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Nausea From Chemo

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Nausea from chemo feels terrible. It can come upon you, out of nowhere. Nausea and vomiting are two of the most common side effects of chemo.

Fortunately, you can get medications and alternative therapies that help. And while many blame the chemo drugs cause nausea, your diet plays a role, too. Changing what you eat can help you get rid of this awful side effect.

How Chemo Causes Nausea

Chemo drugs kill cancer cells throughout your body. They also affect normal, healthy cells.

When chemo kills fast-growing cells in your GI tract, it kills healthy cells. This can lead to side effects in your gut.

Medication for Nausea

Your doctor can give you a medicine to help with nausea. If you can't hold anything down, you can get this medicine through an IV. Sometimes you can have anti-nausea medicine before you get chemo. This can prevent the side effects from happening in the first place.

Foods to Help Nausea From Chemo

What Not to Eat During Chemo

Some food causes more nausea while you're getting chemo treatment than others.

You'll want to avoid:

  • Oily foods, like mayonnaise and salad dressing
  • Dairy
  • Certain fruit
  • Meat
  • Fatty fish
  • High-fat and fried meats
  • Fried eggs
  • Milkshakes
  • Pancakes, muffins, doughnuts, waffles
  • Fried potato products, like french fries and hash browns
  • Breaded, fried or creamed vegetables
  • Desserts like pie, cake, and ice cream

What to Eat to Help Nausea

Your nutrition needs to stay strong during treatment. So what can you eat while going through chemo and having problems with nausea or vomiting?

BRAT Diet Basics

The BRAT diet offers a simple way to help your GI symptoms caused by chemo. Because foods included in this diet are fat-free, your body digests them easily. The blandness of these foods won’t irritate your stomach or trigger nausea.

Stick to eating small meals. Include one or more of these foods:

  • B — bananas
  • R — rice
  • A — applesauce
  • T — toast and tea

Be sure to drink decaf tea, since it’s less likely to irritate your stomach.

Keep crackers around, too. Stick to small meals. You may not avoid nausea completely. But watching what you eat and getting some medication can help you get through chemo.