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Feeling sick and vomiting

People often feel sick, or experience vomiting, with a terminal illness. This can be due to the illness itself or as a side effect of some treatments or medication. Whatever the cause, feeling and being sick can affect your quality of life.

Managing nausea and vomiting

If you often feel sick or suffer from vomiting, speak to a nurse or doctor who can look for a specific cause and decide on the best way to help you. There are many different types of medication that can help reduce sickness. You could also try acupuncture, relaxation therapies and pressure bands, or get some advice from a dietician.

There are also some things you can do yourself that may help:

  • Food smells can make you feel sick, so eat in a well-ventilated area if you can.
  • Avoid foods that trigger your nausea or vomiting, such as strong smelling, spicy or greasy foods.
  • Try eating small portions often, avoid large meals.
  • If possible, try to get someone else to prepare your food so you can avoid cooking smells.
  • Try to relax as feeling anxious can make you feel worse.
  • Keep a record of when you feel sick or vomit. This can help the doctor or nurse spot a pattern.

Eating certain kinds of food can make you feel better and may be easier for you to eat. These include:

  • fizzy water or flavoured water
  • dry biscuits, crackers or toast
  • food and drink containing ginger, like ginger ale or ginger biscuits
  • boiled sweets and mints
  • cold foods and sandwiches
  • salty foods like crisps or peanuts

If you have cancer of the gullet or oesophagus you may need to blend your food. Check with your doctor or dietician.

Feeling sick and vomiting can be unpleasant and interfere with your quality of life, but there things you can do to manage these symptoms. Talk to your nurse or doctor if this is something you experience.

This page is for general information only. It's not intended to replace any advice from health or social care professionals. We suggest that you consult with a qualified professional about your individual circumstances. Read more about how our information is created and how it's used.

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