Vomiting and pancreatic cancer

Vomiting can occur as a result of the pancreatic cancer or its treatment. For some people, just the thought of treatment or eating or the smell of food can make them feel unwell.

Let your doctor know if vomiting lasts for more than a day or if you can’t keep any fluids down, as you may become dehydrated. There are a range of effective anti-nausea medicines (which are known as anti-emetics). If the one you are prescribed doesn’t work, ask to try another type.

If you have persistent vomiting, the duodenum (the first part of the small bowel) may be blocked, so it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. A blocked duodenum may be relieved with surgery.

Listen to our podcast on Appetite Loss and and Nausea

Steps to recovery after vomiting

  1. Take small sips – Don’t try to force food down. Sip small amounts of liquid as often as possible. Try flat dry ginger ale, cold flat lemonade, weak cordial, or cold apple or orange juice.
  2. Introduce nourishing fluids If the vomiting has stopped but you still feel sick, sip on drinks slowly in small frequent amounts. Start with cold or iced drinks. Prepare milk or fruit drinks with some water so they are not too strong. You can also try diluted fluids such as clear broth or weak tea.
  3. Start solid food  Next, eat small amounts of solid foods, such as plain dry biscuits, toast or bread with honey or jam. Stewed fruits and yoghurt are also good. Aim to eat small regular food portions frequently, rather than three large meals a day.
  4. Return to normal diet As soon as you can, increase your food intake until you are eating a normal, balanced diet. Limit rich foods, such as fatty meats or full cream dairy products. Your doctor or dietitian may suggest extra nourishment (such as supplements) on your good days to make up for the days you can’t eat properly.

This information was last reviewed in February 2018
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