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Nausea, with or without vomiting, is a common side effect of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and may also be caused by the disease itself.  Control of nausea is important to enable you to eat adequate amounts of food and help prevent vomiting.

Suggestions to help minimize nausea:

  • These foods will help minimize nausea:
    • Toast and crackers
    • Pretzels
    • Gingersnaps
    • Clear soup
    • Angel food cake
    • Baked or broiled chicken, skinless
    • Canned peaches, applesauce
    • Oatmeal
    • Sherbet or popsicles
    • Flavored gelatin
    • Avoid foods such as:
      • Greasy, fatty, or fried foods
      • Spicy foods
      • Foods with strong odors
      • Very sweet foods such as candy, cookies, or cake
      • Eat small amounts of food frequently and slowly.
      • Drink only small amounts of liquid with meals to minimize feelings of fullness. Sip liquids slowly – a straw may be helpful.
      • Drink beverages cool or chilled.  Try freezing favorite beverages in mini-ice cube trays.
      • Avoid eating in a warm or stuffy room.  Also, avoid eating where there are cooking odors or smells that may disagree with you.
      • Don’t force yourself to eat favorite foods when you feel nauseated; it may cause you to permanently dislike those foods.
      • Try resting after eating; activity may slow digestion. Rest sitting up for about an hour after a meal.
      • Wear loose clothing.
      • If you tend to be nauseated or vomit during radiation or chemotherapy, avoid food for 1 to 2 hours before treatment.
      • If nausea is a problem in the morning, try eating crackers or dry toast before getting up.
      • Ask your doctor about a medication to help control nausea if it is a continuing problem.

Vomiting often accompanies nausea and may be brought on by various causes. Some of these can include treatment, motion, gas in stomach or bowel, and the smell of some foods.

The treatment of nausea is closely related to vomiting.  Very often, if you can control nausea you can prevent vomiting. At times, however, your best efforts may be unable to prevent either nausea or vomiting.  If vomiting occurs, try the suggestions below to prevent further episodes.

Hints to minimize vomiting:

  • Do not drink or eat until you have the vomiting under control.
  • Once you have controlled vomiting, try small amounts of clear liquids.  Continue taking small amounts of liquid as often as you can keep them down.  Once you are tolerating liquids, gradually work up to your regular diet.
  • Eat small amounts of food every couple of hours. Eat mildly seasoned foods and avoid those with strong odors.
  • Loosen any tight, restricting clothing.
  • Be sure that the room is well ventilated, with no unpleasant sounds or smells.
  • Ask your doctor about medication to control nausea.