What’s Your Secret: How Do You Handle Nausea?

Nausea is a well-known symptom of migraine as well as a side effect of many migraine medications. Many anti-nausea medications cause severe drowsiness and are therefore not a great option. In this video, we discuss non-medication strategies for handling nausea and vomiting at home and on the go.

 

Please join the conversation and share your secrets for dealing with nausea and vomiting in the comment section below. We are here to learn from one another so don’t keep your strategies to yourself!

If you have questions you’d like to pose to the Migraine.com community for the What’s Your Secret Video Series, please add them to the comment section below, or go to the Q&A page and submit your question there. We have a wondrous resourceful community with a wealth of information and support just waiting to help you out.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (63)
  • TomD
    8 months ago

    CBD oil, brilliant for naseau and also the pain

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    8 months ago

    Hi @TomD– Thank you so much for sharing a solution that has worked so well for you. That is wonderful news. Unfortunately, Cannabidiol is not legal (yet) in all 50 states. Maybe one day? Thanks again for chiming in and keep in touch!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    8 months ago

    @tomd -Indeed. My understanding is that CBD is legal in all the states where medical marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes – now the majority of states in the US- but still some ways to go.

  • TomD
    8 months ago

    Surely it cannot be too far away there?

  • mstori68
    9 months ago

    The only thing that works for me is Zofran (Ondansetron). The day my neurologist prescribed it, my life became a tiny bit better… at least I have SOMETHING besides Maxalt and Toradol injection to combat my frequent attacks!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    8 months ago

    Thanks so much for sharing what works for you! Keep in touch with us about your successes and challenges so we can learn from one another, @mstori68. Is today a good day for you?

  • pigeongirl
    10 months ago

    licorice root. the capsules or dutch candies. i also use ginger and peppermint, sometimes they just don’t cut it! also there are ‘teas’/infusions by ‘stash’brand called licorice spice (sweet on it’s own thanks to the licorice root) and red dragon chai- no real tea just spices and herbs that help, and both are great plain and unsweetened. they have a little ginger and clove and cinnamon too. rosemary EO can help some too, as does eucalyptus sometimes. the EOs are my only option when it’s really bad/can’t swallow, and different herb/spice EOs help during different attacks! peppermint, rosemary, clove, ceylon/true cinnamon, thyme, garden sage, eucalyptus, cajeput, and the citrus fruits, sometimes pine or fir. diffuser necklaces are the best! and i don’t like premade blends- migraines aren’t one-size-fits-all!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    10 months ago

    @pigeongirl – Thank you for your input! I had to do some thinking before I realized EO means essential oil (slow migraine brain!). Love all your ideas! Seems that spice is the way to go- refreshing and root-related. Sounds right to me. Thanks for sharing. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    8 months ago

    @pigeongirl! Hi again! Something is wonky with the reply button here- so sorry about that! I just now am finding your message (below) and simply wanted to thank you once again for sharing so openly about what has worked for you and your daughter. Our site is made all the more powerful by people like you who are willing to give detail about what has worked for them, with the understanding that there is no one-size-fits-all remedy. Even between the two of you, there’s not been an across the board solution in terms of meds and natural remedies. However, it sounds like through lots of trial and error, a healthy partnership with a knowledgeable NP, and worlds of patience and dedication, you have found a way to reduce the frequency and severity of your attacks and therefore the overall impact that migraine has on your lives. Bravo! What an inspiration you both are. And as I said before, it’s a wonderful gift that you have each other’s support and understanding as you navigate this process. Please stay in touch!

  • pigeongirl
    9 months ago

    Holly, for some reason there’s no reply link on your last comment so here i am!
    we have daily pill sorters loaded with our natural health product preventions. it’s a must when you sometimes wake up not sure what day it is and have days when 15minutes ago can’t be remembered! with a selection of supplements we’ve managed to reduce the pain of attacks by 75-80%, nausea by about 50%. what we use are quite harmless and what works is a bit different between my daughter and i! seems rather crazy? we still have attacks but it’s mainly aura we are left struggling with, and sometimes the nausea still gets to the point we need a bit more relief than our daily prevention supplements.

