Treating Nausea and Vomiting in Cancer Patients
When you hear the word ‘cancer’, you likely think of the big stuff first – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation. Even so, those who have undergone it or supported a loved one through the ordeal understand that there is much more to the narrative. Among the less-talked-about but very impactful problems cancer patients face are nausea and vomiting.
Understanding Nausea and Vomit in Cancer Patients
Understanding what’s happening in the body is essential to treating nausea and vomiting effectively. Imagine your body as a super-efficient machine, always alert for anything that might disrupt its operations. When the machine senses a disruption – like the chemicals in cancer treatments – it often responds by triggering nausea or vomiting.
While it’s unpleasant, this reaction is actually your body’s way of trying to protect itself. These issues are more prevalent in cancer patients due to both the treatments and the cancer itself. It can become a real roadblock, affecting everyday life and even the success of cancer treatment.
Some Common Causes of Nausea and Vomiting in Cancer Patients
Cancer patients may experience nausea and vomiting for several reasons. Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can cause these symptoms as they introduce strong chemicals into the body. Cancer can cause nausea and vomiting, especially when it affects the brain or stomach.
Even some medications taken for pain or other symptoms can lead to nausea. Then, there are factors like infections or imbalance of salts in the blood, which can further add to the problem.
Traditional Treatments for Nausea and Vomiting in Cancer Patients
To manage these symptoms, conventional approaches usually involve antiemetic drugs that are made to prevent or lessen nausea and vomiting. The treatment plan can be enhanced by incorporating medications like steroids or benzodiazepines to antiemetics.
Alternatively, prokinetic agents offer another viable choice. These medications facilitate quicker stomach emptying, resulting in a reduction of nausea sensation and preventing vomiting.
Available Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Traditional medicines aren’t the only options though. There is some recent research that seems to show that acupuncture, which is a technique involving the insertion of thin needles into specific parts of the body, can be quite effective for reducing nausea in some patients. The there is acupressure, which is basically a simplified version of acupuncture and is something you can learn to do by yourself.
Some people also find relief through mind-body techniques like hypnosis or guided imagery. These involve learning to use your own thoughts to control your body’s reactions.
Dietary changes and staying hydrated are also key in managing nausea and vomiting. Small frequent meals and drinking enough fluids can often make a big difference.
Medical Marijuana and its Role in Managing Nausea and Vomiting
Let’s shift our focus to a subject that has been receiving considerable scrutiny – the use of medical marijuana. Our bodies have an incredible system called the endocannabinoid system that responds to marijuana compounds. Notably, this system aids in managing feelings of nausea and controlling episodes of vomiting.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that medical marijuana can effectively alleviate these symptoms when conventional treatments prove ineffective. Such is its efficacy that even the FDA has granted approval for its usage among individuals battling cancer. Nevertheless, obtaining medical marijuana can pose a hurdle due to the extensive discrepancies in laws governing its availability. According to the good folk at KindlyMD, most states require a medical marijuana card; you can get one with a doctor’s recommendation.
The effective management of nausea and vomiting in individuals with cancer is an essential component of their overall care. Its significance extends beyond merely enhancing comfort, as it actively supports patients in sustaining their treatment course and achieving optimal outcomes.