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Sunday, July 20, 2008 Jacob, Community Member, asks

Q: How can I stop gagging??

My "full-blown" panic attacks involve gagging and dry-heaving.  When I start to get nervous, I can tell it's about to happen (a panic attack) and I start gagging uncontrollably.  It's ruining my life!!

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Answers (29)
7/22/08 2:36am

Hi Jacob,

Gagging and dry heaving aren't the most common symptoms that I've seen over the past 18 years, but I do see people on occasion who have them.   Some of my gaggers started off with a lot of heavy sighing and/or excessive yawning, which are forms of overbreathing that can lead to hyperventilation.  As they would get more anxious, the yawning would turn to gagging.


First, you need to get as much knowledge as you can about what a panic attack is from a physiological perspective, so you can understand why your body is reacting the way it is.


Start by reading Dr. Walcutt's excellent SharePost on Knowledge is Power: What is Happening in my Body?  Follow that by my SharePost, Understanding the Vicious Cycle of Panic.   With a good understanding of how panic works, you can start to learn abdominal breathing and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).   Then you can move on to trying to figure out what is triggering your anxiety in the first place (Triggers I & Triggers II).


I'm not suggesting that these posts will solve your problem, it's just to get you started down the right path.  You may want to get some Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  You can find a therapist at the ADAA website or the Psychology Today website.


Best Wishes,

Jennifer L. Fee, Psy.D., Psychologist

The Stress Masters

DANNY, Community Member
8/14/10 3:59pm name is Danny and I have a problem thats been bothering me for a few years. I like training in martial arts and boxing, however I keep gagging every time I have to breathe out (like when you expel air through your nose when you punch). I noticed it happens mostly when I try to punch really fast or workout out with intensity.  I started smoking when I was 18 and noticed the problem happening after about a year.  I used to smoke cigarettes just fine until one day I just started gagging every time I tried to smoke one so I had to smoke and always have a drink at hand to stop the gagging sensation. I am 20 right now, going on 21, and havent been smoking for about a week (i started using the patch). I noticed that the gagging feeling is still there.  Ive researched acid reflux and I thought it was that but im not sure.  I burp alot and sometimes find myself yawning alot when I work out.  I dont know if its a mental problem, physical, or possibly maybe breathing wrong. I dont suffer from heartburn or anything either so I dont think acid reflux is the cause.  

eric, Community Member
10/12/11 2:32pm

hello can i go to my regular doctor for my panic attacks?

DANNY, Community Member
10/12/11 9:07pm

You can go but theyre are going to refer you to a therapist or maybe prescribe you medication to depends on what the doctor and you agree to. In order to get anxiety medication full time, it usually requires you to see a psychiatrist since they are the only ones that can prescribe you anxiety medication to take daily.

eric, Community Member
10/12/11 9:31pm


Mike_H, Community Member
9/ 3/13 1:22am


Maybe some of you could help me figure it out if my gagging is due to my anxiety or Gastritis.

Randomly whenever I smoked weed, I would start to burp a lot eventually making me gag every other couple minutes. I have been smoking for years, and wasn't until recently I started getting these gagging episodes.

These episodes would last about 20 minutes or so...

Another thing I noticed is when I would drive for long than 30 minutes, I would feel like my throat is going close up because it gets harder to swallow, which is what make me panic. I feel like I'm going to pass out at any given moment.

I went to the Dr. and they found I have gastritis, however the times I have told them about my gagging episodes, they all sound clueless.

They tell me that would make more sense if I smoked regular cigarettes because of nicotine.

My diet has changed according to my Gastritis but whenever I try to smoke weed, I start to blech and everntually gag again.


Anybody think they can shed some wisdom? 






neemo6, Community Member
7/28/08 12:04am

I must say that I know exactly how you feel. I get the feeling as if I am putting a finger down my throat as if triggering my gag reflex.  It always triggered when I get nervous or excited about something, mostly when Im know that im going to be in social situations.  And once I think about it there is no getting it out of my mind. It have controlled many aspects of my life and has ruinded my life. I cannot eat in restaurants at all unless i get a carry out order,  I dropped out of college cause of this.  The last few years though I have found that  Paxil has helped me. But with no health insurance it is very difficult to live with this anxiety.

