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How to Stop Nausea and Vomiting During Cancer Treatment

Updated on March 21, 2013
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and Vomiting | Source

Nausea and Vomiting During Cancer Treatments

When undergoing Cancer treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy a well known side effect is nausea, vomiting or both. Not only can the treatments themselves bring on these unpleasant side effects, but the stress, worry and anxiety can also cause individuals to feel physically sick in much the same way as a healthy person would feel if suddenly given very bad news.

During Cancer treatments it is very important that you build yourself up nutritionally and keep your strength at the maximum you can manage in order to help your body cope with the treatments you are undergoing. Unfortunately nausea and vomiting can reduce your appetite and make food seem very unappealing, resulting in patients failing to eat properly.

The following information could also help pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, as well as anyone who is experiencing problems with nausea and vomiting.

Please remember all of the advice here is not intended to replace consultation with a medical professional and should only be used in conjunction with such consultations. There are various medications that can be prescribed to help control nausea and vomiting.

Helpful Tips

  • Eat frequent small amounts of food that you enjoy.
  • Make sure that you take any anti-nausea medication that you have been prescribed whenever it is due. It your current medication is not effective consult your doctor or nurse so that they can consider either changing your dosage or your medication.
  • Don't allow yourself to become 'too hungry' as this in itself can make nausea worse.
  • Avoid rich, spicy and fatty foods because these may increase the feelings of nausea.
  • Snack on dry foods such as crackers, dry toast, bread sticks or plain biscuits such as 'Rich Tea', 'Morning Coffee' etc.
  • Foods or drinks containing ginger can reduce the feeling of an upset stomach.
  • Get plenty of fresh air, either from going for walks, opening plenty of windows or simply sitting in the garden (weather permitting).
  • The smells created from foods cooking can be enough to trigger strong feelings of nausea. With this in mind try avoiding cooking smells altogether by eating cold foods such as salads with cold meats, sandwiches, cheese and biscuits/crackers, cold desserts such as trifles, cakes etc. You can also reduce the smell of cooking foods by using the microwave, or by avoiding the kitchen during the time the food is cooking.
  • Drink cold clear fluids between meals rather than during mealtimes. Good choices include lemonade, squash, ginger ale and various fruit juices (avoid water if you are trying to build yourself up during or prior to Cancer Treatments).
  • Try to avoid lying down too soon after eating.
  • Speak to your doctor about 'Marinol' (dronabinol), which contains synthetic THC. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a naturally occurring chemical substance in the marijuana plant. Cancer patients have used marijuana medicinally to find relief from the pain, nausea, and loss of appetite that can be caused by treatment. (thanks to Ryan0123 for mentioning the THC in the comments section below).


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    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thank you Yaazhini, in articles like this I feel it is very important that the best possible message is 'out there' for those that need it most.

    • profile image

      Yaazhini 5 years ago

      Thank you for the informative hub. It was nice of you to take steps to ensure that your article does not fail in providing the necessary information. I appreciate your approach to suggestions.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      @ both Ryan and Sara, I have taken a gamble and added the info about THC to this article. If auto filters so unpublish this due to the mention of the actual drug's name I am pretty sure an appeal will result in the hub being republished. It is more important to get the info out there. Thanks for the suggestion and the information supplied by both of you.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks for that info ryan0123, I hope you are fully recovered now.

    • ryano123 profile image

      Elvis Jackson 5 years ago from All around the world!

      I've had cancer 4 times, and in 1998 during my bone marrow transplant I was given marinol, which is basically pharmaceutical grade THC. It worked like a charm!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      It probably does Sara, but whilst I personally have no issue with it, I suspect promoting it here would in some way trigger a filter with HP and get my hub unpublished. Even the use of the word in the hub could cause this problem.

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 5 years ago from Georgia

      I also hear that medical marajuana works.