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What’s Good For Chemo Nausea?

Make nausea more manageable.

“You may experience nausea (feeling like you might throw up) and vomiting (throwing up) after your last chemotherapy treatment. It should go away in 2 to 3 weeks.” – source: mskcc.org

Many cancer organizations share their tips on coping with nausea during chemotherapy. We’ve curated a list of all the best tips. Oh, and you can submit your tips or add comments to tips submitted by others.   

#1 Take an anti-nausea medicine

"Talk with your doctor or nurse to learn when to take your medicine. Most people need to take an anti-nausea medicine even on days when they feel well. Tell your doctor or nurse if the medicine doesn’t help. There are different kinds of medicine and one may work better than another for you." - source: cancer.gov

"Prevent nausea by taking the antinausea medication prescribed by your doctor. Please follow the directions. Some medications are given to prevent nausea while others are prescribed to treat nausea." - source: virginiacancer.com

"If nausea occurs in the days/ weeks following treatment, it may be helpful to take an anti-nausea medication about 30 minutes before meals." - source: oncolink.org

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#2 Try these tips on treatment days

"Some people find that it helps to eat a small snack before treatment. Others avoid eating or drinking right before or after treatment because it makes them feel sick. After treatment, wait at least 1 hour before you eat or drink." - source: cancer.gov

"If your chemotherapy is the kind that takes several hours rather than a few minutes, bring a light meal or snacks with you. Your treatment center should have a refrigerator and microwave available for your use." - source: uwhealth.org

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#3 If the nausea only happens between meals

"If the nausea only happens between meals, keep something in your stomach. Eat frequent, small snacks throughout the day. Snack ideas include smoothies, trail mix, and fruit." - source: cancer.org

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#4 Morning nausea

"For morning nausea try eating crackers or toast before you get up." - source: stanfordhealthcare.org

"If you wake up feeling sick, eat a dry biscuit or slice of toast rather than skipping food." - source: cancercouncil.com.au

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#5 Using marijuana to relieve nausea

"You might be curious about using marijuana to relieve nausea and vomiting. Doctors do not yet have enough evidence to recommend it as a treatment. But you can take medicines called dronabinol (Marinol or Syndros) and nabilone (Cesamet). They are synthetic forms of cannabis, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved them as medicines. You might try these if other anti-nausea medicines do not work well for you." - source: cancer.net

"Cannabinoids. These medications contain a purified form of the active ingredient found in marijuana. For a number of years, doctors have prescribed dronabinol tablets as an anti-vomiting drug. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved nabilone (Cesamet) tablets, which can control CINV in cancer patients who have not been adequately helped by other anti-nausea medications. Like marijuana, dronabinol and nabilone can cause sedation (relaxation or sleepiness) and mood changes." - source: cancercare.org

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#6 Avoid strong odors

"Avoid fried foods, or foods with a strong smell"
"Eat cold or warm food if the smell of hot food makes you feel sick." - source: macmillan.org.uk

"Try to have others prepare your meals." - source: oncolink.org

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#7 Eat every two hours

"Eating every two hours may help patients feel better, alleviate their nausea and boost energy levels." - source: cancercenter.com

"Eating at the time or times of day when you feel best. If nausea tends to strike in the mornings, eat less or nothing, and wait until later. If you know you tend to get more nauseated at dinnertime, try to eat more in the earlier hours of the day." - source: lbbc.org

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#8 Sit up after eating

"lying down after meals may disrupt digestion." - source: breastcancer.org

"Rest after meals. Do not lie flat. Instead rest in a chair for one to two hours after meals." - source: allinahealth.org

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#9 Eat small amounts of food

"Eat small amounts of food all day long, so you don’t feel full too quickly." - source: breastcancer.org

"Eat 6 small meals throughout the day, instead of 3 large meals." - source: oncolink.org

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#10 Try bland, soft, easy-to-digest foods

"Try bland, soft, easy-to-digest foods. It may be best not to eat your favorite foods when you are nauseated." - source: dana-farber.org

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#11 Drink slowly or sip liquids throughout the day

"Drink fluids throughout the day like water and juices.  Many persons on chemotherapy need to drink at least two quarts of fluids per day.  Ask your doctor or nurse if this applies to you.  Also, if you are vomiting it is important to replace the fluids lost to avoid getting dehydrated."

