Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Is Nitrous Oxide and How Does It Work?

Nitrous oxide, often called "laughing gas", has been a common practice to help cope with pain for many years. While it’s mainly used in dental offices, Women’s Care of Wisconsin is happy to offer you the option of patient-controlled nitrous oxide to assist with pain relief and anxiety during gynecological procedures.

Women’s Care’s Registered Nurse, Tanya Henry, explains that the nitrous oxide “helps relax you and helps you manage your pain” so that in-office procedures like getting a Pap smear or having an IUD placed are more comfortable.

When nitrous oxide is used for gynecologic procedures, it is a mixture of 50% nitrous gas and 50% oxygen. This gas is inhaled through a mask for about 30 seconds before the procedure begins and is self-administered by the patient, so you can breathe it in as you feel necessary.  

“Some people do find relief from the gas, however some people don’t see that the pain goes away, but they’re much more relaxed and allow us to do the procedure better because of it,” Tanya explains.

Nitrous oxide is cleared from the body through the lungs, so as soon as you pull the mask away, the nitrous effect starts to fade. Within a few minutes, the nitrous oxide will have left your system, making it a great option for women who need to drive after their procedure.

“Essentially, what it’s doing when we give you the nitrous is allowing you to relax so the doctor can do what they need to do and in the meantime you’re not feeling as much pain or discomfort,” Tanya says.

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

You can also learn more about nitrous oxide on our website by clicking here.

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