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The early side effects of a stem cell transplant are mostly from the high-dose chemotherapy. These should go away as you recover from the transplant. You may also experience a strange taste in your mouth from the preservative used to freeze the stem cells. These are some common side effects:
Low blood cell counts, as seen on blood test results
Low blood pressure
Shortness of breath
Chest pain or tightness
Fever or chills
Loss of appetite
Side effects may be long lasting or appear years later. These are possible long-term side effects:
Shortness of breath, often caused by radiation damage to the lungs
Severe skin rashes with itching, yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, severe diarrhea, fatigue, and muscle aches. These symptoms may indicate graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a condition that occurs if the immune system cells in the donor’s stem cells attack your skin, liver, gastrointestinal tract, mouth, or other organs. This is only seen with allogeneic transplants.
Lack of menstrual periods, which may indicate ovary damage and cause infertility
Weight gain, which may be a sign of thyroid gland damage
Vision problems caused by damage to the lens of the eye
Bone damage, called aseptic necrosis, due to the lack of blood supply
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