"Avoid drinking liquids at meals." - source: chemocare.com 

"Drink slowly or sip liquids throughout the day. Use a straw if necessary." - source: stanfordhealthcare.org

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#12 Keep the mouth clean

"Keep the mouth clean by rinsing with club soda before and after meals and especially after vomiting. Remove dentures or partial dentures on chemotherapy treatment days. Sometimes objects in the mouth can make a person feel like vomiting. Brush the teeth at least twice a day to help reduce unpleasant tastes that can make a person feel nauseated." - source: cancer.ca

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#13 During meals

"Avoid unnecessary stimulation or excitement during meals. Try a cool, well ventilated environment with less noise and light." - source: allinahealth.org

"Try chewing food slowly and well" - source: bccancer.bc.ca

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#14 Relax and try to keep your mind off the chemotherapy

"Bring soothing music, relaxation tapes, or CD's, with you to chemo. Perhaps you would like to bring a funny movie to watch during chemotherapy and/or a friend or family member to keep you company." - source: chemocare.com

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#15 Keep a diary of when you feel nausea

"Keep a diary of when you feel nausea, how long it lasted, what you ate, and where you were. Your physician or nurse may need the information to help you better manage your symptoms." - source: stanfordhealthcare.org

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#16 Rubbing Alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)

"This is a technique that a post-surgical nurse taught me. When you are extremely nauseous take a cap full of rubbing alcohol and smell it. Do NOT snort it! Do NOT drink it! But take a few sniffs of the fumes, and it will immediately settle your nausea. This technique does not work for everyone, but for those whom it works, it does work extremely well." - source: ihadcancer.com

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#17 Consider complementary therapies

"Complementary and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and aromatherapy, may help you feel better when used in combination with medications from your doctor. Tell your doctor if you're interested in trying these treatments. He or she may be able to recommend a practitioner who works with people undergoing cancer treatments." - source: mayoclinic.org

"- Biofeedback. Biofeedback uses the mind to control a body function that the body normally regulates on its own, such as skin temperature, muscle tension, or heart rate.
- Guided imagery. This is a series of thoughts and suggestions that direct your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. This technique can help you mentally block the nausea and vomiting.
- Distraction. For example, kids getting chemotherapy may use a video game to help keep their mind off what is happening. This may also help mentally block the nausea and vomiting.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. This is a technique in which you learn to relax by tensing and then releasing different groups of muscles, one at a time.
- Self-hypnosis. A therapist can teach you to hypnotize yourself. Some people are able to learn from books."- source: uwhealth.org

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#18 Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing

"Clothing that is tight especially around the midsection can trigger nausea."
"Soft, comfortable fabrics tend to be more relaxing as well." - source: pearlpoint.org

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#19 Get fresh air

"Open the windows to keep fresh air flowing. Use an overhead fan to decrease cooking odors."
"Take walks (when you can) to get fresh air." - source: komen.org

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#20 Suck on hard candy

"Suck on hard candy, such as mints or tart candies." - source: mskcc.org

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#21 Anticipatory nausea and vomiting

"To avoid anticipatory nausea and vomiting, try to lie down in a quiet place for 15–30 minutes before treatment begins. Place a cool washcloth over the eyes just before receiving chemotherapy. Avoid sounds, sights and smells that cause nausea and vomiting." - source: cancer.ca

"Try to reduce nervousness and anxiety. If nausea and vomiting occur in anticipation of a visit to the doctor, or to receive a treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you may be experiencing “anticipatory nausea and vomiting”. This means that you have formed a connection in your mind between the event (seeing the doctor or receiving a treatment) and the nausea and vomiting. If this occurs, talk to your doctor or nurse, who will work with you to help prevent this from happening again." - source: virginiacancer.com

"Being relaxed while receiving chemo is important and can make a big difference in nausea and vomiting. This is one of the reasons why anti-anxiety meds are added. These meds should be taken around the clock after an infusion for full benefits possible." - source: ihadcancer.com

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#22 Best ways to prevent nausea from cancer treatment

"Constant queasiness during cancer treatment can take a toll. Try these tips for preventing nausea." - source: Mayo Clinic / Youtube

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#23 Anti sickness bracelets

"Some people wear stretchy bracelets on their wrists to help stop them feeling sick. These are called acupressure bracelets or Seabands." - source: cancerresearchuk.org

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#24 How to Manage Nausea During Chemotherapy

"How to Manage Nausea During Chemotherapy" - source: Memorial Sloan Kettering / Youtube

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#25 Prevent or treat constipation or diarrhea

"Be sure to prevent or treat constipation or diarrhea. Some patients will become nauseated when their bowel is distressed. Notify the doctor or nurses if you are having problems with either one." - source: virginiacancer.com

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