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Cancer: Home Treatment for Nausea or Vomiting

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Home treatment may be all that is needed to treat mild nausea caused by cancer or the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. If you are having chemotherapy, your doctor can give you medicines to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting. Be sure to tell your doctor if you continue to have problems after your treatment. Your doctor will adjust your medicines to prevent or control your symptoms.

You may also try the following home treatment tips:

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  • Take any antinausea medicines as your doctor recommends. If your doctor hasn't prescribed medicines for you, ask about taking a nonprescription antinausea medicine, such as:
  • Make sure you drink enough liquids so you don't get dehydrated. Take frequent small sips of water if a whole glass is too much.
  • Make sure to eat enough food. Try 5 or 6 small meals instead of 3 bigger meals. And stay away from foods that make you feel sick, such as fried, spicy, sweet, or salty foods.
  • Suck on peppermint candy, or chew a stick of peppermint gum. Peppermint may relax tight muscles in your stomach and help decrease the stomach contractions that may be causing your nausea.
  • Try ginger, such as candied ginger or ginger tea. Real ginger—not ginger flavoring—helps to reduce nausea.
  • Try acupressure:
    • Place the tip of your right index finger on the underside of your left wrist, about 1.5 in. (4 cm) from your hand. Acupressure points are very small, so you may need to try this method more than one time.
    • Apply moderate pressure for 2 to 3 minutes.
    • Repeat as needed.
    • Acupressure bands, which are available for motion sickness, may help reduce nausea.

If you are vomiting:

  • Get some extra rest until you are feeling better.
  • Sip a rehydration drink to restore lost fluids and nutrients.
  • After vomiting has stopped for one hour, drink 1 fl oz (30 mL) of a clear liquid every 20 minutes for one hour. Clear liquids include apple or grape juice mixed to half strength with water, rehydration drinks, weak tea with sugar, clear broth, and gelatin dessert. Avoid orange juice, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, or lemonade. Avoid apple or grape juice if you also have diarrhea. Do not drink milk products, alcohol, or carbonated drinks such as sodas.
  • If you do not have any more vomiting, increase the amount of fluid you drink to 8 fl oz (237 mL) during the second hour. If you are not vomiting after the second hour, make sure that you continue to drink enough to prevent dehydration.
  • When you are feeling better, begin eating clear soups, mild foods, and liquids until all symptoms are gone for 12 to 48 hours. Gelatin dessert, dry toast, crackers, and cooked cereal are good choices. Try to stay away from strong food odors, which can make nausea worse.

The acid in vomit can erode dental enamel and cause tooth decay (cavities). Rinse your mouth with water after you vomit. Brush your teeth if you can.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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