    it REALLY is helpful to sniff things when in the midst of the attack/nausea, and to consider other symptoms. while we love peppermint and cinnamon for example- the only essential oil that my daughter consistently likes is rosemary, and for myself it’s rosemary and clove. sometimes the peppermint and cinnamon smell… sickeningly sweet, or another oil we may like sometimes, basil, it can smell like rot during some attacks! licorice root capsules/lozenges/candies/teas are great for me, my daughter finds it horribly sweet and too stimulating. fenugreek is another we find soothes the digestion and nausea. we’re both much more able to eat foods heavy on ginger or fenugreek during attacks! though fenugreek isn’t safe for those with peanut allergy, and licorice root isn’t safe in those with high blood pressure and other cardiac issues, plus it keeps some people awake possibly due to adrenal stimulation. so other than aromatherapy methods that are not on skin or ingested, there are some NHPs we have to be cautious with. if it has been proven to have effects in the body- it might have negative side effects too! so i do solidly believe in… caution with NHPs as with medications.

    we’ve been so fortunate with my daughter’s pediatric neuro nurse-practitioner, who herself packs a water bottle and peppermint EO around ALL DAY, she too has migraine disorder, and uses supplements! she has supported and added to our supplements for prevention and symptom management. i don’t feel many of us can go ‘all natural’ with this disease, instead an approach that blends the medical and natural sides has made a massive difference for us. if we could ditch our extreme FHM and basilar type aura issues we’d have a normal life really! all i need anymore is the odd advil/aleve and occasional nap as far as pain goes 🙂 daughter is on a prevention medication in addition to her supplements and has gone from steadily chronic to sporadic- and the only meds she takes now is also the NSAIDs with a couple potato chips and nap- occasionally. rarely really! which is a huge step from daily high dose NSAIDs and nausea/vomiting drugs. sure zofran and dramamine help the nausea but we’re happy to need them less than once a month now, and when we do take an NSAID- now it’s enough 😀

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    9 months ago

    Hi @pigeongirl – as always, I love your suggestions and so appreciate your taking the time to share what works for you so the rest of us can learn from you. Speaking of learning, the idea of taking ginger root capsules is something I didn’t know was an option until reading the replies to this article. I love the idea of taking ginger as a preventative rather than a rescue. Brilliant approach. Sorry to hear you and your daughter are in the same migraine boat but I suppose in some ways it helps to be able to navigate the challenges hand in hand with a loved one who really gets it, even though- as you said, each person can be so very different. Thanks again for chiming in and hope to hear from you again soon!

  • pigeongirl
    9 months ago

    whoops yes essential oil/EO! when swallowing isn’t going to happen… something strong and fresh/clean smelling to the individual can help a bit. but for my daughter and i- it varies attack to attack! so we have no single go-to. one day, the taste or aroma that helped last time can seem horrid! we call it nose aura.
    i have ginger root capsules loaded into my pill sorter with my morning and lunch supplements. and since i get motion sickness my ‘tea’ is made night before and with me if i’m heading out, to be sipped while in the truck. so i’m always trying to prevent nausea too! sticking with it does seem to help to a degree. but when nausea gets intense anyways- i may need any one or several of my ‘tools’. building a toolkit is so essential for us.

    we narrowed down the right EOs for us very easily- in part by sniffing various things in the spice and tea cupboards during attacks. same with teas/herbal infusions, but we have to watch ginger teas since some have lemongrass in them which makes us vomit (also turned out to be a trigger for us). clove and rosemary helped during my last attack- i was able to stay hydrated 😀

  • SuperDave
    10 months ago

    While waiting for the Phenergan to take affect ( we have pills AND suppositories) I fill a shot-glass with full-strength lemon juice (bottled lemon juice from the grocery store). Take very small sips (just 2 or 3 drops) and hold in your mouth on your tongue for a few seconds before swallowing it. Continue sipping until nausea gets better. While doing this, I usually get in the shower, turn the water as hot as I can and direct the shower head to wherever my head is pounding. We have a flow control on the shower head, so I can slow the water to just above a trickle – that way I never run out of hot water, even if I am in there for an hour, and I don’t waste all that money and energy. Works wonders most of the time.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    10 months ago

    @superdave – While I’ve heard the hot water shower thing (though have yet to try it AND am fascinated by the approach), I have NEVER heard of the lemon juice idea. Wild. Okay. I’m in. I also have the pills and suppositories and sometimes that wait can feel like an eternity. Vomiting with a migraine is just the worst. Thanks so much for offering a way to avoid such an awful fate. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • manwithmigraine
    11 months ago

