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.
Medication for chemo nausea
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.
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.
Foods to eat during chemo nausea anti nausea
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.
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.
- 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.
Acupressure bracelets can help with the feeling of nausea, the most common of which are Seabands. These acupressure bracelets include a hard plastic stud that you position in the middle of the inside of your wrist. The aim of these bracelets is that the acupressure point on the inside of the wrist helps control the sickness. It is suggested that it calms the vomiting centre of the brain and reduce nausea.
Focus On Your Surroundings
- Try not to lay flat for at least two hours after eating.
- After eating rest by sitting up or reclining with your head elevated.
- Get fresh air after eating.
- Wearing loose clothing can be helpful.
- Exercising after eating can slow down digestion and increase discomfort.
- Try not to get over tired because you could find things more difficult to cope with when you are exhausted. If you can, relax and keep your mind off the chemotherapy. Bring soothing music, a funny film, relaxation tapes, or CD’s, with you to chemo, or even a friend
How To Cope Emotionally With Chemotherapy Nausea
Please don’t give yourself a hard time if you really don’t feel like eating for a few days after chemotherapy. You can still drink and it is important that you do. You can make up for lost calories in between treatments.
When To Contact Your Doctor
Nausea and vomiting can also be caused by medical conditions unrelated to chemotherapy. So please contact your doctor if:
- You continue to suffer from chemotherapy-based nausea and vomiting despite taking anti-nausea medications.
- Nausea consistently interferes with your ability to eat.
- You have been vomiting 4-5 times in a 24 hour period.
- There is pain or you have a swollen stomach before nausea and vomiting occurs.
- You feel bloated.
Our Chemo Gifts
Most of our gift hampers are suitable for people who suffer from chemotherapy nausea. In many gift boxes, we provide peppermint tea, ginger teas or crystallized ginger. We also provide water bottles and acupressure bands in most of our deluxe and chemotherapy gifts. Comforting items are also supplied such as hand warmers and bed socks for cold hands and feet which can be another chemotherapy side effect.
Changing Eating Habits To Relieve Chemotherapy Nausea Symptoms
Things to try to relieve chemotherapy nausea symptoms
- Try to have cold or slightly warm food.
- Have several small meals and snacks each day instead of large portions.
- Chew food well.
- Have small meals a few hours before treatment.
- Eat light, bland foods, such as plain toast or crackers.
- Eat before you get hungry.
- Fill your stomach with a large amount of liquid before eating.
- Have too much activity straight after eating.
- Mix hot and cold foods.
- Don’t eat your favourite foods during the time you feel sick.
We strongly advise you to talk with a health care professional about specific medical conditions and treatments. The information on our site is meant to be helpful and educational but is not a substitute for medical advice.
Dr Cohen started her working life as a research scientist and lecturer with over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
She followed a classical scientific career until she left mainstream science in 2000 (which coincided with the birth of her first daughter) to establish the Life Science Communications company, Euroscicon Ltd.
Euroscicon Ltd was her first company (which she sold in 2016).
In 2013 Dr Cohen was diagnosed with Cancer and set up Cancer Care Parcel which provides appropriate gifts for people with cancer.
Dr Cohen is the lead scientific advisor at Optimised Healthcare. A medical profiling company which provides advanced disease prediction, prevention and wellness optimization services.
She also works with and establishes businesses and charities which benefit local, national and international communities.