Dealing with Nausea and Vomiting
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Dealing with Nausea and Vomiting

  • Sunday, 14 February 2010 02:24

Whatever the cause (the Cancer itself, the cancer therapy, other related conditions), Nausea and vomiting can prevent cancer patients from taking sufficient food and nutrients. There are now a range of drugs, called antiemetics, that can make a marked difference on this side effect of cancer and that can often prescribed at the beginning of the treatment, however you can help control your nausea with a nourishing diet and prevent vomiting.

Here are some ideas that can help you deal with nausea and vomiting.

Try foods that are easy on your stomach, such as:

  • toast, crackers, and pretzels
  • yoghurt
  • rice, boiled potatoes, noodles
  • skinned chicken that is baked or grilled, not fried
  • canned peaches or other soft, bland fruits and vegetables
  • clear liquids
  • ice cubes
  • carbonated drinks

Limit foods that:

  • are fatty, greasy, or fried
  • are very sweet, such as cookies or cake
  • are spicy or hot
  • have strong odours

Other general hints and tips

  • Eat small amounts, often and slowly.
  • Eat dry foods such as crackers, breadsticks, or toast throughout the day.
  • Eat before you get hungry, because hunger can make feelings of nausea stronger.
  • If nausea makes certain foods unappealing, then eat more of the foods you find easier to handle.
  • Avoid eating in a room that's stuffy, too warm, or has cooking odours that might disagree with you.
  • Drink fewer liquids with meals. Drinking liquids can cause a full, bloated feeling.
  • Slowly drink or sip liquids throughout the day. A straw may help. Cool or chilled drinks may be more tempting.
  • Have foods and drinks at room temperature or cooler. Hot foods may add to nausea.
  • Don't force yourself to eat favourite foods when you feel nauseated. This may cause a permanent dislike for those foods.
  • Food or drink containing ginger may help e.g. crystallised ginger, ginger biscuits.
  • Rest after meals, because activity may slow digestion.
  • It's best to rest sitting up for about an hour after meals.
  • If nausea is a problem in the morning, try eating dry toast, crackers or a plain biscuit before getting up.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • If nausea occurs during Radiotherapy or Chemotherapy, avoid eating for 1 to 2 hours before treatment.
  • Try to keep track of when your nausea occurs and what causes it (specific foods, events, surroundings). If possible and if it helps, change your diet or schedule. Share the information with your doctor or nurse.
  • Rinse out the mouth before and after eating, or suck on hard sweets such as peppermints or lemon drops if the mouth has a bad taste.

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