Phobias Community
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Avatar universal

emetophobia - how do I know whether I'm hungry or sick?

Hello. I'm Katie. I'm 16 and I have one major problem. That is my phobia of sick, whenever I meet new people, I jump everytime they cough or burp. This tends to cool down after getting to know the person.
The main problem I have at the moment is that I'm always checking for signs that I feel sick, and because I get so paranoid, I actually make myself feel sick and then I find it very hard to eat anything.
It's the same when I come into contact with a tummy bug. Recently, my boyfriend got sick and was sick near me and I had being in direct contact with him as he stayed at mine on Saturday. He puked on sunday. Since then I've being feeling sick, and I didn't eat very much on Monday except 3 mini cheddars and jam on toast. I kept that down. But today (Tuesday) I ate pasta and I don't know whether it's made me feel worse or I am just very hungry. It's being nearly 48 hours since I last came into director contact with him. If I risk eating anymore, I'm scared that I will puke, and if I don't eat I'm scared I will continue feeling nauseous.
P.S I also can't burp properly, they come up. Just not out. Is it normal that I have being continuously burping (my way) or not?
6 Responses
4851940 tn?1515698193
It is not a phobia if you jump when someone coughs or burps.  With you jumping when you hear someone do this, it is because it is a sudden noise that you are not expecting and it is quite normal to suddenly jump in fear.  This is our body's way of getting ready in case you need to run away from the danger.  You have probably heard of "Fight or Flight" and this is exactly what is happening.

With regard to you feeling nauseas and worried in the event that you vomit, it is very likely that you have picked up your boyfriends tummy bug.

The best thing you can do is eat small meals.  Keep of dairy and milk products and any highly spiced and fried foods.  Just eat simple bland foods.  Make sure that you drink water and fruit juices so as not to get dehydrated.

There is no right or wrong way to burp.  Burping and passing wind through the back passage is your body trying to get rid of trapped wind.  We will always have some wind in our digestive system, but to have less wind, it does help if you do not gulp your food into your mouth when you eat.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Avatar universal
I've always being told it is a phobia because I have panic attacks when someone is sick near me and when I feel sick:3 and I physically can't burp because I relate that to feeling sick and being sick XD It comes up but not out, just gurgles in my throat :,) I've had the panic attacks for 10-12 years :3 I know sick is nothing to be scared off and stuff but that's now, not when it comes to actually being in the situation :3 I am finding my own ways of getting
Over it.. Well trying to :3 and in the end I didn't get his stomach bug, I was just tricking my body into thinking I did have it XD
2 Comments
Wow! I am LITERALLY just like you. I am severely emetophobic, like I absolutely freak out if I have even been in any form of contact with someone who was just sick or gets sick shortly after I'm with them. I spend the next week waiting to get sick. It's awful. I also cannot burp! I feel it come up and then it's just a weird noise in my throat!!
I feel the same way!!!!! I'm so paranoid whenever someone gets sick. I just got home from a week-long trip to find my dad had a stomach bug but he had been fine for 48 hours so now I'm paranoid and will probably have a panic attack tonight. I also don't burp just weird gurgly noises. I have had a lot of dairy today though and I'm going to try a non-dairy diet to see how I feel.
4851940 tn?1515698193
I don't think that you were tricking your body into feeling sick.

Personally, I do not think that you have a phobia about when someone vomits.  Some people have a very weak stomach for this.  I am 61 and when someone is near to be that vomits, it will make me heave too.  Same goes for any obnoxious smells, that can make people (and me) feel very nauseated

If you get really stressed and anxious, yes, that can could cause you to feel nauseas and that would be classed as a panic attack.  If you feel that anything is coming up, but you are not able to sick it out, then this is a stomach issue.  Getting vomit or acid come up to the throat can damage the oesophagus (the wind pipe) if this happens on a frequent basis.  If this is the case, a doctor's visit would be in order to find out if you actually have a stomach or gall bladder problem.

Make sure that you eat a healthy and well balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of fluids and especially water.
Some foods and drink can upset the stomach and cause nausea as well as the sensation that bile is coming up.  

If you are experiencing bile coming up a lot and causing the nausea, see your doctor for advice regarding taking stomach medications or try over the counter stomach remedies to see if that helps.
Avatar universal
I can understand where you are coming from, it could very well be a weak stomach or it could be a phobia :3 and I always thought panic attacks where when you find it hard to breathe :3 I very rarely am sick but I do get acid reflux >_< its dreadful, I have being put on omezaprol :3 I know which foods I can and cannot eat. Spicy food being one of them, it makes me really sick :3
When I get a really bad case of trapped wind, the only way for it to come up is via retching and it really scares me :')
I haven't took my omezaprol for a while, do you reckon this will help my recent occurance of trapped wind, constipation and nauseous, but I pin that down to quitting smoking :') atm i am finding it very hard to eat very small things without feeling really really nauseous :3 Do you know what this could be?
Thank you for your tips :3 I will take them into consideration
4851940 tn?1515698193
If you are making a lot of acid, this can make you feel nauseas.
Suffering from acid reflux and ignoring things, can make this much worse in that the acid that comes up can actually, in time, destroy your oesophagus.

