Managing Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are a common occurrence in palliative care patients. In fact, some research suggests that more than half of all people with terminal cancer report nausea. Nausea and vomiting can prevent adequate hydration and nutritional intake. However, the more important consequence is the decrease in quality of life that accompanies these distressing symptoms. There are many causes of nausea and vomiting, including strong odors or tastes, certain medications, and physical changes in the gastrointestinal tract. Treatment depends on the cause of the symptoms, but the nutritional management techniques below can be helpful.

  • Choose foods that are easy to chew, swallow and digest like toast, crackers, pretzels, yogurt, sherbert, angel food cake, cream of wheat, rice, oatmeal, grits, boiled potatoes, rice, noodles, skinned chicken (baked or broiled), canned peaches or other bland, soft fruits, clear liquids and ice chips.
  • Avoid foods that stimulate your gastrointestinal system: Fatty, Greasy, Fried foods, Very sweet foods like candy, cookies, pies, Spicy hot foods and Foods with strong odors
  • Take anti-nausea medications (if prescribed by your doctor) at least an hour prior to eating
  • Eat small, frequent meals
  • Eat your favorite foods
  • Eat in a comfortable place, avoid hot temperatures when eating, and avoid eating where strong odors are present
  • Drink liquids a half hour before or after your meals
  • Drink slowly
  • Eat your food at room temperature, avoid extreme hot or cold foods
  • Do not force yourself to eat
  • Rest after eating
  • For nausea that occurs in the morning, keep toast or crackers at your bedside to eat prior to getting out of bed
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
  • Keep a food diary to determine if any specific foods cause nausea/vomiting

If you do vomit, do not eat or drink until the vomiting is under control. Then try small amounts of clear liquids and advance your diet as tolerated.

** Source:**

Questions? Please call your Hospice of Huntington Dietitians:
Kellie Glass RD, LD 606.615.2585 or Amy McFann RD, LD 304.690.5063

Hospice of Huntington

P: 304.529.4217 Toll-Free: 800.788.5480

P.O. Box 464 | Huntington, WV 25709
1101 Sixth Avenue | Huntington, WV 25701