Nitrous Oxide

Women’s Care of Wisconsin is pleased to offer you the option of patient-controlled nitrous oxide to assist with pain relief and anxiety during your gynecological procedure.

What is Nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide, commonly called "laughing gas", is mainly used in dental offices to help with pain during dental procedures. When nitrous oxide is used for gynecologic pain/procedures, it is a mixture of 50% nitrous gas and 50% oxygen. This gas is inhaled through a mask that is provided by our facility. Nitrous oxide has been a common practice to help cope with pain for many years.

How does it work?
The nitrous oxide is self-administered by the patient. Women’s Care requires you to hold your own mask and begin to inhale the gas mixture for about 30 seconds before your procedure begins. You will breathe it in as you feel necessary. Nitrous oxide is cleared from the body through the lungs­—this means that as soon as you pull the mask away, the nitrous effect is gone within a few minutes.

How will I feel when using nitrous oxide?
Some women report feeling drowsy, light-headed, nauseous, or a little silly while using nitrous oxide. Due to some of these possible side effects, a member of our team will always be in the room while you are using nitrous oxide. These side effects should go away quickly when you stop breathing the nitrous oxide.

How does nitrous oxide help with pain during a procedure?
Each patient has a different experience when using nitrous oxide. Most women say the nitrous oxide helps “take the edge off”. It can help in lowering anxiety to better cope with pain. Some women do not find nitrous oxide helpful or do not like the way that is makes them feel. The use of nitrous oxide can be stopped at any time, and alternative pain management methods can be used.

Does it have any side effects?
Some women have reported nausea after a prolonged use of the gas; medication to help ease the nausea is available if that happens. It can also cause some unsteadiness when standing up. A member of our team will always be in the room when you are ready to stand, in case you need assistance.

Are there any reasons I could not use nitrous oxide?
Yes, you cannot use nitrous oxide if you:
  • Cannot hold your own facemask
  • Have a known vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Have received a narcotic medication within the past 2 hours
  • Have other medical conditions identified by your provider that place you at risk
For any questions or concerns, please call 920.729.7105 and talk with your provider or nurse.