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Nausea

Nausea, or experiencing a strong urge to vomit, is an unpleasant reality for most individuals with cancer. Science believes that vomiting is controlled by the nausea center of the brain. It is not known, however, why one person gets extremely nauseous, while another does not even have a trace of upset stomach when exposed to the same chemo, radiation, hormones or pain medications. Sometimes, the tumor may be directly or indirectly affecting the digestive system, leading to nausea. In many individuals, the mind and emotions can cause an upset stomach. All those factors can and do trigger the nausea center of the brain.

Many doctors prescribe drugs which reduce or eliminate nausea and vomiting. Sometimes your oncologist can lower the dose of your chemo or reduce the radiation you are exposed to, with the goal of stopping the nausea and vomiting. Dehydration, exhaustion and fatigue are some of the most significant dangers of frequent vomiting Pain in the neck and/or lower back from continuous vomiting is similar to whiplash from a car accident.

The inability to keep down medicine is another very important issue with vomiting. Unwanted weight loss is important to monitor and deal with right away. Closely following lab values, such as electrolytes, is critical; frequent bloodwork will help your doctor to prevent serious cardiac and other complications. Continuous vomiting could also result in damage to your vocal cord; you may have a raspy voice and, sometimes, a burning sensation in your throat from stomach acid. Eating too much or certain foods may enhance the feeling of nausea which may lead to more vomiting; a light liquid diet sometimes helps or is the only diet that can be consumed due to the strong feeling of nausea or continuous vomiting. Using stretches that open up and move the esophagus away from the stomach may help; meditation and deep breathing techniques may also provide relief.


References:

National Cancer Institute – http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/nausea/nausea-pdq#section/_1

Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/chemotherapy/in-depth/cancer/art-20047517

Nausea – Symptom Overview & Tips

Nausea – Symptom Overview & Tips

4:15
Nausea

In this video, Mark Yoder (N.P., Oncology) gives an introduction to nausea, and some tips for dealing with this …

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