    I have tried Alka selzer in the past. sometimes it works…depends on the stage—I ate bread tonight—i slice to try to keep something down.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @manwithmigraine – Hi there and thanks for adding your solutions to the conversation. Alka selzer sounds brilliant – and coupled with the bread, like a great one-two punch to stop the nausea in its tracks Did it work? Hope you’re on the other side of that one. Many thanks, again, for adding to the conversation. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • LUEYBUG
    11 months ago

    I have been using GINGER….tea, lozenges, it helps if I catch the nausea fairly quickly. If not, then Zofran.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Hi @lueybug– I’m with you on the ginger thing! I can’t get enough. I just found crystallized ginger chips and started adding them to my granola. Just chewing on them alone sometimes settles my stomach. Amazing how this natural remedy can sometimes take care of the nausea completely on its own. Grateful for your comment. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • brittonrs26
    11 months ago

    I sip on peppermint tea, the one made by Heather’s Tummy Tamers. Strongest peppermint flavor out of every tea I’ve tried.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @brittonrs26 – Thanks so much for the brand name of a good strong peppermint tea! Much appreciated for those of us on the lookout. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • zahkree
    11 months ago

    I just want to add my trick for holding the nausea back. I use phenergan when I take any of my pain pills, however I “supplement” dill pickle juice with my light nausea.. it calms my stomach and help tremendously. There may be a need to experiment with brands, my favorite is Mt. Olive, Kosher Petite Dills. I can nibble on the pickles as well.. I have want to try the ginger pills, I hate the take of ginger so getting the pills to deliver it direct may do the trick. There is also the old standby of cold Sprite, it help with nausea.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @28wa4m8– I’m fascinated by this approach! Pickle juice! Sounds so unappealing when considering a nauseated stomach but if it works, I won’t question it. i wonder if there’s something about the elixing nature of vinegar? Really interesting. Thanks for sharing one we had not heard. That is truly unique! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @2adunj0– I think you might be onto something there with the salt thing. Thanks for your input! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • 2adunj0
    11 months ago

    Could the high salt content be a factor?

  • Ann-Annie Parks Heck
    11 months ago

    I have had my headaches 35+ years and I don’t know–wow, I’ll have to try these. my nausea is so severe that I take phenergan w my pain pill which takes care of the nausea, & relaxes me so I can sleep & so helps nausea + headache. But thank you for these ideas, a natural solution is far better that a pill so I will check them out. thank you.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @ann-annieparks-heck– Thanks for sharing. The one-two punch of pain pill plus phenergan can do worlds to knock nausea and vomiting out- but for many it also knocks us out of consciousness and we end up sleeping the day away. Not something I’d mind every now and then, but because I struggle with nausea on a daily basis, it’s not something I can turn to so frequently. If nausea is not something that comes up so frequently, the gold standard of phenergan might but just the right thing. Either way, I’m glad this article presented you with some new ideas. Stay in touch. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • zahkree
    11 months ago

    i guess that this is a me too, Phenergan with every pain pill or it all come up. If you can stand it pickle juice.. it helps me.. dill pickles.

  • trigeminalgal
    11 months ago

    Ondansetron the dissolving kind for when it is really bad. I try to avoid that because if I take it while taking oxycodone I can get a bit constipated. When I have nausea, but don’t think I’m actually going to vomit; Coca-cola, the imported kind with sugar in it instead of corn syrup. I always keep a couple of bottles on hand. If it is late in the day (I am caffeine sensitive) I will drink the fancy ginger ale from the healthfood store. It is made with real ginger and it doesn’t have all the additional flavorings or chemicals that the regular brands do. I try not to add anything else into the mix that might make things worse when I already have a migraine. So I avoid things that are rumoured to be unhealthy. Maybe the whole corn syrup being bad is hogwash but I only drink soda when I’m having a migraine, so I will spend a little more and the kind with the sugar taste a lot better.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    HI @trigeminalgal– Thanks so much for your tips. I agree on the fancy ginger ale. The kind I mention in the video is called Q ginger beer and is the type you describe (you can find it at whole foods but also you can order it from amazon). I also wanted to mention to you a potential approach for constipation- a real issue for many of us migraineurs. It has worked wonders for me. It is called Natural Calm- it is a powdered mixture meant to be mixed with water to drink. It’s basically just magnesium (a supplement that many people with migraines take as a preventative). It might be something you might want to mention to your doctor or to do some research on for yourself (it’s also something you can order from amazon- there are many flavors available). Best of luck and thanks again for sharing! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Lori
    11 months ago

