny movies.
- Visiting friends and family. Sometimes the best medicine is getting your mind on something else. When I was on treatment, I found a phone call or visit with someone did wonders to help me feel better.
Focus on the finish line!
When treatment is completed, your body is in the recovery phase. Fatigue is the last side effect that lingers often into recovery. The good news is that fatigue starts getting better every week. You begin to feel revived with increased energy and stamina.
Keep up with fatigue busting tips to help you during recovery. And remember this, your body has been fighting hepatitis C and under treatment, give yourself a break. Be patient in the process. Take good care of yourself. Your body and liver needs time to rebuild and refresh.