Bone Marrow Transplant Side Effects
Stem Cell

Bone Marrow Transplant Side Effects

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What Are the Possible Side Effects of Bone Marrow Transplant?

A bone marrow transplant is used primarily for the treatment of various medical conditions including, but not limited to, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, among others.

But, what is used as a means to cure the person of such diseases can also pose a threat to their health as well as part of the side effects on stem cell treatments. What are the possible side effects of bone marrow transplants? Read on to educate yourself about this important matter.

Possible Side Effects of Autologous Transplants

Bone Marrow Transplant Side EffectsFor those of you who do not know, there are two primary bone marrow transplant procedures. The first one we’re going to talk about is the “Autologous” transplant. This method involves the extraction of stem cells from the patient’s body itself for use in transplantation later down the line.

The patient will receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy first just to condition the body to receive the transplanted bone marrow cells. Once this is done, the stem cells are then administered intravenously, much the same way as a blood transfusion.


Now, the possible side effects would be that your body is susceptible to infections due to the lower levels of white blood cells currently in your body.

Chemotherapy is used with the thought of killing cancer cells in the body. However, because of its potency, it also kills off other things in your body as well; this including your immune system.

Since you are pretty low in white blood cells after receiving chemotherapy, you are susceptible to the whims of viruses and bacteria that are either already present in your system or carried over from your environment.

To help treat you after the session, you will be given some antibiotics to possibly avoid contracting infections.

Other side effects of Autologous bone marrow transplants include mouth sores, fatigue, low platelet and red blood cell counts, headaches, etc.

Possible Side Effects of Allogeneic Transplants

The patient receives the same chemotherapy and radiation therapies to kill cancer cells. However, there are side effects that are only unique to this type of transplantation method.

The most popular side effect is known as the GVHD or the Graft Versus Host Disease. When your body receives the stem cells, they will be the one to create your new immune system. The new white blood cells that are created during the recovery process might attack the patient’s body and it can be fatal.

It can be considered acute or chronic. In acute GVHD, it happens within the first 3 months after the procedure. The physical symptoms that indicate that you have this type of GVHD are if you experience a combination of diarrhea, rashes, and Jaundice.

Bone Marrow Transplant Side EffectsFor Chronic GVHD, it usually happens more than 3 months after the process of transplantation. The difference between this and the previous type of GVHD is mainly the duration since, as you can tell by the name, the effects could be felt, possibly, for a lifetime.

The symptoms include dry eyes and mouth, liver irritation, low red and white blood cell count, among others.