Needs Help Also, Community Member
11/15/10 9:10am

i have had panic attacks since i was younger stemming from a traumatization as a young child. Ever since then I would only have them when I got very nervous especially at school, but when i got into high school it subsided greatly and i thought i had finally grown out of it, I was only having them maybe once to twice a whole year and that was when i was actually sick or extremely upset, but here recently there have been coming back because i have had alot of recent stress and its becoming an everyday things, and unbearable. I just recently began gagging uncontrollably. I used to be able to hold it back very well but now all of the sudden I can't and its making my life a living hell. I wish you the best and I wish I could find a cure immediately.

hsr05, Community Member
1/19/12 9:33am

I feel the exact same way, and the feeling wont go away.  The feeling is gone when I'm sleeping, but when I wake up and start thinking about it, the feeling is there again.  I have been suffering with axiety in the same way, like I can't go anywhere, like work or even the grocery store.  Let me know if you have found anything that helps you.

traxe, Community Member
5/ 1/09 10:34pm

I also have the same exact problem, i was diagnosed with generalized and social axiety. I have had it for as long as i can remember, when i was little i would gag when i had to go to the doctors, or even to get my haircut, and the dentist, forget about it.


I am now 24 and its very annoying, and just hard to deal with, i can't hang out with my friends for fear of gagging infront of them. i stil have a little bit of trouble going to get my haircut. There are soo many things i want to do, but i don't just out of fear.


My girlfriend is graduating from college next weekend, and i am already having attacks about it. I feel bad because i don't want to go(becauase of the anxiety). But i really want to see her graduate.


When i was about 16, i was put on paxil, which kinda worked, but did not get rid of it.


Now i have discovered Liquid passion flower, which sorta works as well,i haven't taken as directed(3 times a day), but i take it before i go somewhere i know i'm gonna have an attack, like a concert. And it will work for about half the concert, then all of a sudden out of no where ill just start gagging.


This is something i wouldn't wish  on my worst enemy. It is destroying my life, and it feels like all i can do is just sit there and let it destroy it.


I feel as though i am running out of ideas on how to correct this problem(if possible).



A gagger to!, Community Member
6/10/09 8:44am

Im am glad to hear there are other people out there with the same problem as me. I thought i was the only one. I'm 27 and have been gagging since i was a young teen, and still doing it. Except i don't stop my life for others, or give up hanging in public, i gag where ever i please, if they don't like it they can leave. I have a daughter and son and don't want to miss out on all of the activities cause of this problem, hopefully we will find some help for it someday but on till then live lifeCool

vad, Community Member
7/ 2/09 5:46pm

i have the same thing befor it happen i start feel really affraid it happens when i when i  wake when i brush my teeth am gettin ready for a big gig and when i am rollin(doing bjj)would love to find a way to make it stop but until then i just let it pass the good thing about my gagging is it has taught me how to face my fears i am less affraid of common worries because i experiend fear to it's peak atleast 5 time a week an i have learned to use logi i goes away an at it's peak only lasts 15 mins.

LinJJ, Community Member
5/19/12 3:55am

Yes, I too fought it off with a posative attitude. I didn't want it to consume my life. I found that I usually got it before a situation but once I pushed myself into the social circle, it would go away and I could be normal. The key is to relax and push on. 

