Throwing up or vomiting refers to the involuntary ejection of the stomach’s contents through the mouth or, in some cases, even the nose. This is a natural reaction of the body, which helps us clear our digestive tract and stomach of potentially harmful elements.
Throwing up voluntarily isn’t unheard of. Most people, however, would not do so unless absolutely necessary. The majority of people tend to display a strong revolting reaction at the mere thought of vomiting. In fact, this thought can be unsettling for even those with a resilient stomach.
That said, throwing up can sometimes be necessary to rid your body of unpleasant or toxic substances that you may have ingested. Indigestion, acidity or food poisoning, for instance, can be easily relieved by vomiting. Consuming large amounts of alcohol or pills can make you uncomfortable or even pose a danger to your life. In such a situation, their voluntary expulsion may be the only way out.
Further, people voluntarily throw up to lose weight. This can be extremely dangerous and is never recommended. In fact, it indicates a type of eating disorder and can adversely affect your health in the long term (more on this later in the post).
It is always best to talk to your medical practitioner if you ever decide on throwing up voluntarily.
Things About Throwing Up That Are Worth Your Attention
1. It Need Not Be Alarming
While you may feel extremely uncomfortable and disconcerted after vomiting, know that it is not always a cause for alarm. According to findings, nausea and vomiting during the first trimester among pregnant women indicates a lower risk of miscarriage.
For others, vomiting is an effective way to get an infection out of your system. However, if the vomiting is severe and giving rise to other medical conditions, such as dehydration, you may need medical help.
2. Stomach Bugs Aren’t the Only Culprits
While vomiting is often the result of a stomach virus, it may not always be so. In children, for instance, vomiting is also a sign of migraine or strep throat. In babies, persistent spitting up may be a symptom of an acid reflux. Similarly, sudden vomiting can point towards an intestinal blockage among grownups. It is best to get your symptoms checked and treated by a doctor.
3. The Color Speaks Volumes
Typically, your vomit consists of what you have eaten. So if you see food particles in your throw up, you need not worry. However, if your vomit is black or red in color, or looks like jelly, it could mean that you have a serious health issue and are possibly throwing up blood. In such a situation, consult your doctor as soon as you can.
4. It Can Kill You
That’s right. Throwing up can take your life if it isn’t treated or stopped. That’s because you can get dehydrated, which is a serious health condition by itself. If you’ve been self-treating and are still throwing up for over three hours without keeping anything down, call your doctor immediately. They may treat you with intravenous fluids.
5. Emetophobia Is Real
Emetophobia, or the fear of throwing up, is a very real phenomenon. In fact, those who suffer from it may experience overwhelming anxiety about their bodies, being around other people who may be ill, and germs. Feeling sick or seeing someone else vomit can trigger a panic attack.
Even the mere thought of someone vomiting “can cause the phobic person to engage in extreme behaviors to escape the perceived threat of that particular situation, in which the phobic person will go to great lengths to avoid even potential situations that could even be perceived as ‘threatening’.”
6. There Exists a “Vomiting Machine”
Researchers at the North Carolina State University built a “vomiting machine” in a bid to study the norovirus pathogen, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. The machine is helping scientists figure out how the virus is transmitted. The device has been described as “a glorified air compressor with a grotesque clay face.”
How to Make Yourself Throw Up
More often than not, it is safe to induce vomiting to relieve yourself of the discomfort caused due to the ingestion of rotten food, if your body doesn’t do so naturally.
It is also relatively safe to make yourself throw up if you have consumed a non-corrosive poison, such as cyanide, heroin, pills, or other drugs.
However, consulting with your doctor and poison control center before trying to induce vomiting is always recommended.
If you ever find yourself in a situation when vomiting is your only means of relief, give the below methods a try to throw up safely.
1. Use Your Fingers
This is probably the most common, easiest, and simplest method of throwing up. Here’s what you need to do:
- Wash your hands thoroughly to make sure your nails and fingers are clean. Trim your nails so you don’t end up hurting the inside of your mouth or throat. Remove any rings that you may be wearing.
- Begin by inserting your fingers in your mouth. Move them along your tongue, pushing them towards your throat. Doing so helps activate your inbuilt gag reflex.
- When you start to gag, remove your fingers from your mouth. If you have done it right, you will immediately vomit, expelling the harmful contents from your stomach.
- If you don’t vomit immediately, however, try repeating this process until you do.
- If you are leaning over the toilet to puke in it, kneeling down when you throw up can help prevent physical stress on the abdomen.
- Similarly, those using a sink should grab on to something sturdy to remain in control.
As this is a fairly easy and effective method of throwing up, most people prefer it over others. However, some may feel queasy at the thought of using their fingers to instigate vomiting. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways they can give a shot.
