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Why Does Your Mouth Water Before You Throw Up

by Clara Wynn
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Why Does Your Mouth Water Before You Throw Up

Why Does Your Mouth Water Before You Throw Up

Why Does Your Mouth Water Before You Throw Up? As a kid on Saturday mornings, you probably used to sit at your kitchen table and watch people eating their scrambled eggs or pancakes while sipping orange juice from paper cups. And even though most adults don’t eat breakfast like kids do anymore, it’s likely that some of those same feelings are still present when you look into someone else’s plate. Or maybe even your own.

We can all relate to this feeling — sometimes we want to start our day off right with something delicious and filling, but end up throwing up later instead. This scenario happens more often than you might think, according to Dr. Ruchi Gupta, who practices internal medicine and gastroenterology in San Francisco. “It could happen because you ate foods that make you feel nauseated,” she says. “Or, it could also come from emotional reasons.”

For example, if you’re stressed about something, such as money problems, job loss or relationship issues, you might not be able to suppress your gag reflex. “Emotions play a big role in triggering stomach upset,” Gupta adds. It’s possible that you’ve eaten too much spicy food or drank alcohol, which can cause vomiting. In other cases, you may simply have eaten foods that contain certain ingredients (such as peppermint) that trigger bad taste receptors in the back of your throat.

But what causes these sensations? There are two main types of tastebuds in our mouths; one type resides near the front of our tongues, while the other is found closer to the roof of our mouths. When they receive signals from different sources, the nerve cells inside them send out electrical impulses, creating a sensation in our brains called gustatory sensation. The molecules that create the actual flavor get delivered through tiny pores in the tongue and interact with the chemical sensors in the taste buds. Each area of the tongue has its own function, so there are several areas where foods are chewed before swallowing. For instance, if you chew celery after washing your hands, the smell of soap will stimulate the back of your tongue and help you detect whether any bacteria remain after cleaning. But why would you want to know if anything’s left behind?

Because you’ll probably be going directly for another bite of celery afterward.
Although scientists aren’t completely sure how our brains determine what tastes good and what doesn’t, we do know that the brain’s hypothalamus region plays a major role in the reward-rejection mechanism. As soon as our tongues sense chemicals associated with pleasure, the hypothalamus releases dopamine, which triggers us to take more action toward getting that reward, Gupta explains. If we reject the reward, however, the hypothalamus sends out norepinephrine, which makes us feel depressed and weakens our motivation to continue working toward achieving our goal.

So, if you’re looking for ways to prevent yourself from gagging on food, here are some tips from experts.

  • Watch What You Eat
  • Avoid Spicy Foods
  • Keep Alcohol At A Safe Level
  • Take Antacids

Watch What You Eat

If you’re trying to avoid throwing up, then you should know what kinds of things can make you sick. Although many people assume that greasy or fatty foods are unhealthy, this isn’t always true. Some fats actually provide protection against ulcers, heart disease and cancer. However, solid fats, including butter, cheese and ice cream, are linked to weight gain and obesity, Gupta points out. On top of that, fried foods and processed meats are known to aggravate gastrointestinal distress, especially if you’re already prone to acid reflux or GERD.

Avoid Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are usually great tasting, but that extra kick can wreak havoc on your system and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. “When you cook foods, you add spices to enhance the flavors, but spice levels tend to increase during processing and cooking,” Gupta says. “There are capsaicinoids, which are the active ingredient in hot peppers. These substances irritate the lining of your small intestine and cause spasms, making it harder for food to pass through.” Capsaicinoids can also cause inflammation, pain and burning of the esophagus, stomach and intestines.

Keep Alcohol At A Safe Level

Alcohol consumption can bring on bloating, cramping and nausea, among other unpleasant effects. Studies show that consuming large amounts of alcohol daily can raise blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can damage the pancreas and liver over time, and contributes to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer. Women who drink heavily are also more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections.

 Take Antacids

Taking antacid pills can help relieve indigestion and heartburn caused by acidic foods. Most commonly, antacids work by neutralizing the effect of gastric acids. By blocking the production of hydrogen ions, antacids decrease the amount of acidity in the stomach.

 Know When To See Your Doctor

Some illnesses can affect your ability to digest properly. Conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease and ulcerative colitis can disrupt the intestinal wall’s mucosal barrier, allowing undigested particles and pathogens access to the bloodstream. These conditions require treatment with medication and diet changes.

In addition to knowing when to see a doctor, you should also learn about the warning signs of appendicitis. Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea and difficulty passing stool.

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