MB914, Community Member
10/12/10 7:06pm

Im sooo happy to see that im not the only one with this problem. I am 26 years old and have had this problem since elementary school and it only has seemed to get worse. Whenever i know i will be in a situation that is uncomftorable for me or a situation im not familiar with i will feel the gagging coming just thinking about it. I have taken Fs on school projects because i wouldnt speak in public and havent been to the doctor or dentist in years. I have been stuck at a job i hate for 5 years because im worried about gagging in the middle of an interview. It has completly controlled my life. The only things that actually work for me sometimes is either to have a few drinks until im tipsy or just find a bathroom and gag until i throw up. After that the gagging feeling usually goes away but i am ashamed at myself that thats what i have to go through to do simple things in life that other people would find ridiculous.

traxe, Community Member
10/12/10 7:13pm

man that sounds exactly like me.. i have since been to the doctors for help, and they put me on low does of Xanax. That stuff is a life saver, it completely gets rid of panic attacks and the urge to gag.

eric, Community Member
10/12/11 2:24pm

what kind of doctor did you go to?

traxe, Community Member
10/12/11 4:44pm

I just went to just a normal general doctor.. actually its a nurse pracitioner.. they first put me on Lexapro to see if that would do anything.. which it didn't do anything for my panic attacks.. if anything it just kinda lifted my mood a bit.. so after trying that for a few months i told them it wasn't working.. then they started me on .25 xanax as needed.. and its still working its magic..  I also take(when i'm not having or gonna have a full blown attack) liquid passion flower.. works awesome as well..


eric, Community Member
10/12/11 5:33pm


traxe, Community Member
10/12/11 5:57pm

your welcome! :D


Heather, Community Member
3/24/12 2:07pm

i also have a similiar problem as u. my dad thought i may have an upper hernia, but all that chalk paste i had to drink for thr x ray was for nothing. i mostly just gag when i am about to head out to work. i work at a call center. maybe something about that job gives me panic attacks and triggers me to gag. but this has never happened with any of my other jobs where i had too talk with people.  and whats really strange too is i served an eighteen moth church mission teaching an talking with total strangers and i never had this issue. i need to go to the doctor soon before i lose my jobs. but i was trying to find answers on here first. thanks for ur post.   ........ heather arnold

LinJJ, Community Member
5/19/12 3:51am

I have suffered from this since I was a child and I had no idea what was going on. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one though. I have these nervous/gagging attacks way less now. It hit it's peek in high school where a bunch of things contributed to my nervous gagging. It started out just before social events but then it became a daily morning thing, and sometimes even just laughing to hard triggered it. So I went to a throat doctor because my parents thought it was post-nasal drip but the doctor said there was really nothing wrong with me. I knew that it came from nervousness. So what I did was fight it. I really hate the idea of treating a mental condition with medication so what I did was beat it with a possative attitude. If there was an event I REALLY didn't want to go to, I went anyway because I knew that once I was there, the gagging would stop as I became more comforable in the situation. Anything that makes you relax help. Deep slow breathing through the mouths and out of the nose helps. I've also learned that the sun really helps me. The heat relaxes me. Don't run away from the probelm, you don't want to become a hermit. That's pretty much what I did for a few months until I decided that I didn't want this nervous/gaggy attack to run my life. Just be confident and know that everyone gets nervous from time to time. It's ok to be nervous before a speech or performance but fight the nervos attacks that come from everyday situations. You CAN fight it off, you're the only obsticle in your way. Be positive and confident, relax, remember to breath and don't let it consume you.

DT, Community Member
10/ 1/12 3:55pm

Hello! Would love to chat with you further. I love your attitude towards the annoying gagging :) 

My anxiety hit's me in the stomach...when I'm anxious/nervous I get a knotty stomach. - Anyhow.. then I fear getting sick, not being able to eat.. I get all worked up and gag. Even when I am totally fine.. I still am "conditioned" into fearing gagging/getting sick. ...  :( I want to be able to eat without having the constant worry and fear of gagging or getting sick when eating. - Its very annoying as you know. My psychologist is teaching to accept it, the less I worry the fear I will have. This is hard - but I'm pushing through....

lees23, Community Member
5/25/13 9:31pm

I have similar issues.  If you'd like to speak privately, I'd love to chat.

