Human body is an intricate machinery that is designed with such uniqueness and perfection that even the best of scientists have failed to understand it completely till date. From consumption of meals to the process of digestion and assimilation, each step is highly coordinated and is under the influence of hormones, chemical messengers and infinite pathways.
Similarly, vomiting itself is an extremely regulated phenomenon that involves not only the digestive system but nervous system, neurotransmitters and thousands of chemical stimuli that initiate it.
Emesis, commonly called vomiting in layman’s language, is the act of throwing up already eaten food. It is a forceful expulsion of gastric contents. Vomiting may be spontaneous as in case of several conditions like pregnancy or may be associated with diseased state like cancer, meningitis, concussions, appendicitis etcetera. Sometimes, vomiting has to be induced in order to get rid of feeling of nausea or general weakness.
If we look at it more clearly, vomiting is actually an effective mechanism to make the body get rid of toxins and harmful chemicals. Whether it’s the consumption of a bad meal or binge drinking, vomiting serves the purpose of ridding the body of obnoxious effects that follow.
Vomiting is a complex phenomenon that is under the control of area postrema (vomiting center) present in the fourth ventricle of the brain. It is the stimulation of this chemoreceptor trigger zone (area postrema) that initiates vomiting.
The pathway starts with either an obnoxious smell or revolting taste that initiates the release of several neurotransmitters like Substance P, acetylcholine, dopamine, opioids and many others. These chemical messengers have their receptors in the chemoreceptor trigger zone and their release stimulates the CTZ to initiate vomiting.
Of great interest is the fact that area postrema receives input from several other organs such as vestibule of the inner ear, pharynx, enteric nervous system and brain. This is the reason why abnormality in these organs can result in vomiting.
Most of the time, the body is quick enough to sense the presence of harmful substances and thus triggers a pathway that induces vomiting naturally. However, there are instances when the initial stimulus is not strong enough to induce vomiting and thus other measures need to be taken to get relief from discomfort and uneasiness.
This article covers all that you need to know about throwing up. From numerous methods that will help you induce vomiting to several safety measures that needs to be taken, we bring you everything that will help you deal in such emergency situations. This would be followed by dos and don’ts of such situations.
As already mentioned, the vomiting center in the brain receives input from pharynx. This is the back part of your throat. Inserting your finger in the back of the throat is the fastest and most efficient way to initiate a gag reflex. It is the simplest of all the methods and no raw materials or expertise is required to execute the plan.
Simply wash your hands and insert your finger in the mouth such that it touches the posterior one-third of your tongue. This would immediately send impulses to the brain via the ninth cranial nerve which would spark a gag reflex and help you throw up.
Gargle with plain water twice or thrice after throwing up to get rid of the sour taste of stomach acid in your mouth. Make sure that you wash your hands after you’re done with it. It might take you more than one attempt to be successful and there’s definitely no harm in giving it more than one try.
Fizzy drinks such as Pepsi and Coca Cola have a unique property of relieving upset stomach, which makes them an excellent remedy in cases of food poisoning. The fizz or bubbles created in the stomach help induce vomiting thus helping you get rid of the harmful food particles.
As much as salt water gargles helps relief sore throat, drinking salt water has proven to be an efficient emetic since ages. Mix two to three teaspoons of salt in a glass of warm water and drink it in one gulp to initiate vomiting. This remedy might take around half an hour to show its effects but the results are guaranteed.
The underlying phenomenon is really simple. Increased concentration of sodium chloride in the stomach activates a series of cascades that results in the emptying of gastric contents and provides relief from discomfort. However, severe hypernatremia may result in seizures and brain death so this method should be used with caution.
Another great homemade emetic that does wonders is mustard solution. Easy to prepare and quick to respond, mustard solution is miraculous when it comes to relieving stomach ache and induce vomiting.
Mix one tablespoon of mustard in a glass of warm water and drink it really quickly. The pungent smell of the solution would send stimuli to the area postrema via the olfactory pathway and would initiate vomiting. It might take up to thirty minutes to show its full effect. However, if you’re in a hurry then the finger trick can be used in conjunction with mustard solution for optimum results. Believe me you won’t be disappointed with this one.
Stomach is a muscular organ that has the capacity to expand in response to food intake. Increased consumption of food can lead to hyper-expansion of the stomach. This expansion of the stomach musculature may even cause tummy ache and as a result the stomach would make an attempt to expel out excess contents via vomiting.
This method is very crude and has a significant potential to cause stomach upset, bloating and digestive issues. Hence you should only consume fruits, bland starch and vegetables if you’re opting for this method. Junk food would do you more harm than good.
