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 Ask Dr Moore - Anesthesia and Nausea

ASK DR.MOORE March 05, 2004

Dr. Mark Moore, author of the gender selection book Baby Girl or Baby Boy--Choose the Sex of Your Child, answers readers' questions on pregnancy and pediatrics.

 

Anesthesia and Nausea
Q: I've had severe nausea and vomiting the last two times I was put to sleep, but my friend who had a similar procedure did not. Is it the anesthesia or is it me?

Dr.Moore: It may be a little of both. There are many factors that influence post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV) including, but not limited to: surgery type, anesthesia type, patient susceptibility, and patient medical history. Certain surgeries are more likely to cause PONV. Eye surgery and ENT procedures are particularly notorious, as are those involving peritoneal "open abdomen". Joint surgery can also be very stimulating to the nausea trigger zones of the brain.
Most general anesthesia gases cause some level of PONV, although this is reduced by anti-nausea medications given during surgery. Newer intravenous anesthetics cause less nausea than the gases, but are not always applicable to the surgery type scheduled. Individual patient susceptibility can be a factor, and as one ages, this seems to worsen. To lessen PONV after your next surgery, try to eat light the day before surgery, and then post-op, eat more like a bird than a tiger. If you are "a little bit hungry" all day and at bedtime, you'll have less difficulties. Maintain hydration with clear liquids and avoid fatty or spicy foods. Minimizing your physical (and mental) activity will also help.

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Readers may send questions to our email address. This column is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional or medical advice.

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