    Mild nausea: Sprite and Bagel Crisps (the New York Style brand) work best for me at this stage, especially the everything or sea salt flavors. Sometimes I will take a peppermint tums too. If my sinuses are clogged I do a nasal rinse – I have found that my sinus problems are one of the triggers.
    Severe nausea: When I get this bad I usually take Promethazine before I start the cycle of dry heaving since I will be unable to keep anything down after that.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Hi Lori- Thank you for sharing what works for you. Carbonated, salty, minty- there is definitely a theme going on in terms of suggestions that falls under those categories (and ginger!). The sinus idea is an interesting one too! Glad to be learning from you. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • deedeevee1
    11 months ago

    While I was in one of the headache clinics I learned that if I’m out and about and get hit with a bout of nausea, peanut butter is a great help!!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @deedeevee1– Wow! This seems absolutely counterintuitive! I mean, it doesn’t sound like it would appeal to a nauseated stomach, but I’m (and I’m sure others are) desperate enough to give anything a try. Thanks for the tip. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Deedeevee 1- you won me over with nutter butters. I’ll give those a try next time. Thanks for the tip! Warmly, Holly B. (Migraine.com team).

  • deedeevee1
    11 months ago

    I know it doesn’t. But it works!! Peanut butter crackers, bite size nutter butters work best for me, or the cheese crackers with the peanut butter. I have them stashed everywhere.

  • Talenyn01
    11 months ago

    I’ve found that sipping hot cinnamon-orange tea with honey and diffusing cinnamon-clove essential oil works much better than mint or ginger flavored things. Getting some sort of sugar and protein in my system also takes the edge off. I generally try to slowly sip hot milk with cinnamon syrup or a cold slimfast shake before moving on to dry cheerios.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Hi @talenyn01– What an interesting combination of strategies! Thanks so much for sharing what works for you with the rest of us. Very helpful. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • kwaichang
    11 months ago

    I take Ginger
    rood 550mg to help settle my nausea.
    at times I may add valerian Root too; when the problem persists.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Hi @kwaichang – Grateful to you for these tips. I’m going to go online and order ginger root capsules later today. I appreciate knowing what dosage works for you. I’d heard of valerian root. Interesting to hear that you use them in concert when needed. Thanks so much for sharing! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • v3aep6
    11 months ago

    I find ginger tablets good. I also take domperidone tablets when I feel my stomach “shutting down” and these can help to keep my stomach working if I take them early enough.
    Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    hi @v3aep6 – Thanks so much for these suggestions. I am learning so much from all of you. I had never even heard of ginger root tablets before reading these comments. I also hadn’t head of domperidone tablets. I’ll mention these to my physician next time I have a visit. I appreciate you sharing what works for you. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • chica22
    11 months ago

    Oh forgot! Chamomile tea…always helps

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Ah! Another great idea! Thanks again, @chica! – Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • chica22
    11 months ago

    I eat a couple of soda crackers with a little water. It seems to absorb the acid in my stomach and calm the nausea. No other food or it becomes like a cement brick in there. I also massage my stomach area because it seems like my digestion comes to a halt. In fact, I’ve read that slowed or stopped digestion is common with migraine. Can’t remember the officially term for that.

  • aurohra
    11 months ago

    I know what you mean about your sluggish stomach! Oral treatments are not much help if I don’t treat the nausea in the first 30 minutes… I use ondansetron (Zoltan ODT) Orally Disolving Tablets. Once I miss that window I need a dark room with ice packs on head and tummy. The ice on your stomach is uncomfortable but very distracting! sometimes peppermint tea. Even my daughters at ages 8 and 4 know how to get my throw-up bag and ice packs and my oldest makes me tea. If I feel the nausea coming but don’t have any zofran then I will try to get a little protein in (raw almonds), something salty or ginger flavored.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @chica– Hi there! I like the idea of the soda crackers. Thanks for sharing that. I had not heard of an official digestive issue that goes along with Migraine but it wouldn’t surprise me. It certainly has a comprehensive and far reaching impact on our bodies- from clenched jaws, loss of words, to painful hair follicles – and so much more! I know that many of the medications we take for Migraine can cause digestive issues as side effects. Thanks again for your comment. Always great to hear from you. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Purplelady63
    11 months ago

