Manage Nausea and Increase Your Appetite During Cancer Treatment
Nausea is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. You may also experience other symptoms, such as a feeling of fullness, no appetite, a change in the way foods taste, heartburn or feeling tired.
These simple steps often go far in helping you cope with the nausea associated with chemotherapy or radiation:
- Avoid strong-smelling foods, which can bring on nausea.
- Rinse your mouth with mouth wash to eliminate any bad taste.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing that doesn’t bind or add stress to your body.
- Find what foods taste good to you now.
If you have just experienced nausea and/or vomiting:
- Take small sips of fluids or suck on ice chips. This can help settle your stomach.
- Eat crackers or toast.
- Prepare mild foods when starting to put nutrition back into your stomach.
Increase Your Appetite
It is important to do your best to maintain a nutritious diet during and after cancer treatment. Eating right doesn’t just make you feel better; it is important for your overall health and recovery. I suggest the following tips.
- Eat smaller meals frequently throughout the day rather than two or three big meals.
- Have snacks between meals. Keep snacks handy. People tend to eat more when food is readily available.
- Establish a pattern of eating meals and snacks at the same time each day. Stick to this schedule, even when you are not hungry.
- At times when your appetite is not good, rely on foods you really enjoy.
- If you cannot eat enough food to maintain your weight, try high-calorie, high-protein drinks.
Talk with your health care team about anti-nausea medications to ease or prevent symptoms. At most cancer treatment centers part of your health care team includes a dietitian or a nutritionist to help you.