Feeling nauseous is one of the worst feelings most people can relate to. Nausea and vomiting usually isn’t anything to worry about if it’s the result of, say, motion sickness. However, nausea and vomiting can be a side effect of life-saving medical treatment, such as chemotherapy for cancer. In these cases, avoiding what triggers the nausea isn’t always possible, and you’ll have to learn to cope with it.

Thankfully, you have many options for relief if you experience nausea and vomiting as a side effect.

Medications to Prevent Nausea and Vomiting

Medications designed to prevent nausea and vomiting are called anti-emetics. There are many types of anti-emetics, and you may have to try a few before finding one that works for you.

Some anti-emetics include:

• Serotonin antagonists
• Steroids
• Anti-anxiety medication
• Antacids
• Dopamine antagonists
• NK-1 antagonists
• Cannabinoids

Many of these medications, like the serotonin and dopamine antagonists, block certain chemicals in the body that are associated with triggering nausea and vomiting. Other medications, like steroids and NK-1 antagonists, are typically given in conjunction with other anti-emetics.

If nausea and vomiting are believed to be associated with anxiety, anti-anxiety medications may help relax a patient. Antacids, on the other hand, reduce heartburn and indigestion. Finally, cannabinoids can be used if other anti-emetics don’t work. Cannabinoids contain the active ingredient in marijuana.

Find Cheaper Cancer Medication

The financial burden of both cancer treatments and side effect medications can quickly become overwhelming. Some Americans have turned to buy anti-emetics such as Zofran® (ondansetron) from online pharmacy referral websites that ships Canadian drugs. You can access substantially cheaper medicine from licensed pharmacies this way.

Alternative Therapies for Nausea and Vomiting

Some patients have found relief through alternative therapies that do not involve drugs.

1. Acupuncture, a technique from Traditional Chinese Medicine, has had clinical studies supporting its use to treat anticipatory nausea.

2. Biofeedback is a technique that helps people take control of their physical response. However, it doesn’t work that well alone and is more typically used in combination with progressive muscle relaxation.

3. In some states, patients can legally use medicinal marijuana (cannabis) to treat nausea and vomiting. Cannabis can also stimulate patients with a low appetite to eat.

4. There is evidence that music therapy, administered by a qualified health professional, can reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy when it is combined with standard treatments.

5. Guided imagery, which involves imagining yourself in a relaxing place other than the treatment facility, has helped prevent nausea and vomiting in patients.

What to Do On Your Own

Many of these treatments involve finding a trained professional to help you. And, just because a treatment doesn’t require drugs, doesn’t always mean it’s cheaper. So, some patients can have trouble accessing therapies and need to deal with nausea and vomiting on their own. Here are a few ways.

Hydrate Frequently

Vomiting results in your body losing a lot of fluid, making you at risk for dehydration. If you experience nausea and vomiting, drink plenty of fluids, including water, juice, tea, ginger ale, and sports drinks.

Eat Carefully

Some patients find it helpful to eat a small snack before receiving treatment, or they may avoid eating immediately before treatment. You are advised to wait an hour after treatment to eat or drink. You may also want to avoid foods with strong smells that bother you, as well as greasy, fried, spicy, or sweet foods. Cooled foods may also be better.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Last but not least, don’t neglect your mental health! Going through intense treatment that causes extreme side effects is understandably a frustrating and stressful situation. Your negative feelings are valid.

In the meantime, take care of yourself. Do things you find pleasant and talk to people whom you trust. If your nausea and vomiting are triggered by anxiety, simple relaxing activities can help with your symptoms.

Author's Bio: 

Alison Lee is a freelance writer in Vancouver, Canada. She enjoys writing about finance, health and medicine, among other topics.