You woke up this morning and are feeling gross. Real gross. Maybe you ate some old meat last night and its setting your intestines on fire. Maybe you had a little too much to drink and can’t move around because you are so queasy. Maybe you accidentally took the wrong dose of your medication.
When this moment happens, you might consider making yourself throw up.
Let’s face it; sometimes you have to make yourself throw up. Barfing may not be very pleasant, but it can make you feel better. If you’ve consumed something toxic or think you may have food poisoning, throwing up may be a necessary part of your recovery.
It’s important to induce vomiting safely, so you don’t cause any unnecessary damage.
Throwing up is a natural way your body expels toxins. But, if you are forcing yourself to barf, you need to use extra care. Throwing up the wrong way can cause your body even more damage.
In this article, we will examine how you can make yourself throw up safely.
When Is It Safe To Induce Vomiting?
Let’s talk quickly about why you are trying to induce vomit. It is not always a good idea to make yourself throw up, but there are some circumstances where it may be your best option.
Below we’ve listed a few situations where it might be a good idea to make yourself throw up.
You’ve Eaten Bad Food
You may want to make yourself throw up if you ate food that has gone bad. Sometimes we eat something, and it just doesn’t sit right in our stomach. Maybe the food was spoiled, and you didn’t even realize it.
Even restaurants sometimes serve rotten food that can make you sick. Or perhaps you have a dairy or gluten intolerance and didn’t realize those products were in your meal.
You’ve Consumed A Non-Corrosive Poison
Another legitimate reason to induce vomit is when you have consumed a non-corrosive poison. Non-corrosive poisons are things like pills, cyanide, or other drugs.
If you have recently consumed a drug, like heroin or Vicodin, and are regretting it, it is safe to make yourself throw up and get the drug out of your system.
You’ve Had Too Much To Drink
This is a situation we’ve all probably experienced at some point. Maybe you just got home from a party and can tell that eventually, you are going to throw up anyway.
Making yourself throw up can help you cut to the chase and hopefully get a decent night’s sleep.
Perhaps after you woke up, you still feel sick, and want to make yourself throw up to help speed along your hangover.
When You Shouldn’t Make Yourself Throw Up
There are also plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t make yourself throw up. In fact, the U.S. National Library of Medicine states that you should not make yourself or anyone else throw up unless specifically told to do so by poison control or a doctor.
Here are a few reasons why making yourself puke can be a bad idea:
- Vomiting can be ineffective at actually removing the substance from your system
- In some cases, the contractions your stomach makes while throwing up can make your body absorb the unwanted substance faster
- If you’ve consumed something corrosive, like bleach, then making yourself puke can cause the substance to move unnecessarily along your digestive tract, potentially causing irreversible damage
- Vomiting could cause the substance to enter your lungs
- Throwing up could interfere with alternative treatments that may be more effective
We recognize that the decision to make yourself throw up may not always be cut and dry.
If you have consumed something and aren’t sure if it’s safe to vomit, we suggest you call Poison Control or put the substance into PoisonHelp.org to figure out your next steps.
Below we’ve listed a few substances you should never attempt to make yourself throw up.
Frothy substances are usually lightweight. If you attempt to make yourself throw up a frothy substance, the product may enter your lungs or airways and make the situation even worse.
Common frothy substances include soaps, shampoos, and detergents. Attempting to throw up these products may cause internal inflammation, swelling, and burning.
Corrosive Or Acidic Liquids
These liquids can cause serious damage. Acidic liquids can enter your lungs and can even cause chemical burns inside your body. Imagine suffering from a chemical burn in your mouth or along your esophagus.
According to Health24, you don’t even want to induce vomit if you or your child have accidentally consumed bleach. Other acidic liquids include pesticides and many cleaning products.
Petroleum products also hold a high risk of entering your lungs if you induce vomiting. They can tear up your insides, especially your mouth, throat, and esophagus.
Petroleum products include gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner, or anything flammable. Once again, if you have ingested one of these products, call poison control immediately.
Solid Or Sharp Objects
The Royal Children’s Hospital of Melbourne does not recommend that you induce vomit if you have swallowed a solid or sharp object. Making yourself throw up the object could cause even more damage.
As the object moves along your esophagus it could scratch or puncture your esophagus, and may even get stuck and block your airways.
It is not uncommon for children to consume solid objects. Kids are notorious for swallowing things like buttons, coins, toys, and jewelry. If your child has eaten a solid object, call an ambulance or immediately take them to the nearest hospital.
Do not try to make your child throw the object up.
A Note On Throwing Up For Weight Loss
You may be trying to make yourself throw up because you want to lose weight. I understand why you think throwing might help with your weight loss, after all, it seems to make rational sense.
The fact is that throwing up for weight loss is a very dangerous practice and can cause physical, mental, and emotional damage.
Throwing up for weight loss is called bulimia and is considered to be a full-blown eating disorder.
According to Bulimia Help, making yourself throw up can make you gain weight. It can also completely screw up your metabolism and digestive tract.
Throwing up your food can trigger the same part of your brain that consuming heroin triggers.
It is an addictive practice, and it is important to seek help if you have bulimia. If you think you might be bulimic, try talking to someone and consider seeking professional help.
How To Make Yourself Throw Up
So, how do you actually make yourself throw up? I’m sure you’ve heard of some methods and have wondered if they are effective. Below we’ve listed some ways to make yourself throw up that we consider effective. If one method does not work for you, try another one.
