Coping with Nausea and Vomiting From Chemotherapy
Tips for Coping
Food and drink tips:
- Eat and drink slowly.
- Drink small amounts throughout the day. Good choices include water, unsweetened fruit juices, such as apple or grape juice, and light-colored, decaffeinated sodas, such as ginger ale. Keep in mind you should drink sodas that have lost their fizz.
- Try to eat smaller meals spread throughout the day, instead of three big meals. Examples of foods that you may be able to tolerate well include: broiled or baked skinless chicken, cooked cereal, such as oatmeal, crackers, pretzels, pasta, white rice, and skinless, boiled potatoes.
- Chew your food well.
- Avoid sweet, fried, or fatty foods.
- Take a short rest after you eat, but avoid lying flat for at least two hours.
- Eat foods cold or at room temperature so you will not be bothered by strong smells.
- If nausea is a problem in the morning, try eating dry foods, such as cereal, toast, or crackers.
- Prepare and freeze meals in advance for days when you do not feel like cooking. You can also ask friends or family to cook meals for you.
Other home care tips:
- Try to avoid other strong odors, like tobacco smoke.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- If you are feeling nauseated, take deep breaths.
- Try to to get involved in enjoyable activities, like watching your favorite show or talking with friends.
- Try to take short walks outside. Light exercise will help clear your mind and boost your energy.
- Use relaxation techniques, like meditation.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Coping with nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. Cancer Care website. Available at: http://www.cancercare.org/pdf/booklets/ccc%5Fnausea%5Fand%5Fvomiting.pdf. Published 2008. Accessed March 5, 2014.
Managing chemotherapy side effects. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/chemo-side-effects/nausea. Updated February 2012. Accessed March 5, 2014.
Toxicities of chemotherapeutic agents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 11, 2014. Accessed March 5, 2014.
Understanding chemotherapy: a guide for patients and families. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003025-pdf.pdf. Accessed March 5, 2014.
What are common side effects. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/TreatmentTypes/Chemotherapy/UnderstandingChemotherapyAGuideforPatientsandFamilies/understanding-chemotherapy-common-side-effects. Updated March 17, 2011. Accessed June 25, 2012.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014 -
- Update Date: 00/30/2014 -