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Tips to Manage Nausea During Chemotherapy Treatment

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Updated November 23, 2011

Nausea is one the most common side effects of chemotherapy. It can also be one of the most miserable ones. Although nausea may seem like a harmless side effect of chemotherapy, it can lead to a loss of appetite. In turn, a loss of appetite can result in dehydration, which can be serious. Nausea can be common for someone undergoing chemotherapy, but pleae note that not all people will experience it. Several measures can be taken to relieve nausea through dietary changes and anti-nausea medication.

Tips for Managing Nausea During Chemotherapy

1. Eat small meals throughout the day. It is easier to keep down small amounts of food when you are nauseated than a large amounts, even when you feel really hungry. Wait until the nausea has passed before attempting to eat larger amounts.

2. Do not eat fatty, greasy foods right before or during treatment. Fatty and greasy foods are often difficult to digest in the first place, let alone with bouts of nausea. Plus, another goal is to keep the food you eat down, and greasy foods can often make nausea worse, leading to vomiting.

3. Rest after eating, but do not lay completely flat. Try laying in an upright position or in a recliner. This will aid in digestion.

4. Avoid strong scents or odors. This may mean no cooking in the home for the rest of the family while you are at home. You may want to dine out for some meals to avoid scent or food aversions.

5. Avoid your favorite foods during treatment if you are experiencing nausea. Your body may learn to associate these foods with nausea and vomiting, a condition called a conditioned food aversion. This may make them difficult to eat when you are feeling less nauseous.

6. Talk to your doctor about your nausea. Most people undergoing chemotherapy need to drink large amounts of fluids a day and if you are vomiting, this is not being achieved. Your doctor may be able to prescribe for anti-nausea medications for nausea.

7. No smoking. Some people continue to smoke during treatment, but this habit can easily upset the stomach, worsening the nausea. If you are having trouble kicking the habit during treatment, talk to your doctor. Several smoking cessation therapies are available to help you in your quest to quit.

9. Drink fluids at room temperature. Cold or warm beverages may increase or trigger nausea in already sensitive stomachs.
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