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Living Now: Watch for early warning signs and tell your doctor

Tom, transplant recipient, with his doctor

Early treatment of GVHD, infections and other side effects from treatment can help you recover faster. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these signs or symptoms.

Whole body  

  • Fever or chills  
  • Bleeding  
  • Severe headache  
  • Confusion or decreased alertness  
  • Severe fatigue (tiredness)  
  • Chest pain  
  • Faster pulse, or feeling like your heart is “racing”  
  • Feeling light-headed  

Skin and nails  

  • Skin texture changes (thickening)  
  • Nail changes  
  • Rash  
  • Unusual hair loss or thinning  
  • Itchy skin  


  • Dry eyes  
  • Irritation that doesn’t go away  
  • Blurred vision  
  • Teary eyes  


  • Trouble opening your mouth  
  • Sores  
  • Irritation that doesn’t go away  
  • Chapped lips  
  • Pain  


  • Coughing  
  • Shortness of breath  
  • Trouble breathing  

Stomach/digestive system  

  • Nausea or vomiting  
  • Stomach pain and cramping  
  • Diarrhea  
  • Having pain with a bowel movement  
  • Blood in your stool  


  • Having to go to the bathroom (urinate) often  
  • Having pain with urination  
  • Blood in your urine  


  • Irritation or dryness  
  • Rash  
  • Painful vaginal sex  

Joints and muscles  

  • Arthritis-like symptoms (pain and stiffness)  
  • Muscle pain, cramps or weakness  

Not everyone experiences all of these warning signs, but many experience some of them. Many of the early warning signs for GVHD could also be caused by infection or another side effect. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your body.