Coping With Chemo-Related Nausea And Vomiting

The drugs that your oncologist prescribes for use during your chemotherapy treatment can make you feel nauseous or cause vomiting. While nausea and vomiting are common side effects of the drugs, some people have a hard time coping with them. It's likely that your oncologist will prescribe a medication to help prevent these symptoms. However, there are several things that you can do to make coping with chemo-related nausea and vomiting easier.

Eating and Drinking

When you're experiencing chemo-related nausea and/or vomiting, eating is challenging. It's important to avoid eating heavy foods that are greasy or have a high fat content, because they aren't as easy to digest. Citrus or acidic foods may also wreak havoc on your stomach, so you might want to avoid them completely. Instead, fill up on fresh veggies, grains, and lean meats.

If you allow yourself to become overly hungry, you're more likely to feel nauseous. So, you should consider eating small amounts more frequently instead of consuming two or three large meals each day. Because you go without eating for a long time at night, it's common to wake up feeling nauseous. Eating dry foods in the morning, such as cereal, toast, or crackers, without any liquids, can help curb any nausea that you have.

It's important for you to stay hydrated, so you need to drink fluids throughout the day. However, this can be difficult if you're prone to bouts of vomiting. Sipping your drink slowly can help prevent you from throwing it up. Also, avoid drinking while you eat if you have trouble holding your food down.

Relax After Eating

What you do after you eat can make a huge difference in the way you feel. For example, if you exercise right after eating, it can slow down your body's digestion process and increase any discomfort that you're experiencing. After you eat, you should take some time to rest. However, you don't want to lay flat on your back. Instead, sit up or recline with your feet up; keeping your head elevated can help prevent vomiting and nausea. If you do feel nauseous, try putting on loose clothing and sitting outside for a while. You'll feel less restricted in looser clothing, making it easier to relax, and the fresh air will help eliminate the nausea.

Avoid Strong Scents

Nausea and bouts of vomiting can strike at any time of day — not just meal times. To help ensure you feel well throughout the day, avoid strong odors as much as possible. You might find that your sense of smell seems heightened, and scents that didn't bother you before chemotherapy can quickly become a problem. So, consider purchasing unscented personal hygiene products, staying away from the kitchen when someone is cooking a big meal, and avoiding strong-scented air fresheners and candles. Keep in mind, when your body is relaxed, you're less likely to feel nauseous or vomit. So, using scented candles or essential oils in relaxing scents, such as lavender or peppermint, may be beneficial. However, you should try exposing yourself to the scent slowly to make sure you can tolerate it.

The cancer treatment process isn't always easy. Chemotherapy can make you feel sick. However, talking to your oncologist to create a prevention plan, taking anti-nausea medication, and paying attention to the way your body reacts to specific triggers can help you cope with any chemo-related nausea and/or vomiting you experience. Contact a company like Southwest Oncology Centers for more information.