Managing nutritional concerns: nausea and vomiting

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Managing nutritional concerns: nausea and vomiting

Cancer treatment may result in nausea and vomiting. There are different causes of nausea and vomiting, such as irritation of the digestive tract, changes in brain chemistry and feelings of anxiety or nervousness related to treatment. Nausea is sometimes described as an unsettling or queasy feeling in the stomach and can be experienced with or without vomiting. Your doctor may prescribe several medications called antiemetics to help prevent and manage nausea and vomiting.1

Tips for people experiencing nausea and vomiting2,3

  • Prevention and early management of nausea and vomiting are most effective. Do not wait until you are very uncomfortable to take your nausea medication(s)
  • Take your medication(s) for nausea as instructed by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist
  • Take antiemetics (medication to decrease vomiting) as prescribed by your healthcare professional half an hour to an hour before meals
  • Call your doctor or nurse if your medication(s) are not reducing symptoms or you are continuing to throw up
  • Try to keep track of the times you experience nausea. This may help your doctor or nurse better suggest how to manage the side effects of your treatment
  • Having an empty stomach may make nausea and vomiting worse, so try to eat small, frequent meals (five to six times a day) instead of three large meals
  • Avoid foods with strong odours and foods that are greasy and/or spicy
  • Eat foods that should be easier on your stomach
  • Try drinking fluids half an hour before or after meals as some people find consuming drinks with their meals can make their nausea worse
  • Try ginger beer and ginger biscuits

More information is available at Macmillan Cancer Support

Contact your doctor if you are still experiencing nausea or vomiting even after taking your antiemetic(s), are unable to eat or drink or are losing weight.

References

  1. Nausea and Vomiting. Cancer.net.. Accessed June 2019.
  2. Elliot, L. Symptom Management of Cancer Therapies in Lesser M, Ledesma N, Bergerson S, Trujillo E, eds. Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice. Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 2013. pg 119.
  3. Macmillan Cancer Support. Nausea and Vomiting. 2019.. Accessed June 2019.

The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a medical professional. All decisions regarding patient care should be made with a medical professional.