Controlling Nausea and Vomiting

Controlling Nausea and Vomiting

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Controlling Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea is when you feel like throwing up. Vomiting is actually throwing up. Nausea and vomiting can happen because of problems in your digestive tract or your nervous system. Or they can happen because of problems affecting your entire body.

The most common causes of nausea and vomiting are:

  • Stomach flu (gastroenteritis)

  • Drugs

  • Poisons

Nausea and vomiting are also common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Side effects happen when treatment affects some normal cells, as well as cancer cells. In this case, the cells lining your stomach and the part of your brain that controls vomiting are affected.

Call your health care provider

Contact your doctor right away if you have:

  • Nausea or vomiting that lasts for 24 hours or more

  • Trouble keeping fluids down

Man holding glass of water, preparing to take pill.Medications can help

Nausea or vomiting can often be prevented or controlled with medicines (antiemetics). Your doctor can give you antiemetics before or after treatment.

Eating tips

  • If you have medicines to control nausea, take them before meals as directed.

  • Avoid fatty or greasy foods while you feel nauseated.

  • Eat small meals slowly throughout the day.

  • Ask someone to sit with you while you eat to keep you from thinking about feeling nauseated.

  • Eat foods at room temperature or colder to avoid strong smells.

  • Eat dry foods, such as toast, crackers, or pretzels; cool, light foods, such as applesauce; and bland foods, such as oatmeal or skinned chicken.

Other ways to feel better

  • Get a little fresh air. Take a short walk.

  • Talk to a friend, listen to music, or watch TV.

  • Take a few slow, deep breaths.

  • Eat by candlelight or in surroundings that you find relaxing.

  • Use a technique, such as guided imagery, to help you relax. Imagine yourself in a beautiful, restful scene. Or daydream about the place you’d most like to be.