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How to deal with chemo nausea?

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Chemotherapy is given to cancer patients as a part of their treatment plan. There are many side-effects associated with chemotherapy drugs. These include baldness, weakness, fatigue, nausea as well as vomiting to name a few. With the advent of new medical technology, the chemotherapy drugs now have lesser, quicker as well as less severe episodes of nausea and vomiting.

Chemo drugs like Alemtuzumab Carboplatin, Ifosfamide, Bendamustine, Temozolomide, etc. commonly cause nausea as a side effect. Thus, dealing with nausea becomes necessary as it causes a lot of discomfort to the patient. Here, we present to you a simple guide to help you deal with chemo nausea.

What to do in case of chemo nausea

Chemo nausea can at times be so severe, that one is forced to stay in bed for days. It actually drains one of all energy and makes it difficult to cope up with other physical discomforts. The chemicals released during a chemo session tend to stimulate the chemoreceptor zone of the brain. This area tends to recognize the chemicals as toxins and tries to fight them off by causing nausea as a reaction to eliminate these foreign substances.

Some simple tips to fight off chemo nausea are as follows:

Take an anti-nausea pill

Your doctor will certainly prescribe you anti-nausea and anti-vomiting pills, if the symptoms are severe. The combination given by your doctor will certainly be safe and will not interfere with the chemo drugs. Common pills such as Alprazolam, Lorazepam, Promethazine, etc. are commonly given to patients to help deal with nausea.

Do not suppress hunger or leave your stomach empty

Eat when you are hungry and do not make any excuse for skipping meals.An empty stomach will cause more episodes of nausea. So, eat even if you don’t want to or suffer from nausea.

Eat light and simple food

Spices, deep fried, greasy and heavy foods make nausea worse. Soft diets work best for chemo patients. You can have soups, cold sandwiches, custard, sorbet and fruits and juices such as cranberries, pears, apples, and watermelon. Drinking clear soda or ginger ale is also useful. Eat a bowl of Jell-O or sip on to popsicles and sherbet. Even eating peeled and boiled potatoes also helps. These foods are ideal for people suffering from nausea.

Avoid eating hot foods

Very hot foods are not recommended for chemo patients as the smell or the smoke from hot foods can trigger nausea. So, eat foods that are at room temperature or slightly warm (like soups) or have them cold.

Eat small meals

The mantra is- eat small portions of meals throughout the day instead of forcing yourself to eat 2 to 3 full meals a day. This will not only keep nausea at the bay, but would also make you feel less hungry. Snack on healthy foods like crackers, biscuits, whole grains and nuts. The bottom line is do not stay hungry.

Eat slowly

One of the reasons that trigger nausea and vomiting is – not chewing food properly. Half chewed food can lead to indigestion. So, take ample of time to finish your food and make sure you chew food properly before swallowing.

Keep crackers handy

One instant remedy for nausea is to bite into a whole grain cracker. For example, if you are nauseated in the morning, then immediately grab it from your bedside. Similarly, tuck few bars inside your purse or bag while stepping out of home.

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Do not lie down after eating

Stay calm after eating and do not sleep or lie down on the bed. Engage in some activities like watching TV, walking around the house, reading, etc. at least for an hour.

Stay away from offensive smell

If a specific smells like the fragrance of perfumes, deodorant, cooking or odor of petrol, etc. seems repulsive, then stop using that product, avoid exposing yourself to that smell or take any other similar step to beat nausea.

Keep yourself hydrated

Yes, drink ample water, at least 9-10 glasses daily. Cut down on hot caffeinated beverages, instead, sip green tea or fruit juices to maintain your hydration.

Ginger helps to overcome nausea

If the mornings are turning out to be difficult, then have a teaspoon of ginger juice in the morning or sip some ginger tea. It offers immediate relief. Otherwise, you can keep ginger candies with you. Suck on them when you feel nauseated.

Practice relaxation techniques

Meditation and breathing techniques are also useful. Keep yourself relaxed to do away with nausea and vomiting sensation induced by chemo drugs.

These are some tips on how to deal with chemo nausea. Your doctor will be able to guide you about the foods you can eat and the drinks that will help reduce the nausea. Also, make sure you eat the anti-nausea pills prescribed to avoid nasty chemo nausea episodes.

Written by: Batul nafisa baxamusa

Date last updated: Februaary 22, 2015

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