Kiki, Community Member
12/19/09 2:56pm

I am so releaved to hear that other people are having this problem. I am 29 and started having these attacks in about April (2009). I have been pulling my hair out and I do agree that it is taking over my life. To try and help curb it, I have stopped drinking anything with caffine in it. As well I have found a homeopathic complex, it has been working but not all the time. I understand the not being able to eat out either, I always have a bite or 2 and get it to go.

Paul, Community Member
3/ 7/10 3:04pm

I am 23 and have this type of anxiety. I first noticed when I was around 8 years old or so, in school. I was learning something in class where I had to sound out things, I was nervous and couldn't get a word out and I started dry-heaving out of nowhere. I wasn't sure what was wrong with me, but everytime since then where I had to act, speak-aloud in front of class, it hit me very bad. I have it now, but only during social situations. I even get it when I have nothing to fear of and in chill situations to where I am at-ease. I have tried to combat it with lexapro/xanax, but it seemed to make the problem worse.

I eventually with try other prescription meds to see if I can find the best fit. I also am going to take up a more naturla approach using extracts of some sort, things my body needs to keep stress/mood/nervous levels under-control. Self help and therapy is out of the question, if you get the shit while driving or most situations, you can't just close you're eyes and count to 10. There's no safe place to turn to when you're mind is in a stressful situation, it's like tug-of-war with a army tank.

messpotamia, Community Member
3/11/10 6:32pm

At least I know I'm not alone. I've had this problem since kindergarten, and it's only worsened since. I didn't gag until I was older though. I'm seventeen now and am finding it very hard to do much. If it's anxiety then I'm anxious that I'll start to feel sick/start gagging. I can't enjoy much. Most of the time when people ask me out to social situations I either feel terrible until I forget about it, or start making escape plans. I'm going to a concert in April, and as soon as I ordered my tickets I started dreading it. I have a good friend coming down soon and already I'm nervous that I'll start gagging or feeling sick. It's like I'm anxious about being anxious. If anyone finds a cure, please let me know.

emily, Community Member
6/ 1/10 4:03pm

Hi my name is Emily I'm 16 years old. I'm from maine and i have the same problem, anytime my family goes somewheres i always gag. And it always happen in the morning. Yes I am interested if anyone finds anything that will help. Email   

Misty, Community Member
5/ 2/10 1:04am

I'm 30 yrs old and have been dealing with this since I was 19. I got married at 19 and my wedding was a disaster (not my marriage though :)), and the day I married my husband he went into the hospital for Gillian Berrett Syndrome and stayed there for 2 months. My anxiety started there. The gagging lasted for about a year. I managed it until I became pregnant with our first child 4 yrs later. Our oldest is now 6 yrs, and has Aspergers Syndrome (I don't believe it is related), so he has therapy at least once a week. Driving the 45 mins to his OT's office is excruciating for me. It is so comforting to know I'm not alone. I have periods of time where I feel symptom free though. I don't know what triggers it, but when the symptoms start again I try my best to remind myself of how to snap out of it, otherwise it turns into depression with me.

Misty, Community Member
5/ 2/10 1:13am

And I have to say, the previous comment about "being anxious about being anxious" is dead on. I wake up feeling so afraid of being anxious that I end up being anxious. I try to sit by myself for a few minutes, breathe deeply and say "Calm down, this too shall pass".....over and over. SOMETIMES it helps.

dp, Community Member
5/10/10 4:56am

I'm 35 and I have battled spontaneous gagging for about six years now.  I notice a gag trigger when I get anxious or nervous about something.  Most of the time I notice it when I converse with someone.  It's almost like my vocal cords tense up and I want to stop talking.  I went to the dr. and started on Celexa.  I think it has helped a bit, but my own personal quick fix is a cracker or pretzel in my mouth when conversing with people.  This is not all the time, I can go hours talking to someone without the feeling of gagging, but the 'impulse' comes up out of nowhere.  When I pop something into my mouth, the gag thoughts dissapear.  It's the oddest thing. 

