Nausea and vomiting after surgery: what to expect

November 25, 2020
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What causes nausea and vomiting (N+V) after surgery?

  • Most commonly it is a side effect of the general anesthesia. It can, however, also be a side-effect of some medications including several analgesics (painkillers)

Can nausea and vomiting after surgery lead to problems?

  • 1-2 episodes of post-operative N+V is a fairly common (approx. 10% of patients) side-effect of surgery that typically resolves by itself or with simple treatment
  • More rarely, prolonged post-operative nausea and vomiting can lead to a cycle of dehydration & fatigue. This can be accompanied by a persistent headache and increased post-surgical pain. If you think you are entering this cycle you should call Dr Tregaskiss immediately to seek further advice.

How are nausea and vomiting treated?

  • If you are experiencing N+V at home after surgery, take the Gravol medication prescribed and follow your post-surgery advice about taking small but frequent volumes of fluids (preferably Gatorade-type fluids that contain salts and sugars)
  • If, however this is not working and the N+V has lasted more than 6 hours without being able to keep any fluids down, contact Dr T. for further advice

How long does nausea and vomiting after surgery last?

  • If it does occur, then typically it lasts for just for a few hours post-surgery. N+V beyond the day of surgery itself is usually related to pain medications. If this does not improve with Gravol, a change of pain medication is sometimes required. Call Dr T to discuss further.

Dr. Tregaskiss will work with you to find a painkiller and anti-nausea medication regime that is best going to meet your needs. Each individual is different and a tailored approach to medication is best to ensure we find out what works best for you to keep you comfortable and to prevent nausea and vomiting.