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Patient-Controlled Nitrous Oxide: What's It All About?

Nov. 13, 2023 9:17 am

At Women's Care, we believe in providing our patients with options so we can develop a health plan that meets both their physical and emotional needs. That means having the most advanced techniques, which is why we're happy to offer patient-controlled nitrous oxide to assist with pain relief and anxiety during gynecological procedures.

"We have a lot of women who are now choosing to use nitrous just because of the ease and the availability," Deidre Polar, RN, explains. "Before when we didn't have it, just the simple procedure of an IUD placement or a biopsy for a patient who couldn't tolerate it meant we would have to use sedation of some sort."

Nitrous oxide has been a common practice to help cope with pain for many years. Commonly called "laughing gas," nitrous oxide is mainly used in dental offices to help with pain during dental procedures. When used for gynecologic pain/procedures, it is a mixture of 50% nitrous gas and 50% oxygen. The gas is self-administered by the patient and inhaled through a mask for about 30 seconds before the procedure begins.

Unlike a sedative, the effects of nitrous oxide start to fade quickly as the gas is cleared from the body through the lungs. Within a few minutes after the nitrous oxide mask is pulled away, the gas leaves the patient's system, making it a great option for women who need to drive after their procedure.

"Nitrous oxide completely relaxes the patient enough without the complications that could arise when having to go to sleep," Deidre says. "It's much better than using a sedation option where the patient would be down and out for the rest of the day."

A common question Deidre hears from interested patients: "Are there any reasons I could not use nitrous oxide?"

You cannot use nitrous oxide, says Deidre, 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

If you would like more information about how to request nitrous oxide for your next procedure, please call our office at 920.729.7105 to speak with your provider or nurse.



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