Nausea is one of the most common, and sometimes one of the worst symptoms of GI diseases. Most take nausea medicine, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Pact Blog writer Stephanie recently shared some alternatives to try when the nausea is too much.
One of the most unsettling and tough to manage symptoms of gastroparesis is nausea. It can be hard to explain why we are fine one moment and the next sick with the stomach/body spins. Yesterday, as my husband and I were out running errands and laughing about something on the radio, it hit me like an unforeseen tsunami. I could only compare it to the feeling of just stepping off the tilt-a-whirl at the amusement park, wobbly and unstable as though the blood had actually rushed out of my body.
So, what can we do in these unplanned, insufferable situations?
My best advice is to, one, be prepared with a “tummy toolkit,” and two, practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Yes, I know, I see the eyes rolling, but trust me that it may at least bring a bit of relief. Here are some tips and tools to prevent nausea from taking over.
- Tummy Toolkit
Think of it as a first aid kit for the belly. Nausea can be soothed through many of our senses like smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight. Here are some of my favorite tips for each:
The aromas of peppermint, ginger, and lavender have been shown to help ease symptoms. You can find these essential oils in single bottles or look for combos with other blends to help fight nausea.
- Essential7 oils, created by someone who has lived with digestive trouble and specifically made for those living with GP. She carries one I love called Queeze Away that has been thoroughly researched and proven to help reduce these challenges. Apply a few drops to the bottoms of your feet or inside wrists for best results or simply inhale.
- Quease Ease Aromatic Inhaler is another product that can be used and easy to take on the go.
- Ginger tea, ginger chews and ginger candy may help to calm the belly as well as indigestion. My favorite products are made by The Ginger People, wich most stores and Amazon carry. I’ve even found ginger salt that is not only great for nausea but for those of us who need the extra salt to help with the symptoms of dysautonomia. I carry the Ginger Rescue Strong tablets, which trust me they are not joking when they say strong but they have been the best when it comes to severe nausea hits, especially when I’m on a long car ride or flying!
- Lavender tea is not always thought of but I’ve found it helpful as well, not to mention calming at bedtime.
- If you are able to eat, though it may seem counterintuitive, finding something small to snack on can be very helpful. Protein is ideal but even a couple of crackers can make quite the difference to help things settle.
- Acupressure wristband – These are often used when going on a cruise or a boat for seasickness. The band gently stimulates a point on the wrist known in Chinese medicine as nei-kuan. A big fan of acupuncture and previous student of it, I really believe this can be helpful. If you don’t have the band you can massage the point yourself. To learn more check out this video and simple instructions from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Music therapy and guided imagery – Both have been shown to reduce nausea and anxiety. If its an option, keep a playlist on your phone, music player, or CD with tunes that make you feel calm and relaxed. Just Google “nausea and sound therapy” for endless videos and information!
- Binaural beats are an emerging form of soundwave therapy in which the right and left ears listen to two slightly different frequency tones yet perceive the tone as one. Search for samples online to try, there is a lot of research linking this type of sound with nausea relief as well as other challenges like anxiety and stress.
Or rather the opposite! Keep reading to learn more about closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths to help calm many of the challenges we live with like nausea, pain, and trauma.
- Breathing Techniques
When nauseous, or in any pain for that matter, its easy to sort of freeze up, focus on the pain and forget what the body naturally wants to do…breathe. So, I encourage you to make this a habit whenever that unpleasant feeling starts to take over and begin to make this a daily practice. This can be done anywhere you go so its one of the best “items” in your toolkit!
Alternate Nostril Breathing
“…you can improve sleep, encourage a calmer emotional state, boost your thinking power and soothe your nervous system.”
“…when practiced regularly, lead to the relief or prevention of symptoms commonly associated with stress, which may include…stomach conditions, depression, anxiety, and others.”