Purpose: This study examined the effect of peppermint spirits on postoperative nausea in women following a scheduled C-section.
Design: A pretest-posttest research design with three groups was used. The peppermint group inhaled peppermint spirits, the placebo aromatherapy control group inhaled an inert placebo, green-colored sterile water, and the standard antiemetic therapy control group received standard antiemetics, usually intravenous ondansetron or promethazine suppositories.
Methods: Women were randomly assigned to a group on admission to the hospital. If they became nauseated, nurses on the mother-baby unit assessed their nausea (baseline), administered the assigned intervention, and then reassessed participants' nausea 2 and 5 minutes after the initial intervention. Participants rated their nausea using a 6-point nausea scale.
Findings: Thirty-five participants became nauseated post-operatively. Participants in all three intervention groups had similar levels of nausea at baseline. The nausea levels of participants in the peppermint spirits group were significantly lower than those of participants in the other two groups 2 and 5 minutes after the initial intervention.
Conclusions: Peppermint spirits may be a useful adjunct in the treatment of postoperative nausea. This study should be replicated with more participants, using a variety of aromatherapies to treat nausea in participants with different preoperative diagnoses.