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.

SubscribeJoin 80,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter.

Your username will be visible to others.

Leave a Reply

55 comments on “What’s Your Secret: How Do You Handle Nausea?

  1. pigeongirl says:

    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!

  2. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  3. pigeongirl says:

    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 😀

  4. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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!

  5. SuperDave says:

    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.

  6. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  7. 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.

  8. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  9. LUEYBUG says:

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

  10. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  11. brittonrs26 says:

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

  12. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  13. zahkree says:

    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.

  14. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  15. 2adunj0 says:

    Could the high salt content be a factor?

  16. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

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

  17. 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.

  18. zahkree says:

    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.

  19. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  20. 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.

  21. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  22. Lori says:

    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.

  23. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  24. deedeevee1 says:

    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!!

  25. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  26. deedeevee1 says:

    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.

  27. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  28. Talenyn01 says:

    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.

  29. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  30. kwaichang says:

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

  31. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  32. v3aep6 says:

    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.

  33. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  34. Chica says:

    Oh forgot! Chamomile tea…always helps

  35. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

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

  36. Chica says:

    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.

  37. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  38. aurohra says:

    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.

  39. Purplelady63 says:

    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.

  40. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  41. texotexere says:

    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.

  42. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  43. David says:

    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

  44. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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)

  45. 26pyb05 says:

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

  46. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  47. Deb35802 says:

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

  48. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    @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).

  49. Dee says:

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

  50. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  51. Deb35802 says:

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

  52. 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.

  53. Holly Baddour moderator author says:

    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).

  54. StefiW says:

    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.

  55. aurohra says:

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

Please read our rules before commenting.
Reader favorites