2. Try Salty Water
This is another easy way to induce vomiting. Here’s what you need to do:
- Add two heaped teaspoons of salt to a glass of water and mix well.
- Once the salt has completely dissolved, consume this saline concoction in a single gulp.
- After drinking this solution, you should throw up in about 25 to 30 minutes. You can speed up the process by pushing a finger down your throat to activate your gag reflex.
While it is not easy to forcefully gulp down a glass of salt water, doing so will certainly help in getting the desired result. This is because any substance that can affect the body’s natural electrolyte balance can be instrumental in making you throw up. Salt contains high amounts of sodium, which disrupts the electrolyte balance, making it effective in helping you throw up.
3. Give De-carbonated Soda a Go
Colas and sodas come with varying degrees of sugar content. Just as sodium influences your body’s natural electrolyte balance, so does de-carbonated soda.
- The idea is to get rid of the bubbles (created by the presence of carbon dioxide) in the cola. For this, you may want to remove the soda in a glass and set it aside for a few minutes.
- Once the bubbles disappear, you will be left with the cola-flavored sugary syrup. Drinking this liquid after every half-an-hour will help you throw up.
- As soon as you are ready to throw up, drink a glass of water after consuming the cola for quicker results.
It is best to consume high-sugar varieties of cola as they are more capable of inducing vomit. These sugar-rich liquids disrupt your body’s electrolytic balance in an instant, thereby helping you eliminate all the cola liquid and other substances that may have upset your stomach.
4. Opt for Egg Whites
This method is simple and straightforward too.
- Break open an egg and separate the white from the yolk in different cups.
- Put the egg white in your mouth, but do not swallow it. Instead gargle with it until your gag reflex is activated.
- You will now be able to vomit, expelling the unwanted contents from your stomach promptly.
The runny and greasy egg whites are probably the last thing you can imagine filling your mouth with. Add to that the nasty smell of egg whites and you have a surefire recipe for a throw-up concoction ready to be ingested.
5. Go for the Mustard-and-Water Solution
If you’re already gagging by the mention of this solution, we wouldn’t be surprised! That’s why this solution may work for you.
- Mix one to two teaspoons of mustard spread with a glass of water.
- Consume this solution in a single gulp.
If you choose to go for this method for throwing up, be careful not to overdo it. Mustard is high in sodium, which means it will certainly make you nauseous. Consuming this solution in large quantities, however, can harm your health.
6. Watch Other People Throw Up
Another quick and effective way to bring on feelings of nausea is watching other people throw up. This disgusting sight can give rise to a strong urge to vomit as well. Watching videos of other people throwing up can be helpful.
7. Subject Yourself to Unpleasant Smells or Sights
If none of the above methods work for you, try this.
- Simply walk into an environment where you can find rotting garbage emitting strong offensive odors.
- The sight and smell of garbage can prompt your brain, and you may respond by feeling nauseous and finally, vomiting.
Sometimes, all it takes is a strong whiff of foul odor to make someone vomit. This method may be particularly effective if you’re sensitive to smell as the unpleasant odors (and sight) might make you nauseous instantly.
8. Use a Toothbrush
Just like your fingers, you can also use a toothbrush for inducing throwing up. This can be effective if you aren’t comfortable with the idea of using your fingers for this purpose.
- To begin with, wet the bristles of your toothbrush. Be careful and make sure to not insert the toothbrush too deep and/or brush vigorously. Doing so may harm your mouth and throat.
- Rub the bristles on the back of your tongue until your gag reflex is activated. If it doesn’t work the first time, try repeating it. In fact, you may want to try using another toothbrush to see if that’s more effective.
9. Think about Things That Make You Throw Up
A great way to make yourself throw up is to think about the various elements that can induce vomiting.
- Think about unpleasant smells or sights which can seriously offend your senses.
- Think of the medicines or food ingredients which don’t agree with you or imagine someone else vomiting.
10. Take Emetics
Simply put, emetics are medicinal drugs that help induce vomiting. They are commonly found in the form of syrup. Ipecac syrup is a great example of an emetic. It is also available in the form of emetic tablets.
- When taking the syrup, mix it in water and drink in a single gulp.
- If you are taking tablets, consume them with water as you would normally.
Emetics cause the walls of your stomach to contract, giving rise to nausea, and eventually vomiting, allowing you to expel undesired contents from your stomach.
Some doctors recommend it as a safe way of cleansing your stomach of toxins and harmful substances. Others, however, do not recommend emetics due to their side effects. Make sure to speak to your doctor about using emetics if you plan on going down this road.
