Peppermint Oil as a Nursing Intervention

As treatment for Postoperative Nausea

Tate, Sylvina (1997). Peppermint oil: a treatment for postoperative nausea. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26, 543-549.
The purpose of this quantitative research study is to investigate the efficacy of peppermint oil as a treatment for postoperative nausea administered via olfactory route. The accessible populations were patients who underwent major gynecological surgery. The characteristics of the study consisted of a control group, a placebo group and an experimental group. The three groups were geographically isolated to prevent cross-contamination. The method of study used within this experiment to test the hypothesis was a three-condition experimental design in which 'peppermint oil' represented the dependent variable. The study required the collection of subjective a difficult-to quantify data. The accurate measurement of nausea was essential to the study even though nausea is regarded as 'subjective, unobservable phenomenon.' It was considered not possible to measure to measure the quantity or degree of nausea accurately without consulting the patient. There was claim that the instrument available would not be able to adequately validate and standardized. It was then decided to use a standardized descriptive ordinalscale to collect the subjective patient self-reported data-the peppermint oil was analyzed by a gas-liquid chemotography at an independent laboratory. The KroSkal-Walls test was used to compare data. The incidence of nausea in the control and experimental group was low, with severity varying between patients. There were two patients who reported no nausea from the experimental group. The incidence within the experimental group was high. The findings concluded with the quantitative data obtained from patients that there is some evidence to suggest that peppermint oil may improve postoperative nausea in gynecological patients.

Client Situation

DG is a 21-year-old female who was admitted to Women and Infants Hospital for an intra abdominal surgery. Two months prior DG was diagnosed with endometriosis. DG is scheduled for a laporoscopy. The laporoscopy was chosen above other treatments because this procedure will increase her potential of being able to become pregnant above the others. DG is a young woman who is getting married in a year and wants to be able to have children of her own. This is very important in DG's life.
Previous to the surgery the nurse and DG discussed the treatments available to deal with her postoperative nausea. DG decided that she would like to try a natural method and chose peppermint oil. DG understood that this would be administered via the olfactory route.
After the surgery was complete and DG was out of recovery, she said "my stomach hurts and I feel dizzy," while holding her stomach lying in bed. The nurse then took DG's vital signs, temperature 98.9, pulse 80, respiration's 19, and blood pressure 114/74. When taking DG's vitals the nurse noticed that DG was clammy to the touch. DG was asked by the nurse to rate her discomfort on a scale of 1-10. DG rated her discomfort a "7." With this information gathered the nurse decided to use the peppermint oil to help reduce DG's nausea. The peppermint oil was then administered to DG via the olfactory route. DG used the peppermint oil for the remainder of her postoperative stay of three days.
Assessment Data

Subjective Data:
The client states, "my stomach hurts and I feel dizzy." Discomfort was rated a "7" on a scale of 1-10.
Objective Data:
The client made this statement while lying in bed holding her stomach. The client felt clammy to the touch. Vital signs T-98.9, P-80, R-19, and BP-114/74.
Nursing Diagnosis:
Nutrition altered less than body requirement related to inability to ingest food.
Client will be able to eat a minimum of 50% of her meals by the end of postoperative day two.
Intervention with Rationale:
The nurse administered peppermint oil via the olfactory route to reduce nausea. Rationale: "It is fair to conclude that there is some evidence to suggest that peppermint oil may improve postoperative nausea" (Tate,1997, p.548).
Client is able to eat 52 % of her meal by breakfast on postoperative day two.
Client will report a discomfort level of less than four on a scale of 1-10.