Making yourself puke is not an exact science, and every person’s body is a little bit different.
Use Your Gag Reflex
The first and possibly most instinctive way to make yourself throw up is by taking advantage of your body’s natural gag reflex.
According to the New York Head and Neck Society, your gag reflex is your body’s way of protecting you from foreign objects. The gag reflex keeps things from entering your pharynx, larynx, or trachea.
Your gag reflex is an automatic response. You can trigger your gag reflex by touching the right spot on the back of your tongue, back of the mouth, the area around your tonsils, or your uvula.
Your uvula is that little thing that hangs in the back of your throat. You can think of your gag reflex like a goalie for your body; nothing is getting in unless it can get past the gag reflex.
Triggering your gag reflex to make yourself throw up can be easy. The simplest way is to use your index finger. Here’s how to make yourself throw up with your index finger:
- Wash your hands and clip your nails – you don’t want to scratch the back of your neck or introduce any bacteria from dirty hands
- If you have long hair, get your hair out of your face by tying it up
- Find a good location to vomit – position yourself near the toilet or find yourself a suitable barf bag
- Insert your clean index finger into your mouth, reaching as far back as possible
- Press down on the back of your tongue or the back of your throat – keep moving your finger further back until you feel your gag reflex engage
- Remove your finger from your mouth as soon as your gag reflex kicks in – you will probably start throwing up fairly quickly
- If you feel nausea but do not throw up, keep going, further back, the nausea is likely to kick in eventually
- Wash your hands once you finish
We recognize that not everyone is going to want to stick their index finger in their mouth. Never fear – there are other objects you can use to help engage your gag reflex and get to puking.
If your finger is not working, try using a toothbrush or a tongue compressor. Just be careful about what object you choose to stick in your mouth.
Engaging your gag reflex is a pretty dependable way to make yourself puke. However, it may not work for everyone.
According to The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals, some people’s gag reflexes are more sensitive than others. If you have a hypersensitive gag reflex, it will be much easier for you to make yourself throw up than if your gag reflex is weaker or less sensitive.
Use Your Imagination
Our imaginations are powerful. They can convince us of pretty much anything. According to Urgent Care, feelings of fear or anxiety can induce vomiting.
Sometimes your gag reflex can be triggered just through the power of your imagination. Or, if you are feeling enough fear or stress, your body may throw up as a result.
When you’re ready to make yourself barf, get near a toilet, and start thinking about something gross. This can be different for every person! Imagine a something disgusting you ate or a gross medicine you’ve taken.
Picture yourself consuming this item and remember how awful it was. You can even combine your imagination with a physical stimulus of your gag reflex to help guarantee barf.
Watch Other People Throw Up
You’ve probably seen it happen to a character in a movie – they watch their friend throw up, then they throw up themselves. This is called sympathetic vomiting.
According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, emotional empathy can trigger a real physical response. So, empathizing with someone who is barfing, may make you want to puke as well.
It is unlikely that you happen to be hanging out with someone who is already barfing. If you want to watch people puke, head to YouTube! There are plenty of videos to watch that can help get your vomiting started.
Take An Emetic
Emetics are medications used to induce vomiting. If you have a weak gag reflex or if your imagination is cutting it, it may be time to turn to an emetic.
According to Science Direct, an emetic can be a helpful solution in the period immediately following consumption of poison. Below we’ve provided information on some common emetics, including prescriptions drugs and some natural, homemade options.
Syrup Of Ipecac
For a long time, doctors recommended that all families keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac on hand in case a child swallowed something they weren’t supposed to.
According to Poison Control, this is no longer the case. Research shows that throwing up is not always the best solution to consuming a poison. Syrup of ipecac is therefore only available in small amounts or with a doctor’s prescription.
If you have syrup of ipecac, and are ready to induce vomiting, then follow the directions on the bottle carefully. Never take more of the syrup than is prescribed.
Drink plenty of water after you finish puking. If you do not vomit within 30 minutes of taking the medication, you may want to take a second dose. If a second dose does not work, contact your doctor.
Warm Salt Water
Warm salt water can act as an effective homemade emetic. Mix warm water with 2-3 teaspoons of salt. Drink the solution quickly. The salt water increases the amount of sodium chloride in your stomach.
According to eMedicineHealth, one side effect of sodium chloride is that it can make people vomit. It will probably take anywhere from 20-30 minutes to puke after drinking the warm salt water solution.
Another homemade emetic that may be effective is a mustard solution. Mix a tablespoon of mustard with a glass of warm water and drink it really quickly.
The solution has an unpleasant taste, and many have reported that it engages their gag reflex and makes them throw up. It will take about 20-30 minutes for it to kick in.
The mustard solution is less reliable than other emetics, so if it doesn’t work, you may consider another option.
Bloodroot herb is a pretty old-school emetic. According to WebMD, it has been used for over a century to induce vomiting.
Mix the powder with some water, drink it, and prepare to barf. A warning though, bloodroot herb is toxic in large doses, and should not be used regularly. Consult a doctor before consuming bloodroot herb.
Every person’s body is different. If you need to induce vomiting, then you may need to try a couple of different solutions until you find the right one for you.
Don’t forget to consult your doctor before making yourself throw up, and call poison control immediately if you have consumed a poisonous substance.
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