August 01, 2019

Easing chemo-related nasal symptoms, naturally

Recent Mayo Clinic research indicates that dryness, tenderness, scabbing and bleeding of the nasal passages — known as nasal vestibulitis — is a much more common side effect of chemotherapy than previously thought, particularly with chemo involving taxanes and VEGF-related therapies. In addition, there's been little research to identify effective treatment options.

A nasal spray containing rose geranium in sesame oil has a track record of being an untested — but still used — way to reduce symptoms of nasal vestibulitis. That's why researchers at Mayo Clinic decided to put the nasal spray to the test — albeit a small, preliminary test. They surveyed 20 women who had received chemotherapy for breast cancer — and who had also used the nasal spray to try to reduce nasal vestibulitis symptoms.

Nearly all women used the spray daily or multiple times a day. Among them, 11 experienced a moderate benefit, six experienced a dramatic benefit and two respondents reported a complete resolution of symptoms. There were a couple of complaints about the product being oily and messy to apply, but the product didn't cause any side effects and appears to be safe.

Mayo Clinic doctors suggest asking your health care team about a trial of rose geranium in sesame oil if you have chemotherapy-induced nasal discomfort. The Mayo Clinic Pharmacy specially compounds the non-prescription oil mixture used in the study. Ask your health care team for help locating a pharmacy that can compound the formula for you.