As gross as it may sound, this is one of the most effective methods to help you throw up. The fact that egg white gargle was used in the past as a first aid solution for poison intake is enough to prove the importance of this method.
Beat two to three egg whites in a glass and gargle with them until you feel the urge to vomit. The smell of raw eggs and their taste in the mouth is enough to stimulate a series of reactions that trick the brain into believing that the body has consumed something obnoxious.
This will activate the vomiting center and will ease the process of vomiting. You may want to repeat the procedure several times if you’re not successful in the first attempt.
It is a common observation that the brain’s first response to unpleasant sight or smell is creating a feeling of nausea. Long exposure to such kind of sensory stimuli can result in vomiting. If this alone doesn’t help then a gag reflex may be initiated by inserting your finger in the mouth. Both the methods combined can produce beneficial results for sure.
Initiating a gag reflex using your finger is the most efficient method to induce vomiting. However, some people find it quite disgusting to perform hence your toothbrush might do the job for you. All you need to do is clean the bristles and rub them on the back of your tongue. It is advisable to discard the toothbrush after use for hygienic reasons.
A very little concentration of hydrogen peroxide (3%) dissolved in lukewarm water can help in inducing vomiting. However, no reports are present indicating the safety measures of this method and thus extreme caution should be taken.
Bloodroot is a very famous herb and can be regarded as a natural emetic in low doses. Its powder is mixed in water and drunk in one big gulp to induce nausea and vomiting. Bloodroot is a very strong herb, a fact that is very well proven by how quick it works, and thus should be used with caution to avoid side effects such as tunnel vision, foot pain and other fatal symptoms. In case of emergency, it is best to consult a doctor.
Just as motion sickness gives you a nauseous feeling, voluntarily spinning around or sitting in a spinning chair and rotating it for a long time can trick your brain into feeling giddy. This would create the same feeling that you get during long journeys in the car and you’d end up vomiting.
Castor oil is extracted from castor bean seeds and is a naturally occurring emetic and laxative. Due to its strong properties, it is suggested to consume no more than one tablespoon in lukewarm water. If this method is not effective, do not try it again because it may cause dehydration.
It’s amazing how human body reacts to different sensory stimuli in different ways. Watching another person throwing up in front of you might trigger the same response in your body. This may sound gross at first thought but it’s worth a try if your abdominal discomfort is beyond control.
The internet is loaded with hundreds of videos and you can download any one to rescue you from the immense pain. If the video alone doesn’t help, you may combine it with the finger technique and the results would be wonderful.
This might be the least effective of all the methods but its efficacy depends on how well your body processes sensory information. Just the thought of a nasty sight or an unpleasant food that you ate in the past can provoke the feeling of nausea. If this doesn’t work then I’d recommend using some of the other methods mentioned above.
If nothing else works then many over-the-counter medicines are available to help you throw up. Emetics are a quick way to get rid of stomach contents and are available in the form of syrups, tablets, powder or capsule. They work by contracting the stomach musculature thus increasing the urge to expel the gastric contents through the mouth.
A very well known emetic comes by the name of Ipecac syrup. Although emetics are really efficient at doing the job, they should be taken with great caution because of the potential side effects. Reports have shown that individuals who took emetics to induce vomiting suffered from different degrees of dizziness, allergic reactions, rashes, hypotension, dyspnea or shortness of breath, tachycardia, palpitations and lightheadedness. Pregnant females and children under 12 years of age should not try this method at any cost.
As much as throwing up can make you comfortable after a bad meal or an upset stomach, it is a traumatic process and it is of utmost importance that the body should recover from its effects. Here’s what you can do to soothe your internal systems and bring the body homeostasis back to normal.
As much as self-induced vomiting can help you get rid of abdominal discomfort and harmful food particles, it always carries a slight risk of complications that are mentioned below. Thus this practice should only be adopted when it’s immensely necessary and the pain is unbearable.
Although vomiting helps you get rid of toxic substances, it is not an ideal option in many circumstances. This is because throwing up at that instant can make your body more vulnerable to damage instead of giving any benefit.
Most of the time, it is safe to induce vomiting when your body doesn’t do it naturally. However, a physician or consultant must be contacted first before taking any such measure.
Inducing vomiting is actually a protective mechanism to protect the body from obnoxious and harmful substances. However, human body is highly adaptive and it may become habitual of self-induced vomiting. Therefore this should not be done as a regular practice in order to avoid future damage to the body.