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Coping with chronic GvHD

Chronic GvHD can be difficult to cope with. Find out more about how it might affect you and what support is available. 

How long does chronic GvHD last?

The length of time you have chronic GvHD can vary. A lot of people see a gradual improvement over a few months, but for some it can last longer. The average length of time you have chronic GvHD is between 1 and 3 years.

Coping emotionally with GvHD

Chronic GvHD can be very difficult to cope with, especially when you have been through such a lot of treatment. You may have been free of symptoms before your transplant. So dealing with long term, uncomfortable symptoms after your transplant can be hard to accept.

Getting back to work

You might find it difficult to return to work and get back to some sort of normal life again.

This can cause money worries on top of everything else, which can make you feel low or depressed.

Changes in your appearance

Chronic skin GvHD, steroid treatment, eye problems and weight loss can all affect how you look. They might also affect how you think other people see you.

This might affect your relationships, particularly sexual relationships. It might help to tell your partner how you’re feeling about yourself, and what your worries are.

Where to get help

Sharing your feelings with family, close friends, or the doctors and nurses caring for you can help.

Some people also find that counselling helps them to deal with their situation better.

Last reviewed: 
14 Nov 2017
  • Diagnosis and management of chronic graft-versus-host disease
    F Dignan and others
    British Journal of Haematology, 2012. Volume 158, Issue 1, Pages 46-61

  • Essential Haematology (7th edition)
    V Hoffbrand
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

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