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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Nausea and Vomiting, Version 1.2016


Nausea and vomiting

What can nausea and vomiting do to your body?

How it starts

Vomiting is when your stomach empties what is

inside. Vomiting is caused by signals that come from:



The CTZ (






one) in the

brain that helps the body recognize and get rid

of toxic or dangerous substances



Throat and GI tract (




ntestinal tract-

organs through which food passes)



The outer layer that coats the brain (cerebral


The signals go from the vomiting center in the brain to

your salivation center (where saliva is made) in your

mouth. They then go to your stomach muscles, your

breathing center, and the nerves in your brain. Your

doctor can give you anti-nausea and vomiting drugs

(antiemetics) to stop these signals.

This is the science behind the nausea and vomiting

you have. Nausea and vomiting can be hard to stop,

which is why the word "prevent" is important in side

effect care. Your medical team is there to help you

feel better. The goal is to prevent and treat side

effects that can make you feel lousy.

Stay on track

When it comes to your treatment plan, it is very

important to your doctors that you stay on track.

He or she doesn’t want something like nausea or

vomiting to stop or delay your treatment. That being

said, advances have been made in the treatment for

nausea and vomiting. These advances help find better

ways to prevent or treat these unwanted side effects.

Clinical trials (research studies) find these advances

to manage side effects like nausea and vomiting. Ask

your doctor or nurse if a clinical trial may be an option

for you. There may be clinical trials where you’re

getting treatment or at other treatment centers nearby.

See Part 5 for websites where you can search clinical

trials for nausea and vomiting.

What can nausea and vomiting

do to your body?

Even though nausea and vomiting are common

side effects, they can be serious and cause harm

to your body. These side effects can make you feel

sick, and change or put a stop to your daily routine.

Nausea and vomiting can also hold up your treatment


Nausea and vomiting can cause you to:



Be low in minerals (electrolytes) that your

body needs



Not want to eat



Lose fluids (become dehydrated)



Miss out on vitamins or minerals you need

from food or drink



Lose energy and not be able to do your daily




Have wounds that heal slowly



Possibly tear the tube-shaped organ between

the throat and stomach (esophagus)



Not function like you normally do in your mind

and body

Some people with cancer may have nausea and

vomiting, and some may not experience it at all. If

you have it and don’t try to stop it, the nausea and

vomiting can get worse with time. You can become

dehydrated and need IV (




enous) fluids.

That is why it is important to talk to your doctor or

nurse about nausea and vomiting before you start