For Patients

Hydration: Part of the Cure

for-patients.pngDehydration affects all of society: patients, athletes, and everyday people. It occurs when you don’t drink enough fluid to compensate for fluid you use or lose. Most people don’t realize how easily this can happen: losing just 1-2% of body mass through fluid constitutes mild/moderate dehydration. For a 150lb adult, that equates to less than 3 lbs.

Dehydration is particularly common with exercise, hot weather, travel, and illness.  It occurs regularly when patients are undergoing treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, or oral drugs.  Surgeries and screening procedures, such as colonoscopies, cause dehydration as well.

Proper hydration is particularly difficult for cancer patients

because treatment side-effects such as vomiting and diarrhea not only increase fluid and electrolyte loss but can make fluid consumption more difficult and (let’s be honest) unappealing.

Many cancer patients find that they become very dehydrated after their chemotherapy sessions, particularly in the 48 hours after treatment.  The symptoms of dehydration can be confused with drug side-effects, making it hard for patients to know they need to hydrate.

Side effects are typical of commonly used chemotherapy agents and oral oncolytics. Source: manufacturer websites

When fluids are lost, critical electrolytes are lost as well.

  • Treatment side effects shed both fluids and electrolytes
  • Electrolyte replenishment is critical for recovery
  • Chemotherapy agents must be flushed out of cells for healing
  • Water alone will not replenish critical electrolytes


forpatients.pngORS should be part of a supportive care toolkit.

Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is specifically formulated for fast recovery from dehydration, and can be a critical and proactive part of a care plan. ORS is a medically accepted alternative to IV therapy for treating mild/moderate dehydration, so ORS can potentially help patients avoid trips to the infusion center solely for IV hydration. Sports drinks can actually worsen dehydration, as the body must pull water from the vascular system to digest the excess sugar, and in addition, they typically provide insufficient amounts of electrolytes. Even pediatric electrolytes are inferior to ORS for rehydration, which is why the WHO developed ORS and uses it to treat dehydration. H2ORS is proud to be a fully WHO compliant ORS.

Colorectal Cancer and Dehydration [PDF]