Post-operative nausea can be very troubling. People who have had any type of abdominal surgery definitely want to avoid throwing up. In addition to the usual unpleasantness, vomiting after surgery could be painful or even threaten the stitches.Even those who have had other types of surgery do not welcome nausea following surgery. One reader found that ginger made was extremely helpful in this situation.
Trying Ginger Tea for Post-Operative Nausea:
Q. After a recent orthopedic surgery, I experienced nausea as an after-effect of anesthesia. The anti-nausea meds did nothing, but a neighbor brought me ginger root. She instructed me to chop it and put it in a cup of water and heat it in the microwave. This ginger tea had an almost immediate effect and relieved my nausea for good. I was amazed.
A. Thank you for sharing your experience with ginger. Post-operative nausea is indeed a common reaction to anesthesia. In one study, clinical researchers compared the effects of ginger to those of a sedative, dexmedetomidine (Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, online Oct. 1, 2019). They found that both treatments eased nausea and vomiting, but ginger was more effective.
Investigators have also done placebo-controlled trials of ginger to prevent post-operative nausea and vomiting following eye surgery (Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, online Oct. 22, 2019). Patients who took ginger had significantly less nausea and unchanged vital signs.
Other Approaches to Alleviating Nausea:
Another intriguing approach to post-operative nausea is sniffing rubbing alcohol. A randomized trial found that when post-op patients sniffed 70% isopropyl alcohol from soaked cotton every half hour, they reported significantly less nausea and vomiting (Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, Dec. 2018).
You can learn more about ginger and other strategies for alleviating stomach upset in our eGuide to Digestive Disorders. Since both alcohol wipes and ginger are significantly less expensive than ondansetron (Zofran, Zuplenz), the gold standard medication for treating nausea, we wonder why clinicians don’t have people try one of those first.