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Nausea and Vomiting

During your treatment, you may feel mildly ill, be overcome by nausea, or have bouts of vomiting (also referred to as “emesis”). These side effects can occur before, during, right after, and days after you receive your chemotherapy. The cause can be the cancer itself or its treatment.

Tell your care team if you experience nausea or vomiting. They can prescribe one of the many medications developed to help stop nausea and vomiting. Also, tell your doctor if you have a history of a weak or nervous stomach, motion sickness, or nausea in response to stress or trauma. Sometimes these conditions heighten your susceptibility to nausea and vomiting.

Be aware that different medications work for different people, and that you may need more than one to get relief. Do not give up. Do not accept nausea as something you have to tolerate. Keep working with your care team until you find the medication or combination of medications that work best for you.

The following are some tips that may help you manage nausea and vomiting:

  • Breathe deeply and slowly if you start to feel nauseated.
  • Avoid big meals; instead, eat small meals throughout the day.
  • Stay away from sweet, fried, and fatty foods.
  • Eat foods cold or at room temperature to avoid cooking odors.
  • For morning nausea, eat dry foods like toast or crackers before getting out of bed. (Do not do this if you have mouth or throat sores or lack saliva.)
  • Drink cool, clear, unsweetened fruit juice, such as apple or grape, or light-colored sodas that have lost their fizz, such as flat ginger ale.
  • Wear loose clothing – this is surprisingly helpful.
  • Try ginger tea, fresh ginger, and pickled or candied ginger.
  • Get your mind off the nausea by exercising, taking a walk, talking, listening to music, or watching TV.
  • Use relaxation techniques (with or without music or visual imagery).
  • Sleep during periods of intense nausea.

Remember, when you experience side effects, it is important to contact Texas Oncology first before going to an emergency room or urgent care clinic.