11. Simply Spin
By this, we do not mean you get on a roller coaster and ride on it until you get nauseous. After all, the chances of finding and getting on a roller coaster are nil when you’re suffering from food poisoning and want to throw up as a remedial measure.
A great way to try this method at home is by sitting in a revolving chair and spinning around until you feel nauseous. Motion sickness often leads to vomiting. If you’re prone to motion sickness, this method may work for you.
Throwing up can have the following effects on your body:
- Dehydration: When you vomit, your body loses significant amount of water.
- Tooth enamel erosion: Acids from your stomach can soften and erode your tooth enamel.
- Aspiration: Vomit can reach your airways and lungs, resulting in aspiration pneumonia. This, in turn, can cause swelling and infections in your airways.
- Burns in the esophagus: Acids from your stomach can lead to esophagitis, a condition of inflammation, swelling, and burns in your esophagus.
- Tears in the esophagus: A severe side effect that occurs when you vomit violently and forcefully, leading to the tearing of the esophagus. Esophageal rupture can cause saliva, food, and vomit to enter the chest cavity.
What to Do After Throwing Up
It’s important to help your body and digestive tract recover from the above effects of vomiting. Here’s what you can do:
1. Clean Your Mouth
After vomiting, rinse thoroughly and gargle with plain water to remove all traces of stomach acid from your mouth and teeth. This will protect your tooth enamel from softening and corroding.
Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting. Doing so will erode the tooth enamel that has already been softened by the stomach acid. Wait around 30 minutes before brushing.
2. Drink Some Water
Rehydrate your body by sipping small quantities of water. However, do so only after you stop feeling nauseous.
You can also sip on some lemon water to calm your stomach. Be careful as drinking too much water can make you nauseous again.
3. Eat Light
When you start to feel hungry again, keep things light by eating bland food like rice water, soups, puddings, bananas, and yogurt. This kind of food is ideal because it is gentle on your stomach and easily digestible.
4. Indulge in Herbal Tea
Herbal teas work extremely well in improving digestion and protecting the digestive tract. Ginger tea is particularly known for fighting nausea, while chamomile tea is great for calming the stomach.
5. Get Much-Needed Rest
Vomiting leaves your body deprived of vital nutrients and fluids. Getting adequate rest is a good way to recover from the side-effects of throwing up. Stay in bed and get some sleep to let your body recuperate.
Is It Advisable to Force Yourself to Throw Up?
In certain circumstances, it may be wise, even advisable to induce vomiting. If, for example, you’ve eaten something contaminated or drank too much alcohol, vomiting may be a great way to relieve your stomach. In fact, you may vomit without even trying.
Sometimes, overeating can make people nauseous, but not to the point of actually vomiting. You may have accidentally taken the wrong medication and want to remove it from your system in the fastest and easiest way possible.
While making yourself throw up in the above situations is safe, it is always best to consult with your doctor if you’re taking this route. A medical health professional is the best person to advise you on the appropriate medically-safe steps.
Inducing Vomiting for Weight Loss: A Psychological Issue
Your medical practitioner may want to know about your motivations behind inducing vomiting. This is because there may be certain psychological reasons associated with such a decision, which is a major concern.
In a world that is becoming increasingly obsessed with appearances and achieving physical “perfection,” you may have considered forcing yourself to vomit after eating something in the hope that doing so will help you control your weight.
If this is indeed the case with you, it is recommended you speak to a mental health professional at the earliest.
A lot of people who induce vomiting develop a pattern of compulsive behavior called bulimia nervosa or bulimia. This is a serious eating disorder and can be potentially life-threatening. Bulimic individuals tend to overeat or binge on food, and then purge to eliminate the extra calories in an unhealthy manner.
Over time, this practice takes a toll on the body, resulting in harmful physical and emotional effects, without bringing about any long-term weight loss. In fact, you could end up gaining weight in the long term.
These kind of practices can also lead to an electrolyte imbalance and cause a heart attack, among other serious side-effects.
When it comes to eliminating toxins and other harmful substances from your body, throwing up can prove to be an effective method. However, it is always best to speak to your doctor if you plan to try it yourself. It is advised to induce vomiting only if you have food poisoning or if you have ingested a non-corrosive toxin. Do not induce vomiting if you have ingested a corrosive substance, and contact your medical practitioner as soon as you can.
This post should help you understand how this method works, as well as know about some effective and relatively safer ways to make yourself throw up. Do keep in mind not to make a habit out of them though. Know that vomiting frequently can damage your digestive tract. Make sure to calm your stomach and take care of yourself after you throw up.
Self-induced vomiting should never be used as a weight-loss practice. This can become a habit that will harm you greatly in the long term. Your body may get used to throwing up on its own, which in turn, can lead to other serious life-threatening issues.