Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are one of the most common symptoms, especially as a side effect of chemotherapy. Nausea can cause unpleasant sensations in the stomach, make you feel sick, lead to vomiting. Vomiting is caused by strong contractions of the stomach muscles, which cause the stomach contents to rise.
The intensity, frequency, and timing of the onset of nausea or vomiting are variable and individual and depend on many factors, such as the prescribed drugs, the dosage, and individual susceptibility.


Breathe deeply and slowly and wait for the discomfort to subside before eating anything.

Wear comfortable clothing and avoid tight-fitting garments.

When eating, it may be useful to leave the window open to let fresh air in or to use a fan to reduce odours and promote a feeling of freshness.

After meals, sitting or lying down with the upper part of the body straight for up to an hour may help avoid nausea or vomiting.

Brush teeth and/or rinse mouth if vomiting occurs.

Approximately 30 minutes later. Carbonated or fizzy drinks are a good option.

  • Especially on days when vomiting is frequent.
  • Sometimes carbonated drinks can reduce the sensation of nausea (fizzy water, cola, or ginger ale…).
  • Ice lollies and jelly can also be a good option to help hydrate.
  • It is preferable not to drink during meals, as this promotes a feeling of fullness or bloating.

  • Choose white meats, lean cold meats and hams, or white fish.
  • Avoid cooking foods that generate strong smells and odours, such as fried, sautéed, or grilled foods. Fried foods, apart from giving off a stronger odour that can be unpleasant, are also more difficult to digest and can cause more nausea.
  • Use gentle cooking techniques to make dishes easier to digest, such as steaming, boiling, or grilling at a low temperature.
Some suggested recipes:

  • If odours are bothersome, avoid cabbage or cauliflower, and cook in ways that generate few fumes and odours, such as cooking en papillote, microwaving, boiling, marinating, and avoid frying or grilling at high temperatures.

Cold foods give off fewer odours than hot foods, so they may be better tolerated: pasta salads, sandwiches, soups and cold creams, homemade ice creams, etc.

Avoid certain sauces, aromatic herbs, hot spices, etc., as they may promote nausea.

It has been observed that ginger and mint can have a calming effect on nausea. Either fresh or powdered, both can be added to herbal teas, ice cubes, jellies, ice cream, popcorn or on top of foods such as bread, salads, pasta or in cooked dishes.

Normally, dry foods are better tolerated. For example, toast, crackers, breadsticks, rice and corn cakes, nuts, banana chips, dried coconut, etc.

  • For the first few hours, do absolute dieting (no food), drinking only small sips of fresh water every 10-15 minutes.
  • After four or six hours you can progressively increase the fluids you ingest (rehydration drinks or isotonic drinks).

    Homemade isotonic drink: Mix the juice of two lemons, a tablespoon of honey, a dessert spoon of sea salt and a dessert spoon of bicarbonate of soda in a litre of water. When these ingredients are dissolved, leave it in the fridge until it is cool.

  • After four to six hours, the amount of fluid intake (rehydration drinks or isotonic drinks) can be progressively increased.
  • After 24 hours without vomiting, start an easily digestible diet (preferably with cooked and soft foods) and always choose cooking methods such as steaming or boiling.
  • Start introducing dry foods, as they are better tolerated (bread, toast, crackers, sticks, etc.).
  • If vomiting has been occurring for two days in a row, contact the referring doctor or nurse to avoid possible dehydration.