Minnesota Anesthesia Services

Why Anesthesia Causes Nausea 

Anesthesia is a necessary part of many surgeries and medical procedures. However, one common side effect of anesthesia is nausea, which can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. In this article, we’ll explore why anesthesia causes nausea and what you can do to prevent or manage it. 

Anesthesia causes nausea in a few ways. One of the main reasons is the use of certain drugs during anesthesia. For example, opioids and nitrous oxide are commonly used drugs that can cause nausea in some patients. 

Another reason for nausea after anesthesia is the changes that occur in the body during the procedure. Receiving anesthesia and undergoing the procedure can cause changes in the digestive system, such as slowing down the movement of food through the stomach and intestines. This can lead to nausea and vomiting. 

In addition, some patients may be more susceptible to nausea during anesthesia due to individual factors such as their medical history, age, and gender. For example, women are more likely to experience nausea during anesthesia than men. 

Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent or manage nausea if you receive anesthesia. Here are a few tips: 

  1. Let your doctor know about your history of nausea: Before your procedure, be sure to tell your doctor about any previous experiences with nausea or vomiting during anesthesia. They may be able to adjust the medications or dosages used during anesthesia to minimize the risk of nausea. 
  1. Avoid eating or drinking before surgery: Your doctor will likely give you specific instructions about when to stop eating and drinking before your procedure. Following these instructions can help prevent nausea during anesthesia. In addition to reducing your discomfort, ensuring that you don’t have food in your stomach when you receive anesthesia is critical for your safety as well. 
  1. Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated before and after your procedure can also help prevent nausea. Be sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids as recommended by your doctor. 
  1. Consider anti-nausea medications: Your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea medications to take before or after your procedure.  
  1. Practice relaxation techniques: Anxiety and stress can make nausea worse. Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or visualization can help reduce anxiety and prevent nausea. 
  1. Follow post-operative instructions: After your procedure, your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for yourself at home. Following these instructions can help reduce the risk of nausea and other complications. 
  1. Use ginger: Ginger is a natural remedy that can help relieve nausea. Consider drinking ginger tea or taking ginger supplements if you feel nauseous while recovering at home. 

Thanks to research and innovations, anesthesia is an incredibly safe component of modern medicine. Unfortunately, though major risks have been reduced or removed, anesthesia does still cause some unpleasant side effects, including nausea. However, by working with your doctor and following these tips, you can prevent or manage nausea and have a smoother, more comfortable experience during and after your procedure. If you have any concerns or questions about nausea during anesthesia, be sure to talk to your doctor.