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Nausea and Vomiting

Many people fear that chemotherapy will make them feel sick or cause them to be sick to their stomach. Nausea is when you feel sick to your stomach, like you are going to throw up. Vomiting is when you throw up. It may occur while you are on chemotherapy, right after, or many days or hours later. Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of some chemotherapy medications and the most feared. Luckily, anti-nausea medications have been developed to prevent or lessen nausea and vomiting. These are called anti-nausea or anti-emetic medications.

Fortunately, there are many anti-emetic medications available to help with nausea and vomiting. Different medications work for different people. If one anti-nausea medication does not work for you, continue to work with your healthcare team to find the medication or medications that will make you feel better.

It is important to take anti-nausea medications as prescribed. It is easier to prevent nausea than treat it once it happens. Anti-nausea medications often work best when they are taken before chemotherapy treatment and for a few days after. Sometimes they can have side effects of their own, such as sleepiness, general fatigue or problems with concentration. 

What you can do

  • Take anti-nausea medications to prevent or reduce nausea.
  • Try to relax in a quiet room before your treatment sessions.
  • Practice relaxation activities, such as yoga, imagery, or meditation. Talk to your doctor or nurse about these activities.
  • Schedule your treatment sessions for a time of day that is best for you.
  • Try acupuncture or acupressure treatments, helpful to some patients. Ask your doctor or nurse if this is right for you.
  • Eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than a few large ones.
  • Bland and soft foods are best tolerated. Stay away from fatty, sweet, or fried foods.
  • Eat foods cold or at room temperature.
  • Eating dry foods like cereal, toast, or crackers may help reduce nausea.
  • Following a meal, patients should remain in an upright position and engage in activities that distract them from thinking about nausea.
  • Try using wristbands designed to combat seasickness, which are available at many pharmacies and travel stores.
  • Ginger tea or soup may help reduce nausea.

Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
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