    I keep a bottle of coke syrup on hand, you have to get it from the pharmacy. pour a small amount of crushed ice and sip it slowly, works for me, also worked when I was pregnant “years ago” If that is not possible take a diet coke and let the fizzy die, and it will also help. It is a very old remedy but it still works.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @purplelady63– Thank you so much for these instructions re: coke syrup. When we launched this article on facebook initially, many people rang in with comments about coke syrup- absolutely swearing by it. I appreciate your walking us through where to get it and how to use it. Thanks again. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • texotexere
    11 months ago

    I drink watered down ginger ale when it’s not too bad. When it’s horrible, I take liquid Zofran (I can’t keep down the pills). Also, I find sitting in a shower helps if I can get that far- my body temp tends to get out of whack during an episode and it can make the nausea worse, so if I can get my temp stable, it helps. Also, when I’m having a migraine with low or no pain (more nausea and vertigo), I listen to audio books which helps distract me so I don’t think about it too much.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @texotexere – These are great ideas! Thank you for sharing. My temperature also gets wonky during attacks. I hadn’t thought of trying to regulate it with a shower. I’ve taken a bath before and made it worse because it was too hot. I’m also a huge fan of audiobooks as distraction. I hadn’t heard of liquid zofran, but am unfortunately well-acquainted with phenergan suppositories also due to not being able to keep pills down. Thanks again for offering your great ideas. Glad you’re here. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • David
    11 months ago

    My first line of defense against nausea is this. I swallow 3 ginger root capsules. At times I also use a few sips of ginger ale or sprite. The ginger works amazingly well for me. I know that people who never suffer from migraine cannot understand the misery and the hours and days of life lost due to these merciless attacks. I am still looking for a doctor who has migraine. After seeing many doctors of all kinds I am persuaded that frequent migraine attacks is the best training for a doctor who wants to treat migraine patients. Thank you for this post. -my best to you

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Hi David- Thank you so much for these ideas. Ginger root capsules? Where do you find these? I suppose at any health food store. Sounds like a great way to get straight to the source. An interesting thought to have the diagnosis of Migraine as a search parameter for a Migraine specialist. In my experience many doctors in the field have had the disease (to some degree) which might be what brought them to the field. My doctor has Migraine (rarely, but enough to know what it’s like). If he had frequent attacks, I’d be concerned that he wouldn’t be able to hold down the kind of demanding practice he has. Still, I understand and appreciate your point. This list does not provide the answer as to whether or not a specialist lives with Migraine, but it might help you identify specialists in your area and then you can call and ask, if you’d like: https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/ . Glad you’re a part of our community. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team)

  • 26pyb05
    11 months ago

    Coke/Diet Coke. New find after 35 years of migraine: dramamine for when it goes on and on or I need to swallow meds

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Hi @26pyb05 – Thanks so much for these tips! When this article launched on facebook, many people mentioned coke or coke syrup. I wonder why this works so well. Dramamine is a brilliant idea! So logical and yet something that has never occurred to me before. Thanks for the idea. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Deb35802
    11 months ago

    I sip on room temperature ginger ale or drink hot gingerbread tea (Celestial Seasonings). Also keeping my head as still as possible helps.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    @deb35802 – Thank you so much for offering your ideas. I’ve never heard of that flavor of tea. I’ll have to check that out. Certainly there is a ginger trend going on here! Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • Dee
    11 months ago

    Eno fruit salts helps for me and small sips of water.

  • Deb35802
    11 months ago

    What are fruit salts and where can it be purchased? I’ve never heard of them.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    Dee- Thanks for the tip! I’ve not heard of the Eno fruit salts before. I’ll have to look into those. Warmly, Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • LostCarcosa25
    11 months ago

    I take ondansetron self-dissolving tablets (8mg), but their efficacy is hit or miss. However, gingerbread cookies (homemade with my mama’s love, of course) work wonders for both my nausea and GERD.

  • aurohra
    11 months ago

    I never put it together before… maybe that’s why I love gingersnap cookies so much!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    11 months ago

    LostCarcosa25- Hoorah for ginger in anything! I love gingerbread cookies too. If you are open to sharing your mom’s recipe I know many on this site (including me) who would be grateful! Warmly. Holly B. (migraine.com team).

  • StefiW
    11 months ago

    I have been able to prevent vomiting or cut down the number of times significantly at home with a combo of ondansetron (I swallow it at the first sign of nausea because I can’t stand the taste in mouth) and phenadoz (Promethazine hydrochloride) suppositories.

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