Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of cancer and cancer treatment and we're often asked what products we would recommend to help ease nausea and vomiting. Whilst it's important to note that we can't personally vouch for these products as (thankfully) none of us are going through cancer treatment, we're happy to share with you our best selling products and those that we receive the best feedback on.
Understanding cancer related nausea and vomiting
According to the American Cancer Society, nausea can be described as having a sick or uncomfortable feeling in the back of your throat and stomach and other symptoms can occur at the same time as nausea, such as increased saliva (spit), dizziness, light-headedness, trouble swallowing, skin temperature changes, and a fast heart rate.
Vomiting is also described as 'throwing up'. Nausea can lead to vomiting, and sometimes nausea and vomiting happen at the same time, but they can be totally separate problems, too. When you vomit, your stomach muscles contract (squeeze) and push the contents of your stomach (liquids and food) out through your mouth.
Retching is when your body tries to vomit without bringing anything up from your stomach. Other words used to describe retching are gagging or having the dry heaves.
Nausea and vomiting are serious side effects of cancer treatment and they are by far one of the most unpleasant. Sickness and nausea can cause much distress and if left untreated can cause knock on problems. Severe nausea and vomiting can make it hard to get the nutrition your body needs. Nausea can make you not want to eat or drink anything, and repeated vomiting can lead to dehydration, which is a lack of fluids and minerals your body needs.
Vomiting can also cause tiredness (fatigue), trouble concentrating, slow wound healing, weight loss, and loss of appetite. It can interfere with your ability to take care of yourself and may lead to changes in your treatment plan.
If nausea and vomiting persist, it can quickly become a serious problem, so please let your cancer care team know straight away if either of these happen:
You can’t keep fluids down
You’re vomiting for 24 hours or longer
If you are having cancer treatment which can cause nausea and vomiting, your cancer care team can give you anti-sickness drugs to help prevent or control sickness. It's important to take the drugs exactly as they tell you as it is much easier to prevent sickness than to treat it after it has started.
Natural products to help ease cancer related nausea?
Whilst we always recommend that you take the anti-sickness drugs that your cancer care team prescribe for you, there are also a variety of natural products that you can try alongside your medication.
1. Nausea Relief Wrist Bands
If you are only going to purchase one nausea relief product then we recommend it's a pair of nausea relief wrist bands. These affordable nausea bands have been clinically proven to help ease chemotherapy related nausea and post operative nausea.
The elasticated bands operate by applying pressure on the Nei-Guan or P6 acupressure point on each wrist by means of a plastic stud.
Acupressure is the technique of applying pressure to the acupoints and meridians. Pericardium 6 (P6) is one of these points and acupressure on P6 is used to treat chest pain, irregular and painful periods, pre-menstrual depression, insomnia and to relieve nausea and vomiting, acid regurgitation, hiccupping and belching. You can read more about the benefits of acupressure for nausea relief, as well as some of the clinical evidence supporting the use of nausea relief bands in our blog article: Nausea Remedies - Acupressure.
We also stock a nausea relief diffuser bracelet which combines the benefits of nausea relief acupressure to the P6 with the added benefit of aromatherapy - aromatherapy oils are another one of our best-selling products for nausea relief and are listed below.
A recent study has suggested that electroacupuncture using a TENS wrist band, may be more effective than manual acupressure. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and a TENS nausea relief wrist band consists of a small unit, attached to the wrist via electrode pads, through which a harmless electrical signal is passed. The sensation is not painful or unpleasant and can be likened to 'pins and needles', or even gentle massage.
We stock a range of TENS nausea relief wrist bands from the US manufacturer, Reliefband.
2. Queasy Drops
Queasy Drops are by far our most popular product to help relieve sickness and nausea associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments as well as the general queasiness that cancer can cause.
Developed by health care professionals, Queasy Drops are drug free, natural and 100% safe for kids and adults. They contain powerful essential oils proven to relieve nausea from motion sickness, travel sickness, and chemotherapy and we get a lot of people telling us how effective Queasy Drops are.
Queasy Drops are a popular item when people are putting together their own Care Box for a loved one and they also make a thoughtful, yet affordable gift on their own.
3. Essential Oils or Nausea Relief Inhaler / Balm
Aromatherapy can help relieve sickness and nausea. Aromatherapy involves smelling essential oil vapours through a diffusing mechanism, which can be anything from a room diffuser to the steam of a hot bath. It’s also one of the safest and fastest methods of use because the essential oils go straight to your body’s olfactory system.
Inhalation of essential oil vapour stimulates a complex neurological process that interrupts the nausea feedback loop in the brain. It works by inhaling a formulated oil vapour blend with antispasmodic and anti-emetic properties (often involving ginger, lavender, spearmint and peppermint) through the nose. The high alcohol content of the essential oils interferes with nausea signalling in the brain’s limbic system, while calming essential oils like bergamot and lavender work with a person’s inherent scent bias to elicit an emotional response (they also stimulate the amygdala, responsible for emotional retrieval, thereby having a potential effect on the mood of the patient).
