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Nausea & Vomiting

Good nutrition is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, but a cancer diagnosis can make keeping a healthy diet and proper eating habits difficult. Depending on the type of treatment, you may have side effects like nausea and vomiting.These side effects can impact your treatment course and your quality of life. If you are concerned about side effects that are impacting eating and overall nutrition, please talk to your doctor or dietitian for assistance. It is not unusual to only remember these physical symptoms because they are most evident. There are many medications available to effectively control, and even prevent these side effects.

Coping with Nausea or Vomiting

  • Try sucking on popsicles or ice chips.
  • Drink carbonated beverages that have lost their fizz (cola and ginger ale) to help settle your stomach.
  • Eat toast, crackers or gelatin.
  • Eat cool or warm (but not cold or hot) foods.
  • Avoid foods that are spicy, fried, fatty or have strong aromas.
  • Eat a light meal or snack before your treatment.
  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals during the day rather than 3 large meals.
  • Avoid foods with strong odors, those that are heavily spiced, or are very greasy or fried.
  • Try to relax before and during treatment by listening to music, meditating or practicing deep breathing exercises.
  • Understand how to take your antinausea drugs (antiemetics). You may take these drugs before your treatment and may also continue to take them for several days after treatment is over. 
  • Take your anti-nausea medicines as soon as you begin to feel sick to your stomach - don’t wait until your nausea is bad. You can also take the anti-nausea medicines before doing something that has made you feel sick before, such as before eating or riding in the car.
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you are having nausea so they can consider alternative antiemetic (anti-nausea) medications or different combinations of drugs.
  • Ask your doctor about acupuncture or acupressure. Some people find that it can assist in nausea relief.