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Hyperactive Gag Reflex while exercising

My problem is there is the feeling of something in the back of my throat that causes me to get an involuntary urge to gag. I however have never actually gagged because when ever I get this feeling I immediately suppress it by swallowing hard or stroking the palate with my tongue. I have noticed this happening when I am running and even normal things when I am just talking. The main thing that is really bad about this, is my inability to run and exercise to stay in shape because of this problem. After a few minutes of running or exercising I get that feeling of having to gag. I have told doctors about this and one doctor said about the post nasal drip causing it and the other said I had a hyperactive gag reflex and I just have to live with it. What it feels like is that my uvula gets irritated somehow and it stimulates the reflex for no reason. I am currently taking swimming lessons, but this problem makes it almost impossible because when I am blowing the air out through my nose in the water, this also causes me to feel that sensation of gagging which causes me to stop to catch my breathe. I understand that there are many people who have an overactive gag reflex, but I have not read about it being to hyperactive that it affects someone like the way it does to me.
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First Helper metzie357
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replied August 10th, 2010
Experienced User
I see this is an old post and you may have already done something about the problem.

dicknuggins, that is a terrible thing to say.
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replied September 1st, 2010
Gag reflex
I have the same problem and dry heave several times per mile during my runs. Have no idea how to solve the problem.
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replied September 3rd, 2010
Experienced User
Hi metzie357,

What is your breathing rhythm like during your runs?

You should be inhaling and exhaling every 3rd step. So if you inhale on your left step, you should exhale after right-left-right (2nd right being the time to exhale)

Maybe you can build on getting a good breathing rhythm? It may help.

If you already have a good rhythm, it may be a good idea to see an doctor. Smile
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replied February 15th, 2011
overactive gag reflux
I was researching for a friend and found this info- I hope you can all find some relief somehow!
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/gag-reflex- causes.html
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replied December 27th, 2011
OMG! I have the exact same problem. It is really good to know that there are others out there that are experiencing the exact same thing that I am experiencing. How do I fix it though?
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replied November 13th, 2012
Impossible to exercise - (gagging and vommiting)
The most annoying thing is that there seems to be so many sites where people talk about this problem we've got; but no-one seems to have a solution!!! I have had this problem for 9 months and IT'S DRIVING ME CAZY!!! I used to do boxing and I genuingly was great at it too, (my coach wanted to make me a professional as soon as i turned 18.) Then, i developed this and had to quit, i went completely out of shape and have been searching for an answer ever since.
Doctors have suggested that it is Diabites Insipidus,(i had blood tests that came back normal) silent reflux, (after an endoscopy i was told i had this and was given omeprazole for 12 weeks and gaviscon advance but this solved nothing) then i was told my throat is fine but may have an infection so was given antibiotics for 5 days, i was also told to go to bed only 2 or 3 hours after eating for a healthier lifestyle to prevent reflux, now i'm awaiting a gastroscopy to check for helicobactor pylori, gastritis or anything else up with my stomach!!!!!! :'(
I havoncluded, that the doctors have not diagnosed this problem yet. I am sick of being told, 'the good news is, it's nothing too serious' because this illness is utterly dominating my life and is therefore very serious. I'm just hoping for the best, and i hope you all and I can better soon and resume exercising and resume living a happy life.
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replied August 14th, 2013
I have this problem i am a muay thai fighter i dont get it when actually fighting but when training i do... i just push through..the boys laugh at me its does do damage to confidence..but there is nothing i can do about it so i just push on through...i find the fitter i get the less it occurs on the bright side it made me give up smoking as i thought this was to do with it..it has helped to a point but the problem is still there..just do the sport you love dont let it get in the way and just push through it gets better trust me
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replied May 29th, 2014
So I'm not the only one this happens too? Thank god! This never happened to me until about this time last year, or whenever I was doing martial arts.

This is so annoying as I'm a fit person, and just push through it when running or cycling, doing push ups etc., but it's close to impossible to have a workout while swimming free-style! Especially when I need to get a swimming certificate for work. The thing with this though, it can happen at any time of day (but mainly in the morning) and within the first few minutes of cycling or running, so it's not from pushing myself too hard.

What's up with that!?
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replied May 18th, 2015
Same problem
I've had this problem for around 8 years. I was able to overcome it in some instances, when i did jiujitsu or lifted weights.

But if I played basketball, sprinted or swam hard - the gag reflex was unavoidable. I did not let this stop me from training to take the navy seal test. I would swim 80 laps, run three miles and complete 200push ups/240situps/75pullups - three times a week.

I used to swim through the gag reflex by semi-puking in the water. I timed my breathing rhythm along with my gag reflex and slowed my pace down. The same happened with running - breath carefully, slow down. Needless to say it killed my confidence in my athletic ability. I didn't want anyone to see me struggle.

I'm hesitant to play soccer at my family gatherings.

I've been to the doctors for years and no one has a solution nor can they identify what is wrong with me. I have a few doctor's appointments planned with specialists. Hopefully someone will have some good news for me soon.

I just threw up today while playing basketball during my lunch break.
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replied June 4th, 2015
I've been told for years now that it's just because I'm out of shape and that if I just keep running, every day, it'll just go away. Being in better shape helped a lot, but there's definitely a problem there...
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replied December 11th, 2018
gagging when exercising
have you considered your body PH level? High acidic levels in the body, especially in the stomach, could cause gagging -PH levels can be affected by a number of factors including lactic acid and high carbon dioxide levels when exercising. These factors on their own would not normally cause gagging but could be compounding an underlying acidic PH level caused by diet such as drinking too much coffee, fizzy drinks (cola etc..) alcohol and eating a lot of red meats and poultry and processed foods such as white breads and pastry.

You should also consider your general weight. Although obesity is often a cause of low PH body levels, even very fit endurance athletes can suffer from gagging when pushing themselves beyond threshold.

You can check your body PH with a cheap litmus paper test for urine or saliva. If the PH is low consider your diet and maybe changing it by cutting out or reducing the aforementioned food and drink types and replace them with more vegetables and wholegrains.

If this makes no difference its off to the GP! At least you can explain to the doctor that you have tried to resolve this by diet and lifestyle.
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