A variety of different essential oils are recommended for easing nausea including peppermint, spearmint, lemon, lime, grapefruit, bergamot, lavender, geranium, ginger, fennel, chamomile, cardamom and clove.
Peppermint aromatherapy has been found to be particularly effective in helping to reduce nausea with one study showing that peppermint aromatherapy was effective at reducing nausea in 57% of cases and a further study, showing that using an inhaler containing peppermint essential oil at the onset of nausea reduced symptoms within two minutes of treatment in 44% of cases.
We also stock a QueaseEase Nausea Relief Inhaler. QueaseEASE Personal Inhaler for nausea relief is manufactured in the USA. Over 15 years ago, nurse aneasthetist Wendy Nichols started using essential oils as an alternative way to help her patients deal with queasiness after surgery. Through extensive scientific research and discussions with hundreds of medical professionals, a homemade remedy became a standard hospital supply. Today, QueaseEASE is used in over 2,000 hospitals across .
The QueaseEASE nausea relief blend combines four powerful essential oils, Peppermint, Lavender, Ginger and Spearmint which have been clinically proven to manage feelings of queasiness, all combined in a nifty little twist-cap inhaler that allows you to use these oils discreetly, on-the-go without overpowering the room.
Alternatively, we also stock a Nausea Pulse Point Balm which has been made exclusively for CancerPal. We looked everywhere for an affordable nausea relief blend and whilst we could find plenty for morning sickness, we didn't want to include a product that had been developed to treat morning sickness in our Cancer Care Boxes, so with the help of our fab supplier, Little Shop of Lathers, we created our own.
Our Nausea Relief Pulse Point Balm is a handmade, all-natural, aromatherapy pulse point treatment, containing peppermint, ginger and grapefruit essential oils which are known to help ease the symptoms of nausea. The pocket-sized balm is the perfect size to be carried around for instant application and nausea relief.
4. Water Tracker Bottle
If we were to give one piece of advice to anyone going through cancer treatment it would be to ensure you hydrate. In our experience, staying hydrated is the single best piece of advice in order to try and head off the feelings of sickness and nausea, but we understand this is often easier said than done.
We recommend sipping small amounts of fluids regularly throughout the day in order to stay hydrated. Taking small, slow sips rather than large intakes in one go is also important as drinking too much can also worsen feelings of nausea by making your stomach feel uncomfortably full and a sudden influx of liquids could cause you to become extremely nauseous.
A great way to ensure you are drinking regularly is to use a ‘Water Tracker’ bottle. A time tracker on the bottle reminds you when you should be taking that next sip to ensure that you drink 2 litres of liquid in small, manageable sips throughout the day.
If you're struggling to drink enough water or are dehydrated from sickness, you might also want to consider ViDrate hydration sachets which can help to restore a healthy level of hydration faster than drinking water alone. ViDrate is an enhanced hydration powder with added electrolytes and vitamins. Made with natural ingredients and containing zero sugar and no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives, ViDrate hydration sachets help to replenish essential electrolytes such as sodium, phosphate, bicarbonate, chloride, potassium and calcium that can be lost through severe vomiting.
5. Gin Gins Ginger Sweets
Ginger is frequently recommended as a natural remedy to help with the effects of nausea but did you know that ginger has been scientifically proven to help ease sickness and nausea. In a study of 576 patients receiving chemotherapy, researchers at New York’s University of Rochester Medical Center found that taking 0.5-1g ginger every day for six days, beginning three days before the first chemotherapy session, significantly helped to reduce nausea.
Ginger can be consumed in a wide variety of forms and one of our most popular products are Gin Gins ginger sweets. The Ginger People, who manufacturer Gin Gins, is a family owned and operated organisation and the world’s most award-winning ginger brand and America’s leading supplier of all natural and organic ginger ingredients.
We stock three varieties of Gin Gins. Gin Gins Double Strength Ginger Hard Boiled Sweets packed with 16% fresh ginger, Gin Gins Spicy Apple Ginger Chews, a spicy, fruity chew that gets its peppery pop from ginger and cinnamon and its cheery sweetness from red delicious apples, and by far the most popular of our Gin Gins range, Gin Gins Ginger Chews, chewy ginger sweets made with 10% fresh ginger.
CancerPal has conducted extensive product research and have a wide range of products specifically selected to help ease the symptoms of nausea as a result of cancer treatment. We have also created a range of Nausea Relief Care Boxes which offer a practical and thoughtful way to support a loved one experiencing the effects of cancer related nausea.