by Victoria Ward

Nausea is a prevalent chemotherapy symptom, and sometimes the mere thought of chemotherapy can produce anxiety and anticipatory sickness. This is especially true for women, people under 50, and light alcohol drinkers. There are many ways of reducing nausea, and depending on the patient’s preferences, some are more desirable than others.

Here are seven great ways to reduce nausea:

1. Holding your left thumb (yes, you heard that right). I’m not sure what it is but folding your left thumb against your palm and squeezing it with your other fingers greatly diminishes any nausea or dry heaving.

2. Anti-nausea medications. If your nausea is strong enough and other methods don’t work your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea medications. These usually come with other side effects, like dizziness,dry mouth, constipation, etc. You may find these to be negligible in comparison to the nausea though.

3. Medical marijuana or CBD extract. Check your state marijuana laws to see if this option is possible for you. Otherwise, CBD extract is another great (and legal) way to get the anti-nausea benefits of the cannabis sativa plant.

4. Eat small meals rather than large ones. Eating small meals throughout the day may be better than eating the typical 2-3 large meals per day since you have less food on your stomach at any given time.

5. Sip on fluids all day (never let your mouth run dry). Besides vomiting having a dehydrating effect, being well-hydrated may also help reduce symptoms of nausea. Don’t overconsume water though—as that can make you even more nauseas!

6. Don’t lay flat after chemotherapy. Lying flat on your back or stomach can induce nausea or make nausea worsen. Stay in a seated position during and several hours after chemotherapy. It comes down to personal preference whether you lean forward or backward, but I’ve found that a forward tilt helps reduce nausea.

7. Wear loose-fitting clothes. Tight clothes, especially around the torso, can make nausea symptoms worse and can ultimately lead to vomiting. It’s best then to wear looser clothes such as baggy shirts and sweatpants.

It may not be any one method that improves your nausea symptoms, and often an amalgam of methods discovered through trial-and-error end up producing the right effect. If your nausea does not get better, then talk to your doctor about alternative options