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.
Ginger to Ease Nausea Due to Wegovy:
Surgery is not the only cause of nausea. In addition to some intestinal infections, certain medications may trigger this unwelcome sensation. Weight loss medications such as semaglutide (Wegovy) often cause nausea as well as other symptoms of digestive distress.
Q. I have begun taking Wegovy for weight loss. The only real side effect is nausea. It can hit me at any time, and though unpleasant, it isn’t severe. I heard that ginger helps to combat nausea, so I picked up some ginger chews at my pharmacy.
This has helped somewhat, but I am concerned that I cannot find how much ginger is actually in each chew. Are there other options that specify the quantity of ginger?
A. Ginger cookies or candy are unlikely to reveal dose. Ditto for chews or teas. You can probably find ginger capsules in a health food store. A typical dose of ginger (Zingiber officinale) for nausea is 1000 mg (Integrative Medicine Insights, March 31, 2016).
Other Approaches to Alleviating Post-Operative Nausea:
Another option you might consider is sniffing alcohol wipes. These are used to clean the skin before an injection, so you probably already have some for your injections. A Dutch study found that nauseated patients who sniffed isopropyl alcohol in the emergency room were less likely to require anti-emetic medication (International Journal of Emergency Medicine, Feb. 24, 2021).
This approach also works for post-operative nausea. In a randomized trial, post-op patients who sniffed 70% isopropyl alcohol from soaked cotton every half hour 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.
We also offer information about ginger and other natural approaches to common problems in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. Your local library may have a copy. If not, it is available in the store at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.