Chemotherapy: Coping with Nausea
Even when chemotherapy is only being used as an adjuvant treatment, it can still have serious side effects. The most common side effect is nausea. This article will give some tips on managing this difficult symptom until your chemotherapy is complete.
Chemotherapy can cause nausea by affecting the cells that make up your stomach lining. There are drugs your doctor can prescribe that will help with this. Anti-nausea medications will help decrease the feeling of sickness, while anti-emetics will help prevent you from vomiting. THC, the active chemical in marijuana, has also been shown to be very helpful in treating the feeling of nausea. If you live in an area where medical marijuana is legal, it may be a good idea to ask your doctor about this option. If this is not an option for you, the prescription drug Marinol offers many of the benefits of THC.
Some patients use natural treatments instead of, or in addition to, prescription drugs. Many report that ginger ale and or tea made with caraway seed or chamomile helped them feel better. Some patients have benefited from aromatherapy, the practice of using scented candles or oils to help with a problem. Lavender, ginger and peppermint are reportedly useful aromas for this. Acupuncture has also helped some patients feel better.
Malnutrition caused by frequent vomiting is a risk for cancer patients, so try to find foods that are very high in protein and calories to keep your weight up. Protein shakes and products such as Ensure or Boost are usually easy to swallow and will help you get all the calories you need.
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