How to Relieve Nausea?

[tips from 18 reliable sources]

Looking for tips to relieve nausea? We’ve collected tips from reputable websites such as American Cancer Society, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Council NSW, Canadian Cancer Society, etc. to give you more information about how to relieve nausea and improving your daily life.

Treatment day


Anti-nausea medication

The best way to manage nausea and vomiting is to prevent them before they happen. Today’s anti-nausea drugs are very good at preventing and controlling nausea and vomiting. Your doctor should be able to find one that works for you. Don’t take any medications unless instructed by your doctor or nurse.
  • Prevent and relieve nausea by taking the anti-nausea medication prescribed by your doctor. Please follow the directions. Some medications are given to prevent nausea while others are prescribed to treat nausea.
  • anti-nausea medication – if nausea occurs in the days/weeks following treatment, it may be helpful to take an anti-nausea medication about 30 minutes before meals. Be sure that you fully understand your doctor’s and nurse’s instructions for taking anti-nausea medicines.
  • Prevent vomiting – Take your anti-nausea medicine at the first signs of nausea to help prevent vomiting.
  • During chemotherapy – notify your nurse or doctor if you feel nauseated so they can help mitigate it.

During treatment


What helps relieve nausea?

Vomiting and nausea must be managed during chemotherapy treatments because these side effects uncontrolled can interfere with the patient’s ability to receive treatments.
  • Avoid constipation – constipation may cause or add to your nausea, so Talk to your doctor or nurse about what you can take or do to help with constipation.
  • During times of severe nausea – take a slow deep breath through your mouth until the feeling passes.
  • Eat lightly before and after treatment – Eat a light meal or snack before your chemotherapy appointment so that you have something in your stomach because hunger can increase nausea.
  • Bring a light meal 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.
  • Suck on hard candy with pleasant smells, such as lemon drops, mints or ginger candy, to help get rid of bad tastes. (Don’t eat tart candies if you have mouth sores.)
  • Registered dietitian – Ask your nurse or doctor about proper nutrition, which is especially important at this time. Your health care team can recommend a registered dietitian to help guide you on food and health.

Calm is super power

  • Try to be calm and relaxed while receiving chemotherapy. It can make a big difference in nausea and vomiting. This is one of the reasons why anti-anxiety meds are added.
  • Taking your mind off your treatment can help you manage the sickness. Try these techniques to relax or distract yourself before chemotherapy (Guided imagery, Systematic desensitization, Progressive muscle relaxation, Music therapy)
  • Try to lie down in a quiet place for 15–30 minutes before treatment begins and place a cool washcloth over the eyes just before receiving chemotherapy.
  • Use simple distractions – 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.
  • Try talking to someone – Chatting can keep your mind busy and will help direct your thoughts away from feeling sick.
  • Remove dentures or partial dentures on chemotherapy treatment days, because sometimes objects in the mouth can make a person feel like vomiting.
  • When you are extremely nauseous take a cap full of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) and smell it. Take a few sniffs of the fumes, and it will immediately settle your nausea.
  • Focus on the positive – Know that each treatment is bringing you closer to the “finish.
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Lifestyle changes


What to do for nausea?

You can make some simple changes to your diet and daily routine that may help minimize nausea and vomiting.
  • Establish a pattern of eating meals and snacks at the same time each day and stick to this schedule, even when you are not hungry.
  • Spend less timein the kitchen cooking – Consider having meals delivered to your home or have lunch at a community or senior center.
  • Prepare meals ahead and freeze them for days you don’t feel like cooking and avoid eating or preparing food when you feel sick. Reheating causes fewer odors than cooking.
  • Don’t eat your favorite foods during this time – They will no longer be favorite foods if you begin to associate them with nausea and vomiting episodes. Avoid eating your favorite foods before chemotherapy so you don’t associate them with chemotherapy in the future.
  • Get fresh air – Open the windows to keep fresh air flowing and use an overhead fan to decrease cooking odors. Try to get outside and take walks (when you can).
  • If you can’t eat solid foods, try a liquid or powdered meal replacements and shakes.
  • Nutritional supplements are convenient and can help you get the extra calories and protein you need. Try a variety to find out which ones work best. Your doctor, nurse, or dietitian can help and may have samples for you to try.
  • If nutritional supplements taste too sweet or are too thick, try adding water or milk, drinking them over ice or flavoring them with fruit.

