Nausea

Nausea is an unpleasant wavelike feeling in the back of the throat and stomach that could include vomiting and retching. Often, nausea is referred to as just “sickness” or “feeling sick”.

What causes Nausea?

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • The tumor itself (depending on the location)
  • Antidepressants
  • Electrolyte (sodium and potassium) imbalance
  • Gastrointestinal issues and infections
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation

What happens when people have nausea?

  • Throat and stomach discomfort
  • Vomiting/retching
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling lightheaded/tired
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Higher saliva production
  • Having cold, clammy skin

What should I eat when nauseous?

When having nausea, eat foods that are dry, bland, and easy to consume, all of which should reduce the irritability of the stomach.

Dry foods

  • Saltine crackers
  • White toast
  • Dry cereals
  • Angel-food cake

Cold, bland foods

  • Plain pasta
  • Plain rice
  • Unflavored tuna
  • Unfalvored oatmeal
  • Salads without dressing

Easy-to-consume foods

  • Plain/vanilla yogurt
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Plain baked potato
  • Fruit flavored gelatin
  • Canned fruit (applesauce, peaches, and pears)
  • Hot cereal (cream of wheat)

What should I NOT eat when nauseous?

When having Nausea, avoid foods that are irritating to the stomach and mouth, such as foods that are spicy, greasy, sugary, or that have strong smells and alcohol and caffeine.

Spicy foods

  • Salsa
  • Hot sauce
  • Chili peppers
  • Ethnic cuisine (Chinese, Indian)

Greasy foods

  • French fries
  • Bacon
  • Hamburgers
  • Fried foods
  • Meats with untrimmed fat

Sugary, sweet foods

  • Dougnuts/pastries
  • Pies/cakes
  • Chocolate/sour candy
  • Sugary breakfast cereal

Foods with strong smells

  • Onions/garlic
  • Fish
  • Cheese

Alcohol

Caffeine

  • Coffee
  • Caffeinated soda
  • Black teas
  • Energy drinks

What else could I do when nauseous?

  • Eat 5-7 small meals/snacks a day
  • Do not skip meals, even if you are not hungry. An empty stomach could make nausea worse
  • Try not to eat favorite foods when you have nausea, as you could begin to relate these foods to feeling sick
  • Drink plenty of fluids. During a meal, consume fluids slowly to avoid feeling full too soon.
  • Avoid foods/places sith strong food odors
  • Have a hard candy (peppermint and lemon drops) to hide bad taste in mouth
  • Rest after meals, but stay sitting up. Do not lie down.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes.

When should I call my healthcare provider about nausea?

  • If you follow the recommendations and do not feel improvements after 3-4 days
  • If you are too tired to do things you need to care for youself (eating, bathing, using the restroom)
  • If you can't keep fluids down
  • If you are vomiting for more than 24 hours
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