Nausea and Oncology Mini Series #4 (Anticipatory Nausea and Vomiting)
Anticipatory Nausea and Vomiting
- Anticipatory nausea and vomiting may occur after several chemotherapy treatments.
- The earlier that anticipatory nausea and vomiting is identified, the more effective treatment may be.
Anticipatory nausea and vomiting may occur after several chemotherapy treatments.
In some patients, after they have had several courses of treatment, nausea and vomiting may occur before a treatment session. This is called anticipatory nausea and vomiting. It is caused by triggers, such as odors in the therapy room. For example, a person who begins chemotherapy and smells an alcohol swab at the same time may later have nausea and vomiting at the smell of an alcohol swab. The more chemotherapy sessions a patient has, the more likely it is that anticipatory nausea and vomiting will occur.
Having three or more of the following may make anticipatory nausea and vomiting more likely:
- Having nausea and vomiting, or feeling warm or hot after the last chemotherapy session.
- Being younger than 50 years.
- Being female.
- A history of motion sickness.
- Having a high level of anxiety in certain situations.
Other factors that may make anticipatory nausea and vomiting more likely include:
- Expecting to have nausea and vomiting before a chemotherapy treatment begins.
- Doses and types of chemotherapy (some are more likely to cause nausea and vomiting).
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded after chemotherapy.
- How often chemotherapy is followed by nausea.
- Having delayed nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy.
- A history of morning sickness during pregnancy.
The earlier that anticipatory nausea and vomiting is identified, the more effective treatment may be.
When symptoms of anticipatory nausea and vomiting are diagnosed early, treatment is more likely to work.
Psychologists and other mental health professionals with special training can often help patients with anticipatory nausea and vomiting. The following types of treatment may be used:
- Muscle relaxation with guided imagery.
- Behavior changing methods.
- Distraction (such as playing video games).
Anti Nausea drugs given for anticipatory nausea and vomiting do not seem to help.
Rachel Namery, MS
Manager of R&D, Formulator and Nutrition Coach
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