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 (
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
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
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 (
That is why it is important to talk to your doctor or
nurse about nausea and vomiting before you start