Nausea and vomiting

Tummy problems are common in people who have liver disease. If you lost your appetite in the early stages, as your disease gets worse you may start to feel sick or keep vomiting.

Why you get nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can happen because your liver can’t filter the toxins in your body.

It can be caused by constipation, swelling in the belly, some of the medicines you’re taking, problems with the muscles and nerves in the stomach, or an infection.

Tips for managing nausea and vomiting

Your doctor may prescribe medicine to ease your nausea or vomiting. Medicines may have side-effects and there are other things you can do:

  • Drink clear, ice-cold drinks. Sipping through a straw can help
  • Nibble on a light, bland food, like a cracker. Some people find that ginger helps
  • Avoid greasy or fried foods
  • Eat cold foods or foods at room temperature, as they smell less
  • Eat and drink slowly
  • Have small meals throughout the day
  • Sit still and rest for a while after you eat
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid anything that makes you feel sick, like certain smells, perfumes or smoke
  • Put a cool, damp cloth on your forehead
  • Brush your teeth or suck on a mint to keep your mouth fresh
  • Make sure you’re drinking enough, especially if you’re vomiting. Just take small sips of flat ginger ale or lemonade, apple juice or an oral rehydration solution

When to see your doctor

If nausea is bothering you, see your doctor as they can give you medicines to help.

See your doctor if your vomiting lasts for more than a day, or if you notice signs of dehydration (headache, dark wee, dizziness, dry mouth, lips or tongue).

Get emergency medical help if you vomit blood (or it looks like coffee grinds are in the vomit), you have a very bad tummy ache or headache, or if you have chest pain.

References

Cleveland Clinic. Nausea and vomiting
CirrhosisCare (Canada). Nausea & Vomiting
Cancer Council NSW. Nausea and vomiting

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