One of the many difficult challenges of living with digestive tract paralysis can be learning to manage nausea. While not every patient experiences this symptom, those that do know how quickly it can turn a good day upside down. It is common for doctors to prescribe medications as well as recommend over the counter products for temporary relief. While it's important to listen to your physician, it's also good to educate yourself on the variety of alternative options available.
1. Tummy Toolkit
Think of this as the digestive tract paralysis first aid kit. No matter where you find yourself, having the necessary tools with you at all times provides comfort and some form of relief. Nausea can be soothed through many of our senses including: taste, smell, touch and hearing. The following include helpful examples of each one.
Taste – Ginger and Hot Teas
Ginger chews may help calm the stomach as well as indigestion and convenient to have with you at all times. Otherwise, when you can, sip on ginger tea and experiment with fresh ginger in recipes such as a carrot ginger soup. If ginger tea is too spicy for you, try using fennel. Crush a tablespoon of seeds and steep in hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and sip as necessary for nausea.
Our sense of smell begins working at the very first stage of digestion, immediately releasing digestive juices in the mouth, stomach and small intestine. Taking a few deep breaths of a specific or prepared blend of essential oils can provide quick relief when it comes to both nausea and discomfort. Popular oils include peppermint, spearmint, ginger, basil and chamomile. For more information on essential oils, go to https://organicdailypost.com/ultimate-guide-to-essential-oils/.
How to use
- Directly inhale from bottle or place a few drops in a tissue and inhale.
- Massage around abdominal area.
- Mix with water and add to a spray bottle for home and car.
- Add 5-10 drops into a bathtub with warm water.
Feel - Acupuncture and acupressure wrist band
If available in your area, give acupuncture a try. It has been proven to help with many ailments, nausea being one of them.
To find a certified local practitioner go to http://www.nccaom.org/fap
Wrist bands – Commonly used on cruises and boats for sea sickness, this band gently stimulates a point on the wrist known to decrease and/or prevent nausea. Target now sells them on their website, just enter "acupressure wrist band" in the search box. If you don't own one, you can also learn to massage the point yourself.
For detailed instructions you can go to http://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Nausea-With-Acupressure
Hear - Music therapy and guided imagery
Both have been shown to reduce nausea and anxiety. If it's an option, keep a playlist on your phone, music player, or CD with tunes that make you feel calm and relaxed. A good place to start is an audio by Dr. Andrew Weil, Sound Body, Sound Mind.
2. Breathing Techniques
With nausea, or any pain for that matter, it's easy to freeze up, focus on the pain and forget what the body naturally wants to do, which is to breathe. If not practicing already, make it a point to make breathing a habit whenever that unpleasant feeling begins to take over.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternative nostril breathing can help to calm the mind and release tension and fatigue.
Diaphragmatic (Abdominal) Breathing
Abdominal breathing can help with relaxation and prevent symptoms associated with stress.
The most important thing you can do for yourself and for digestive tract paralysis is to have proper nutrition. This can often be difficult for patients, especially when nausea plays in to your daily life. However, each one can feed on each other, creating a viscous cycle from either, 1) not eating well therefore increasing nausea or, 2) increased nausea lessening the amount of proper food intake. When food sits in the stomach too long there is a higher chance of experiencing symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. For many, prevention of symptoms begins by eating small, balanced meals throughout the day and always including some form of protein. For example, six mini-meals a day as opposed to three average sized meals.
You may find it helpful to work with a practitioner who specializes in both nutrition and gastroparesis. See our section on Registered Dietitians.