Nausea treatment at home

  • Some herbal products, like ginger, may help relieve nausea. However, you should discuss your plans with your health care team before starting any alternative or complementary treatments.
  • Be sure to brush your teeth – Keep your mouth clean and brush the teeth at least twice a day to help reduce unpleasant tastes that can make a person feel nauseated and especially after vomiting.
  • Rinse out your mouth and keep the mouth clean by rinsing with club soda. Rinse your mouth out frequently and before eating to avoid an unpleasant sour taste. Use a solution made up of one quart of plain water, half a teaspoon of table salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that doesn’t bind or add stress to your body.
  • Keep track your nausea during treatment – Be aware of when and what you eat and what triggers it (as to specific foods, events, surroundings). See if there is a pattern and if so, try to change that pattern.
  • Use plastic forks and spoons rather than metal ones, which may cause a bitter taste and metallic taste.
  • Be open with loved ones.Socializing with family and friends can be difficult during chemotherapy, particularly if it means going out for a meal. If you aren’t up for eating out, let them know. Suggest another activity, such as a movie or even a short visit at home.
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Eating


What’s good for nausea?

Eating well may seem to be an odd way to relieve nausea and vomiting, but it’s very important. As a cancer patient, you need nutritious foods to help you feel better, keep up your strength and energy, keep up your weight, and keep up your ability to fight infection and recover as quickly as possible.
  • Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day, instead of 3 large meals. Eat small frequent meals every few hours.
  • If you wake up feeling sick eat a dry biscuit or a slice of toast rather than skipping food.
  • Eat and drink slowly – Chew your food well to make it easier to digest.
  • Try to avoid constipation and dehydration – Either of these can make nausea worse. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating a high fiber diet and taking exercise can all help with constipation. You might need other medicines (laxatives) to help if your constipation continues.
  • Eat dry, bland foods such as crackers, toast, cereals, pretzels, dry cereal and ginger cookies without liquids especially first thing in the morning.
  • Meals and snacks – Chicken broiled or baked not fried, without the skin, crackers, toast, cream of wheat or rice cereal, noodles, oatmeal, potatoes—boiled, without the skin, pretzels, white rice and white toast.
  • Eat before you get too hungry.
  • Fruits and sweets – Angel food cake, canned fruit, such as peaches and  pears, fresh or tinned  pineapple chunks which helps to keep your mouth fresh and moist, gelatin (such as Jell-O®), popsicle and sorbet, yogurt (plain or vanilla) and sherbet.
  • Eat Soups (clear liquids) – Clear broth, such as chicken, vegetable, or beef.

Foods to eat during chemo nausea

  • Eat high calories food – Try small amounts of foods high in calories that are easy to eat (such as pudding, ice cream, sherbets, yogurt, and milkshakes) several times a day. Also use butter, oils, syrups, sauces, and milk in foods to raise calories. Keep high-calorie, high-protein snacks available.
  • If you find you cannot get enough calories in a day. Your physician may recommend commercially prepared liquid nutritional products such as Boost®, Ensure®, ReSource®, or NuBasics® for a short time until you feel better.
  • Try other protein sources such as fish, chicken, beans, and nuts, since many people develop a dislike for red meat and meat broths during treatment. Protein-rich meals may fight off nausea better than meals high in fat or carbs
  • Tart or sour foods may be easier to keep down (unless you have mouth sores).
  • Try ginger to help relieve nausea (Ginger tea, ginger lollipops, crystallized ginger, ginger biscuits or ginger beer) Real ginger, not ginger flavoring. Caution: ginger should be used with caution in people taking drugs that affect blood clotting, medications used to treat high blood pressure and diabetic medications. Consult your physician and/or pharmacist if you are uncertain whether this applies to you.
  • Keep crackers at your bedside – If your appetite is better in the morning, try to eat earlier in the day. If you feel nauseated in the morning, try snacking on crackers or toast before you get out of bed.
  • Eat in a seated or upright position If you need to rest after you eat, do not lie down. Sit up or recline with your head raised for at least one to two hours after a meal (watch TV, read a magazine, talk with a loved one, or enjoy your pet).

