Prevention of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are common consequences of operations and anesthesia, which delay the recovery of the body and worsen people’s well-being. Patients are usually offered antiemetic medications to relieve symptoms; however, aromatherapy is also an effective and safe alternative to medicines. In this work, a PICOT question will be used to carefully examine both the harm and effectiveness of treatments such as medications and aromatherapy for postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV).

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PICOT questions are a useful instrument for creating accurate and precise research. They include determinations of Patients, Intervention, Comparison with other methods, Outcomes, and Time for treatment, which will be marked in the text (“What is a PICOT question?” 2020). The group of patients (P) who experience postoperative nausea and vomiting can be quite extensive since any person, regardless of age and gender, may experience these symptoms. However, there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of PONV, such as female sex, motion sickness, smoking, age under 50, obesity, and delayed gastric emptying (Nagarekha, Shaikh, Hegade, & Marutheesh, 2016).

In most cases, unpleasant symptoms are not fatal, although they can slow the patient’s recovery due to suture damage, dehydration, and fatigue. However, PONV is usually quite quickly eliminated with the help of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures. Studies show that one of the safest and most effective methods is aromatherapy (I), which reduces symptoms in 88% of people (Chase & Penney, 2018). Ginger, peppermint, spearmint, or cardamom oils are used for patients of any age since aromatic vapors are harmless; they eliminate nausea, relax, and calm the nervous system.

Most often, aromatherapy is combined with antiemetic medicines, or only medications are used to prevent PONV. The basis of their action is the work of active substances of medicines that block the mechanisms in the brain, vestibular apparatus, or intestines (Nagarekha et al., 2016). This mechanism prevents the expulsion of upper gastrointestinal contents through the mouth and the sensation of nausea that accompanies this process (Nagarekha et al., 2016).

Nevertheless, these medicines have a list of side effects that can interfere with the patient’s recovery. The most common adverse effects of taking medication are headache, dizziness, and dry mouth; however, they can also cause constipation, indigestion, sedation, hypotension, extrapyramidal syndromes, insomnia, urinary retention, and other severe consequences (Whitley, 2019). In addition, these medicines should be combined with the main course of a patient’s treatment because improper prescribing can lead to more traumatic consequences.

Consequently, it can be noted that although medications are more effective than aromatherapy, they can also be more dangerous to the health of the patient (C). The goal and outcome (O) of using both treatment methods is the reduction of the unpleasant symptoms that the patient experience and acceleration of his or her recovery. Usually, patients feel better after the first use of any of these methods of treatment, and it may take several days (T) to eliminate the symptoms completely.

In addition, according to Chase and Penney (2018), 92% of patients noted that the effect of aromatherapy lasted as long as antiemetic medication. Hence, an alternative method to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting is almost as effective as medication treatment. However, aromatic vapors have not adverse effects if the patient has no allergies and are safe and cheap. For this reason, the use of aromatherapy may be more beneficial for patients and hospitals.

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In conclusion, postoperative nausea and vomiting are common sicknesses in patients that can be treated with antiemetic medications and aromatherapy. Both measures have almost the same effectiveness and eliminate unpleasant symptoms quickly, so they can be used both individually and in combination. However, aromatherapy is a safer and more cost-effective method of treatment, and therefore its use should be encouraged in hospitals.


Chase, M.F., & Penney, L. (2018). Aromatherapy: Using essential oils to decrease post operative nausea and vomiting in adult ambulatory surgery patients. Providence St. Joseph Health Digital Commons. Web.

Nagarekha, D., Shaikh, S., Hegade, G., & Marutheesh, M. (2016). Postoperative nausea and vomiting: A simple yet complex problem. Anesthesia: Essays and Researches, 10(3), 388. Web.

What is a PICOT question? (2020). Web.

Whitley, M. (2019). The use of aromatherapy for the treatment of post-operative nausea vomiting (Undergraduate Thesis). Retrieved from University Honors Theses. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Prevention of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting." July 10, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Prevention of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting'. 10 July.

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