Understanding Chemotherapy Nausea Control: What You Can Do To Help

Unfortunately, certain chemotherapy drugs can sometimes cause chemotherapy nausea and vomiting.  But as this is well documented there are many solutions to relieve these symptoms.

Drugs From Your Doctor

Your doctor can prescribe drugs which can prevent, lessen, or relieve the chemotherapy nausea and vomiting which may be associated with therapy.  Drugs won’t always prescribe straight away as everyone has different symptoms. This anti-sickness or anti-emetics which control nausea and vomiting are given in different ways, depending on symptoms.  For example, if you are unable to keep anything down, the drugs can be given through an I.V. catheter, a patch, rectally or under the tongue.

However, there are many things that patients with chemotherapy nausea and vomiting can do for themselves which can help them feel better.

Chemotherapy Nausea Eating Habits

Changing Eating Habits Can Help With Chemotherapy Nausea

Things To Try

  • If the smell of cooked or cooking food makes you feel sick, try to have cold or slightly warm food.
  • Several small meals and snacks each day instead of large portions can reduce the feeling of nausea.
  • Chewing food well can trick the stomach into thinking there is less in there and prevent nausea and vomiting.
  • You could try having small meals a few hours before treatment, but not just before.
  • Light, bland foods, such as plain toast or crackers, are better than rich food.
  • Eat before you get hungry.

Things To Avoid

  • Try not to fill your stomach with a large amount of liquid before eating.
  • Too much activity straight after eating can increase nausea.
  • Mixing hot and cold foods is not good when you feel sick.

We also recommend that you do not eat your favourite foods during the time you feel sick.  If you do, they will no longer be favourite foods as you could begin to associate them with nausea and vomiting.

Additions To The Diet Can Help

There are certain foods that can help with chemotherapy nausea:


Crystallised stem ginger on its own or adding freshly ground ginger to your favourite dishes, or to hot water or tea to make a soothing drink and are all documents to relieve nausea symptoms.

Sipping ginger ale can also help and has the double bonus of being a fizzy drink, which relieves symptoms also.


Peppermint is thought to slow down gut movement and therefore relieves nausea and vomiting.  That is why sucking mints or drinking peppermint tea can help.


Fresh or tinned pineapple chunks can help keep your mouth fresh and moist.

Dont Give Yourself A Hard Time If You Dont Want To Eat After Chemo

Removing Certain Foods From The Diet Can Help

It can help to avoid:

  • Fried and fatty foods.
  • Foods which smell strong.

Drinking Well Can Help

It’s always important to try to drink plenty, even if you can’t eat.  Small sips slowly through the day can help.

Try drinking:

  • Clear, sweet liquids, like fizzy drinks or fruit juice.
  • Ice cold or clear fluids.
  • Prune juice and hot drinks, which can help to make your bowels work if you are constipated.

Drinks to avoid include caffeine, orange and grapefruit juice, which may irritate your stomach.

Controlling Cancer Sickness: Cancer Research UK 

Nausea And Vomiting: Chemocare

Chemotherapy Induced Vomiting and Nausea: Macmillan

Further Reading

Suggestions For An Optimal Cancer Diet: Hoaxes and Myths Not Discussed

Shop For Chemo Gifts

How To Support Someone Going Through Chemo: Easy and Not So Easy Tips

Note:  We strongly encourage you to talk with your doctor about specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational.  It not a substitute for medical advice.

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