Drinking


A chemotherapy patient should drink at least two liters of fluids per day. Also, if you are vomiting it is important to replace the fluids lost to avoid getting dehydrated.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of uncaffeinated fluid per day so you don’t get dehydrated, such as broth, Gatorade®, Jello® (gelatin dessert), fruit juices, water ices, popsicles, flat soda and gingerale.
  • Sip fluids throughout the day, rather than trying to drink a lot at once. If drinking from a glass is distasteful, using a straw may limit feelings of nausea. Cool liquids may be easier to drink than very hot or very cold liquids.
  • Try peppermint to help relieve nausea – Some people find that peppermint helps with sickness. It is thought that it helps to slow down the gut. You can suck on mints, or drink peppermint tea.
  • Drink lemonade or lemon water
  • Drink Clear liquids as apple juice, white grape juice, cranberry juice, low salt broth, carbonated drinks.
  • Be sure that you are drinking enough fluids – Drinks that provide important electrolytes include Gatorade and Pedialyte, an over-the-counter solution made for infants that can be used by adults as well. If you find you cannot drink enough water and other fluids, your doctor may prescribe intravenous (IV) fluids.
  • Dehydration can worsen nausea – If your nausea is accompanied by vomiting, replace your lost fluids with electrolyte-rich fluids such as flat mineral water, vegetable broth or a sports drink.
  • Choose drinks that don’t have caffeine because caffeine can make you dehydrated.
  • Prune juice and hot drinks – They might help to make your bowels work if you are constipated.
  • Try freezing favorite beverages in ice cube trays. Sucking on ice cubes, ice blocks, ice chips or jellies can also increase your fluid intake.

Food and drink to avoid


  • Avoid foods that are fatty, spicy, fried, very greasy or very sweet.
  • Don’t force yourself to eat favorite foods. If the taste of certain foods has changed, don’t force yourself to eat them. Your sense of taste should return to normal after treatment ends.
  • Avoid acidic foods like vinegar salad dressings, tomatoes, and citrus fruit.
  • Don’t drink anything for at least 1 hour before and 1 hour after you eat.
  • Avoid gas-producing foods, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, green peppers, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
  • Stay away from foods with a strong odor, such as coffee, onions, garlic.
  • Avoid low-fat foods unless fats upset your stomach or cause other problems.
  • Avoid drinking liquids during meals which can fill you up and not allow you to get in needed calories. (Drink fluids 30 minutes before a meal rather than with the meal)
  • Excessive activity and sudden movements.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco

Surroundings and Environment


  • Limit sounds, sights, and unpleasant smells that make you feel sick.
  • Eat food cold or at room temperature to decrease its smell and taste. The smell of hot foods can make nausea worse.
  • Ask friends and family for help with shopping and preparing meals. Sometimes people want to help but simply do not know what they can do. Ask family and friends to provide meals on the day of and day after of each treatment.
  • Eat in a quiet, relaxed setting and wear loose fitting clothes. Avoid eating in a room that is stuffy and gets plenty of fresh air. Make the atmosphere more pleasant during mealtime by using colorful place settings, flowers, or background music. Arrange your plate attractively and garnish your food.

