Nausea and vomiting are side effects of cancer therapy and affect most patients who have chemotherapy. Radiation therapy in certain cancer types can also create nausea.
Nausea is defined as stomach distress with a distaste for food and an urge to vomit. It’s an unpleasant feeling that may come and go. Nausea may not result in vomiting. It may occur before vomiting. Vomiting is the act of disgorging the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Sometimes the feeling of nausea is so intense that it can cause retching, which is the stomach trying to void itself without the actual instance of vomiting. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary bodily functions, which includes the sensation of nausea. Vomiting is also a reflex and can be triggered by certain sensations such as smell, taste, anxiety, pain, or motion.
Nausea and vomiting are serious side effects of cancer treatment because they are so distressing. The symptoms can be so bad that they lead to a delay in treatment. It is imperative that these symptoms are controlled so that the patient can continue treatment while feeling comfortable.
Nausea and vomiting that are not controlled can cause a loss of appetite, which will ultimately lead to malnutrition and possibly dehydration. Being nauseous all the time can be extremely fatiguing, especially if one has no appetite. The physical action of vomiting or dry heaves from retching can be so violent that they can cause the esophagus to tear and can even lead to broken bones. Expelling of food and gastric juices consistently can cause changes in gut biota and other dysregulation of body chemistry. The distress from these symptoms can be so severe that they ultimately lead to mental status changes in the patient. Needless to say, these issues need to be controlled so that patients can live a good quality of life.
Patients and caregivers should educate themselves about the potential side effects of different cancer treatments and be ready to face the challenges. Knowing how to address nausea and vomiting symptoms before they occur can be a key way to approach managing the delivery of certain drugs.
Different types of nause can occur and at different times. There can be nausea before a patient gets treatment, especially if they’ve had past incidents of feeling sick after treatment. This is called anticipatory nausea. Acute nausea can happen right after or up to 24 hours after treatment. Delayed nausea is when it takes longer than 24 hours for the symptoms to manifest. There are certain drugs that cancer centers will give patients profilactily in order to mitigate symptoms. Sometimes these drugs are ineffective, leading to what is called refractory nausea. Breakthrough nausea is when a patient has been getting nausea medication but suddenly has bouts of it many days after treatment. Some patients can encounter chronic nausea even after treatment is over.
There are different risk factors that will lead to an increased likelihood of nausea and vomiting symptoms. As aforementioned, certain treatments and drugs are more likely to cause them. Age can be a factor, with people under 50 having higher risk of symptoms. Any type of sensitive past stomach issues can be a guidepost as to whether a patient is more likely to develop symptoms. The presence of a tumor in the alimentary canal at any point can also increase chances. Any opioids that are being used for pain management could also contribute negatively. Constipation can cause a back up in the processing of food which can also lead to nauseousness.
Radiation treatments can also cause nausea and vomiting. Depending on where the treatment is focused can increase the likelihood of symptoms. If chemotherapy and radiation are being applied alongside each other can increase chances. Additionally larger doses of radiation will more likely cause nausea than smaller ones.
There are drugs that can be effective for managing these symptoms. These drugs are often delivered before or during each treatment, when the patient is getting their infusion. There are non-drug treatments that may help relieve nausea and vomiting, and also may help antinausea drugs work better. These treatments include diet changes, acupuncture and acupressure, herbal medicine, and relaxation techniques such as guided imagery and hypnosis.
We designed Protectival, one of medicine’s most rigorously clinically tested botanical formulas, specifically to help cancer patients when they are in their time of need. We researched Protectival and studied it’s effect on cancer patients while going through treatment. Along with mitigating other common and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, Protectival was shown to be very effective against nausea.
Published in the Integrative Medicine Insights Journal, the study showed that 70 percent of patients that took Protectival during their treatments experienced no nausea symptoms. Additionally, 89 percent of patients said they did not experience a decrease in appetite. These numbers are quite significant and show that Protectival is a good solution to help keep the digestive system working properly while undergoing treatment.
Avoiding nausea is extremely important in cancer treatment and is a goal that keeps people healthy at a very needed time. Providing the best botanicals to help patient’s thrive is our goal at LifeBiotic. When people feel good during treatment, they maintain a higher quality of life. Adding Protectival into a treatment regimen can help achieve the best results for everyone involved: the patient, the family and the providers.
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