nausea and vomiting

Feeling Queasy?

Nausea and vomiting occasionally occur when you are receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.  The amount and degree may vary depending upon your disease and the type of treatment and medication that you receive.

Here’s how you can help with this difficult symptom:

  • Take anti-nausea medicine as prescribed even if you don’t feel nauseated. If you have medication to take only when you need it, take it at the first sign of nausea. Lie down and wait for the medicine to take effect.
  • Eat frequent, small meals and try to keep something in your stomach at all times. Don’t skip meals. Nausea is more likely to occur on an empty stomach.
  • Keep your mouth fresh tasting. Do mouth care prior to meals.
  • Avoid greasy or fatty foods as well as very sweet foods.
  • Many people cannot tolerate meat while they are receiving chemotherapy. Some people do better with chicken or fish than beef. Other good sources of protein are eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, nut butters, whole grains, yogurt, soy products and cheese.
  • Have liquids 30-60 minutes before or after meals, rather than with meals.
  • Try not to confuse nausea and heartburn because different medications are needed for each condition.
  • Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
  • Rest after meals with your head slightly elevated.
  • Cold foods may be more appealing than hot ones, since they have fewer smells associated with them.
  • Let friends and family help with meal planning. Suggest single portions labeled and placed in your freezer that you can heat up for meals. Reduced cooking time will decrease cooking odors that sometimes make you even less hungry.
  • Dry crackers and toast will help when you are nauseated. Foods high in complex carbohydrates (breads, pasta, potatoes, and rice) are easy to tolerate and will take longer to digest. Blue corn meal (atole) is another easy to tolerate carbohydrate.