Caregivers


Family or friends can help in many ways when someone is feeling or being sick.
  • When the patient feels nauseated, offer to make meals or ask others to make meals to reduce bothersome food odors. Use kitchen vent fans to reduce smells.
  • Cover or remove foods with strong or unpleasant smells.
  • If the patient is vomiting over a period of days, weigh them at the same time each day to help decide if dehydration is getting severe.
  • Ask about medicines to help prevent vomiting.
  • Watch the patient for dizziness, weakness, or confusion.
  • Try to help the patient avoid constipation and dehydration. Either of these can make nausea worse.
  • Keep a record of when medications are due so that anti-emetics can be taken regularly and on time
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Complementary Therapies


Natural nausea relief

For many cancer patients, finding ways to manage the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal treatments is a great challenge. Most patients do not want to take more drugs and are looking for safe, health promoting solutions from natural medicine.
  • Guided visual imagery – Use relaxation techniques and guided visual imagery. Use your imagination to picture yourself in a calming scene — like a tranquil village by a lake. Imagine your stress drifting away from you like a boat sailing off on the current. This technique can help you mentally block the nausea and vomiting.
  • Systematic desensitization helps people learn how to imagine an anxiety-producing situation (such as nausea and vomiting) and reduce the anxiety related to the situation. In most cases, what a person can imagine without anxiety, he or she can then experience in the real world without anxiety.
  • Acupuncture is a form of Chinese traditional medicine that uses very thin needles to stimulate various pressure points around your body. Some studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Your doctor may refer you to a qualified acupuncturist.
  • Acupressure is similar acupuncture, but uses firm pressure instead of needles. You can also try acupressure. Constant pressure on the P6 point is used to prevent or relieve nausea. The P6 point is on the inner side of your arm, in line with your middle finger. It is close to your wrist, one-sixth of the distance between your wrist and elbow. You can press on your arm with a thumb or finger or try wearing wristbands (such as Sea-Bands) that press a plastic disc on the P6 point on each arm.

Nausea wristband

  • Sea-bands®(acubands) use the principle of acupressure, which is similar to acupuncture. They apply pressure to specific points on the body, usually the wrist, to control nausea. Some people find acubands helpful in reducing nausea. They are available from chemists and health food shops.

Natural treatment for nausea

  • 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. It teaches you how to control to control a certain physical response of the body, such as nausea and vomiting. It helps people reach a state of relaxation. Biofeedback alone has not been found to work as well as for nausea and vomiting as the combination of biofeedback and progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) teaches a person to relax by progressively tensing and releasing different muscle groups. It’s been used to decrease the nausea and vomiting caused by chemo. It’s also used to help with nervousness, pain, anger, headaches, and depression.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) has been shown in some studies to help the effect of anti sickness drugs.

Natural ways to relieve nausea

  • Hypnosis gets you into a state where you’re focused and open to suggestion. You can go to a hypnotist or use self-hypnosis to bring about changes in behavior.
  • Self-hypnosis can be used to make behavior changes to control nausea and vomiting. It creates a state of intense attention, willingness, and readiness to accept an idea. A therapist can teach you to hypnotize yourself. Some people are able to learn from books.
  • Music therapy – Specially trained health professionals use music to help relieve symptoms. Music therapists may use different methods with each person, depending on that person’s needs and abilities. There’s some evidence that, when used with standard treatment, music therapy can help to relieve nausea and vomiting due to chemo. It can lower heart rate and blood pressure, relieve stress, and give a sense of well-being.
  • Yoga uses a combination of breathing exercises, mediation, and poses to stretch and flex various muscle groups. It can also improve mood and physical well-being.
  • Meditation is a way for a person to learn to focus attention to calm the mind and relax the body. It decreases chronic pain and improves mood and other aspects of a person’s quality of life. There are many different types of meditation, such as focused meditation, open awareness/mindfulness, and compassion or loving-kindness meditation. Meditation can be self-taught or guided by others.
  • Massage can reduce pain, tension, and stress. It may also help with symptoms after surgery, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and fatigue.
  • Aromatherapy and Essential Oils to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being (anxiety, nausea, vomiting)

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