Post Operative Nausea and Vomiting (PONV)

Post Operative Nausea and Vomiting (PONV): Understanding The Causes and Treatment Options

Post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is one of the most common complications that affects patients after surgery. It’s estimated that up to 40% of patients experience PONV after an operation. While there are many potential causes, the severity of symptoms can vary widely depending on the patient’s overall health and the kind of surgery they’ve undergone. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help patients manage and reduce their symptoms of PONV.

What Are the Causes Of Post Operative Nausea and Vomiting?

PONV can be caused by many factors, including:

  • Anesthesia: Anesthesia can cause vomiting due to its effects on the body’s natural balance of chemicals.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antiemetics, opioids, and barbiturates, can cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration is a common cause of nausea and vomiting after surgery.
  • Infection: Infection can cause the body to respond by vomiting.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Issues such as acid reflux, ulcers, or other gastrointestinal issues can cause nausea and vomiting after surgery.

What Are The Treatment Options For PONV?

The primary aim of treatment for PONV is to reduce nausea and vomiting. Treatment options include:

  • Medications: Antiemetic medications, such as ondansetron or metoclopramide, can help relieve the symptoms of PONV.
  • IV Fluids: IV fluids help to replenish the fluids lost during surgery and can reduce the risk of dehydration, which can contribute to PONV.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids can help reduce the severity of PONV.
  • Diet Modification: Eating small, frequent meals can help keep nausea and vomiting at bay.


PONV can lead to extreme discomfort and even more serious complications. It’s important for patients to be aware of the potential causes and treatments for PONV so that they can take the necessary steps to reduce their symptoms and prevent further complications.