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Avatar universal

gagging attacks, starts to dry heave

My husband suffers from gagging attacks, and then he starts to dry heave and/or choke and cough.   It's not accompinied by nause however he will gag so hard that he will vomit up some phlem.  This happens every day, some times several times a day, every time he takes a shower, once in a while while he is sleeping, some times in the morning, some times in the evening, some times outside, some times inside, while he is driving.  In other words I happens just about any time.  Does not weem to be related to eating, what he eats, what time he eats, or how much he eats.

He has been doing this for 5 years.  He has had an upper GI, X-rays, blood work, been on Prilosec, gargles salt water.  And still he does this every day.  It last for any where from 1 minute to 3 minutes.  The ear, nose and mouth specielist say there is no anotomical reason for this to be happening.  The Prilosec have no effect on the severity or the frequency of the gagging and dry heaving.

Any ideas where to go or what to do?
60 Responses
Avatar universal
I just found this website tonight, although I've periodically searched the net for answers to this problem. I tried to post in another thread, but I guess it had been maxed out. I can't believe how many people have this problem. I have suffered from it for over 8 years now. I notice most people have said they believe it to be an anxiety disorder, because it only seems to happen to them when they are nervous or stressed about something. My case is more severe though, because although I do get the attacks when I am nervous or stressed, that is not the only time. Whenever I do any form of physical activity, as simple as walking, these attacks happen. They also happen when I brush my teeth, take a shower, when I'm extremely exhausted or sleepy, sometimes when I'm very hungry, and when I've overused my vocal cords; meaning when I've done too much talking or singing. There is no rhyme or reason to these attacks, and they completely interfere with my life. I cannot do things like normal people can. Although I have found that drinking soda, or chewing gum can sometimes help alleviate my symptoms, it's not a cure. I need a cure. I've been  with this problem for too long, and am fed up with it. I've been to all kinds of doctors and specialists, have had all kinds of tests done on me, and no one can find a thing. I can no longer work due to it. There was a time when these attacks were fewer and more managable, but in the last couple of years, they have gotten worse. I had to go on medical leave from my job, and just recently, I had to quit, because there was no way I could return to my duties. Now I am without income, and have been denied disability. I am still waiting on word of my appeal, but I am not optimistic it will be accepted. I am at my wits end, because my life has become a living hell, and I have no idea how to fix it. If anyone can offer me any answers, I'd surely appreciate it.
You have a severe case of anxiety. I have went through the same thing in 2001 and it lasted for months and wouldn't go away. I had every medical test done that you could think off and it was all normal. It eventually got so bad that I had to be committed to a physiciatric hospital for 4 months. It then went away and came back 13 years later and its to the point that I might have to go back into hospital for help again. You might have to seek hospitalization in order for it to go away.
Avatar universal
i have the exact same problem...at times it has been so bad that i have considered killing myself..it is truly miserable..i wish you the best and hope somebody out there somewhere finds some answers. i will pray for you all..God can work miracles..give him a shot, hes the only reason i havent blown my head off because of this.
Avatar universal
I have this same problem every single morning I wake up with massive anxiety attacks, excessive coughing leading to me gagging.  I have diarrea every morning. Also have diarrea 4-5 times a day. I can't even hold a job right now cause the anxiety has taken over my life.  I wish there was a cure cause for me its really bad right now.  I've been struggling with this for the last 5 years.  I went though some major sorrow in my life about 6 years ago and since then this has been happening.  If anybody knows how to fix this problem please let me know
have you been tested for celiac disease?  I have that and the issue with diarrhea if I eat gluten.  it's an autoimmune disease and very debilitating...can be triggered by a trauma or traumatic event from what Understand....
Avatar universal
I have suffered with these attacks since I was approx 13 years old and now I'm 25. These gagging attacks ARE an anxiety thing and certainly with me, I know this is the case, I know full well they are psychological and not physical. Basically, what happens, is you get yourself into a 'state' of telling yourself that 'it is going to happen, so I might as well go along with it.' It almost becomes an addiction (as strange as that sounds!) I hate doing it, but it almost miss it when it's not there as it has become part of my life! However, it is curable and when I get stressed, it happens, and when I'm ready to tackle it, I can stop it!! It is a mind over matter thing! I bet just before it happens, you are all either thinking of things that make you gag, or you are working yourself up into heavy breathing panic state thinking 'oh my god here it comes again!' and then I sometimes start crying thinking 'why me!' I also find if I'm tired of feel ill it happens.

It is mind over matter and you CAN cure yourself. You need to start telling yourself, so what if it happens - big deal, It doesn't kill me and it certainly won't harm me. Once you learn to accept that this is not life threatening and you won't die from it, you then need to try and see it as an annoying little child pulling at your trousers looking for attention. It makes you think' WHAT, What do you want?'  it irritates you! and that's how you need to see this! It is nothing more than an annoying child pulling at your trousers looking for attention - well guess what, you're not going to give it that attention - you are going to ignore it and tell it to go away. Get angry with it - i mean REALLY angry with it. Shout out if you want whilst thinking it. Then you need to lift your head up high (not hunched over like you do when you get these attacks - and I know you do!!)

These attacks are like a bully and you cannot be the victim anymore - you need to stand up to this bully and don't take it anymore!!!

It isn't easy and it is hard, and yes at times, you will relapse, but you must keep on. You also need to occupy your mind - sitting around thinking about gagging will make you gag! and stop associating 'parts of your life' to it! So what if you USE to get them when you took a shower, or so what if you use to get them at work NO LONGER. This is a new you and you will no take this anymore. It's your life - you control it!! Take a radio into the shower with you to listen to and sing along! etc...

Believe me, yes, I get them when I'm stresses, but they are on and off cuz I know HOW to get rid of them. But it is a bit like stopping smoking, or loosing weight, You will never get rid of this demon unless you are totally ready to.

I don't mean to come across as aggressive or anything, but I just know how you ALL feel, and if I can help at all, I am happy to be in touch and help you. You can be free of this!

Love to all,
Dawn R
Avatar universal
I am suffering from the same problem. It started about 3 years ago when I was living in Kenya, went away for a while and now it's back.  I've wondered if it's from some sort of left over bacteria in my gut? But I have no idea. I'm going to the doctor this morning again because the sample she gave me last week hasn't done a thing.   My gagging is usually followed by gassy burps-- GROSS!

The psychological thing kinda makes sense. Sometimes when I feel one coming I try to refocus my attention on something else in my mind and it will subside a bit, but there are other times when it just comes out of no where-- like when I'm brushing my teeth or opening the fridge! Doesn't make sense.  

A friend told me yesterday to try seeing a  chiropractor who uses some natural healing techniques. She said he deals with this kind of stuff a lot. So I might try him if my visit to the regular doctor doesn't work out today.
Avatar universal
I also have this same problem and wish some doctors could find a cure for it. I know that anxiety can cause this but the feeling is very real and sometimes scary when Doctors really do not know what is really causing it. It really affects your life.
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