Vomiting and pancreatic cancer

Vomiting can occur as a result of 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.

See your doctor if vomiting lasts for more than a day or if you can’t keep any fluids down, as you may become dehydrated. If you have persistent vomiting, the part of your body that connects your stomach to your small bowel may be blocked. This may be relieved with surgery.

How to cope with vomiting

Stage 1 – Small sips

  • Don’t try to force food down.
  • Sip small amounts of liquid as often as possible.
  • Try dry ginger ale, cold flat lemonade, weak cordial, cold apple or orange juice.
  • Ensure fizzy drinks are flat before you drink them.

Stage 2 – Introduce drinks slowly

  • If the vomiting has stopped but you still feel nauseated, 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.

Stage 3 – Introduce solid foods

  • 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.

Stage 4 – Return to normal diet

  • As soon as you can, increase your food intake until you are eating a normal, well-balanced diet.
  • Limit rich foods, such as fatty meats or full-cream dairy products.
  • Your doctor or dietitian may advise you to take additional nourishment (such as supplements) on your good days to make up for the days when you can’t eat properly.

Listen to a podcast on Appetite Loss and Nausea

This information was last reviewed in February 2016
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