If you do not wish to use the omeprazole you do need to be very careful what you eat and drink and when you eat and drink.  Eating and drinking soon before going to bed, will bring the food up (acid reflux).  Eating smaller meals on a regular basis with a healthy snack in between could help you.  If may be that you will need to take the stomach medication that your doctor prescribed.  If the doctor did not prescribe you with this, you should make an appointment and see your doctor.  Sometimes the stomach can give you problems that could be caused by Helicobacter Pylori (this is a bacteria).  Some people get stomach ulcers and this bacteria can be the cause.  The accurate test to check for Helicobacter Pylori is by having a breath test or a stool test taken.  Blood tests do not give accurate results.

The constipation is very likely to be caused either by the stomach remedy, but it tells me that you are not eating the right type of foods and not drinking enough water.  Having some form of exercise and even walking can also help to stimulate the bowels.  

Make sure that you eat fresh fruit and vegetables, cabbage and all greens have good roughage.  You can get breakfast cereals, porridge, that are full of fibre and low on sugar.  If you are not used to eating fibre foods, you may find that you will feel a little bloated until your body gets used to it.  Cut out or cut down on highly processed and refined foods like cakes, biscuits, chocolate, sweets etc.  Choose whole grain bread instead of white, and so on.  Prunes, plums, oranges, apples, grapes are all good fruits that can help you to go.

Don't suffer with the constipation.  If you are still having a problem once you change your eating habits and drinking plenty of water, then do make an appointment and see your doctor about this.  If you continue to struggle to empty your bowels, you will end up having haemorrhoids (internal as well as external), these are very painful, itchy and can also bleed.  Other problems from straining to empty your bowels can cause damage inside your rectum which can end up as a fissure.  This is where there is a split inside and this can bleed and can also get infected.  A large fissure that does not heal, requires surgical repair.  

Your doctor will be able to prescribe you with medication that can soften the stools, a high fibre drink and sometimes can also prescribe a laxative.  Laxatives should not be taken on a regular basis as this can lead to your bowels becoming lazy.

Once you sort your bowel problem out you will probably find the trapped wind, constipation and nausea will also settle.

When you eat and drink, try not to gulp.  Eat slowly with your mouth closed, chew your food really well before swallowing.  Cut out fizzy drinks, these are full of gas and they give you no nutritional value except loading your body with chemicals and sugar.  A little bit now again is fine as a treat.

Congratulations on quitting smoking.  Each cigarette contains 92 carcinogens which not only affects your health, but also those people around a person who is smoking.  For every 7 cigarettes smoked in the same room as a non smoker, the non smoker will have smoked the equivalent of 1 cigarette, not to mention the lingering smell on the clothes and on your hair.  So keep up the good work.  The other thing is that cigarettes are addictive and are extremely costly.  Just imagine the money that you can now put away to save up for something nice rather than see your money go up in smoke!

If you have recently stopped smoking, it is possible that the nausea and the anxiety is due to withdrawal symptoms.  But do stick it out.

If your acid reflux is fairly mild, you should be able to control this by changing your eating and drinking habits.  Your symptoms can also be due to stress and anxiety and worry.

When I was your age, I was being treated for a gastric ulcer and put on a bland diet, when in fact it was my nerves that were causing my problems all along.

If you are on any other types of medications, these can also cause constipation.

Because you are having the stomach acid reflux, the constipation and nausea I would advise you to make an appointment to see your doctor to make sure that there is nothing untoward that could be causing the obstruction apart from your diet.

Best wishes.

9343400 tn?1403196091
Hi Katie, I'm glad you wrote about this. Emetophobia is the worlds' 5th most common phobias. You seem to be handling it well. Focusing on it too much can cripple people and make them housebound in extreme cases. Lots have OCD also as a side-effect of 'germs'. Sounds like you are doing the right thing. Gain power over panic attacks. Except your phobia but don't allow it to become an identity or a way of life. A lot of people have lost a lot of time and life, by focusing on their fears and phobias rather than learning new skills and better ways to live life. Be open about your phobia. Keeping it to yourself is always a mistake. Some people though, are so terrified, they rarely tell others the truth. There are people diagnosed as 'anorexic' 'germ phobic' and 'OCD' who are all in fact, emetophobic. There is a book claiming success called 'cure your emetophobia and thrive' - some people swear by it but it doesn't work for everyone. maybe you have a library that could order it for you? Best of luck. PS I too have it and the burp thing. I don't burp. No idea if it's normal or niot but I do know that worry gets me nowhere fast. Take care : )
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