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Potential Side Effects from Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplants for Hodgkin Disease

Most of the short-term side effects of stem cell transplantation are from the high doses of 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

  • Infection

  • Low platelets

  • Bleeding

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Hair loss

  • Fever or chills

  • Shortness of breath

  • Tightness or pain in the chest

  • Low blood pressure

  • Coughing

  • Weakness

Some 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

  • Skin rashes with itching, 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 a possible side effect of allogenic transplants, but not autologous transplants

  • Lack of menstrual periods, which may indicate ovary damage and cause infertility

  • Weight changes

  • Vision problems, such as blurriness or cloudiness, caused by damage to the lens of the eye

  • Bone pain caused from damage due to lack of blood supply, called aseptic necrosis

  • Problems with metabolism caused by damage to the thyroid gland