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How To Cope With Nausea And Vomiting


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Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often accompanies the urge to vomit. Nausea does not always lead to vomiting (also called throwing up, emesis, and informally, barfing). 

Nausea and vomiting can be caused by a health condition or by a treatment such as chemotherapy.There are different areas in the body that are responsible for causing nausea. This is why nausea is often treated with a variety of different medications and strategies.

Preventing Nausea and Vomiting

Prevention is the first line of defense against nausea and vomiting. Preventive medications intefere with triggers that can cause nausea and/or vomiting. These medications can be used before treatment. Speak with your doctor about available medications for your situation and when to take them. Consider asking the doctor if it is okay to record the conversation so you are sure to get all the information correct. If not, consider taking notes.

How To Treat Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea should be treated early and aggressively to help prevent nausea becoming vomiting. Vomiting can lead to dehydration and other medical difficulties.

Anti-nausea medicines are very effective in relieving or preventing nausea and vomiting. Talk with your doctor about which medication is right for you. If a particular medication doesn't work, talk to your doctor about trying something else. Non-drug techniques also help with nausea.

  • For treatments featuring medications, click here.
  • For non-medication teatments to consider, click here
  • For a list of foods and liquids that are easier on the system during periods of nausea and vomiting, click here
  • For a list of foods and liquids to avoid, click here
  • What to do and not do if you just had a bout of vomiting, click here.

Tell your doctor or nurse if: you are very nauseated, if you have been vomiting for more than a day, or if your nausea is so bad that you cannot keep liquids down.

Some helpful tips:

  • If you have a nausea prescription, do not wait to experience nausea before filling the prescription. Fill it now - and carry the medication with you whenever possible "just in case."
  • Carry a bag with you in the event that you become nauseous while outside the home. A plastic bag will do. For creative ideas about bags, click here.
  • Keep track of your symptoms to help facilitate a discussion with your doctor or other health care provider. Survivorship A to Z provides a symptoms diary to help you keep track. When you are ready to see a doctor, a click of a button changes your diary into an easy to read, time-saving, graph. 
  • When you are feeling okay, eat bigger meals with extra calories. Ask your doctor if there are foods to avoid.
  • Consider avoiding your favorite foods while feeling nauseous. You may end up associating those foods with treatment and side effects so the favorite foods could end up triggering a negative physical response post-treatment.

To Learn More

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Symptoms Diary

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