lees23, Community Member
5/25/13 9:30pm

My gagging started with IBS - I knew I was going to have an "attack" if I felt my gag reflex.  Once the attack was over, the gagging stopped.  That was 20 years ago.  Now I am constantly feeling that gag reflex, and often gag out my morning meds.  I am on a gluten-free, mostly dairy-free, sugar and processed food free diet.  That hasn't helped.  The impulse for me can also come out of nowhere...I'll be fine one minute, then feel like heaving the next.  Funny that your quick fix is a cracker...mine is peppermint gum.  Xanax helps sometimes but not always.  I'm even on Zofran (I have lupus and nausea is a symptom), which is my third prescription anti-nausea.  It doesn't work.  I take Prilosec for GERD, so that base is covered.  An endoscopy came up clean.  My gagging has no rhyme or reason sometimes, but is worse when I am anxious.  Have you ever seen an ENT doc?  One of the lupus meds I take makes you nauseous, but I don't think it is the problem.  I do have sinus issues and sometimes feel post-nasal drip.  I'm at the end of my rope.

Roger23, Community Member
6/28/10 10:38pm

 I am Thirty years old  and I have had this problem with gagging since I was about 12, I have tried alot of things and from anti anxiety meds to xanax and natural herbs, I experienced some good results with these methods but nothing I was satisfied with.

 It wasnt until I learned about EFT (emotional freedom technique) and took a class on it and started using it on a regular basis. My Gagging and anxiety has gotten so  much better and it happenend very fast. It is something that you can learn from the eft website but My best results came from when I actually went to a EFT practioner, I was very hesitant and thought it was weird at first but My life has changed from it. I still  have a attack from time to time but I know when it is coming and I know how to control it . 

 We all know Anxiety is basicaly a unbased fear a fear that hasn't happened. EFT realeases the emotion(Fear) of different situations,  we all gag at different situations with me it was when I played sports or when I had to do any physical activity where I thought there where expectations on me. EFT is absolutly amazing and it is worth the time to look into. And best of all it is free to learn from the website or go to

Roger23, Community Member
6/28/10 10:39pm

 I am Thirty years old  and I have had this problem with gagging since I was about 12, I have tried alot of things and from anti anxiety meds to xanax and natural herbs, I experienced some good results with these methods but nothing I was satisfied with.

 It wasnt until I learned about EFT (emotional freedom technique) and took a class on it and started using it on a regular basis. My Gagging and anxiety has gotten so  much better and it happenend very fast. It is something that you can learn from the eft website but My best results came from when I actually went to a EFT practioner, I was very hesitant and thought it was weird at first but My life has changed from it. I still  have a attack from time to time but I know when it is coming and I know how to control it . 

 We all know Anxiety is basicaly a unbased fear a fear that hasn't happened. EFT realeases the emotion(Fear) of different situations,  we all gag at different situations with me it was when I played sports or when I had to do any physical activity where I thought there where expectations on me. EFT is absolutly amazing and it is worth the time to look into. And best of all it is free to learn from the website or go to

Dp1989, Community Member
6/16/11 7:48pm

I had boughts of constantly having a gagging sensation and gagging fits for quite some time. I equated to anxiety until i realized what the problem really was. Anxiety increases tension. I bet many people here have pain in their backs, tense shoulders, and tense necks. This may or may not be your problem. I f you yawn alot, this is another sign. Yawning, in my case, was trying to open and stretch my throat because it was always tense and I couldnt figure out why. Try this...tilt your head back as if strecthing your neck. If you feel tension in the muscle under your jaw, this is most likely why your jagging. The muscle under the jaw, if not stretched, you constirct the throat and preferably the adams apple, making it sensitive. When you get an anxiety attack, your muscles tense even more...leaving it even more sensitive. So when you wake up through the morning and throughout the neck stretches. You may not believe this works, but I have yet to have this sensation of gagging againg since doing this.. Try it. You might be surprised. Sometimes we think the problem is something really bad, or is a mental dilemma. But it is in fact usually something so simple that we dont even realize it.

DANNY, Community Member
10/ 5/11 10:33pm

o and by the way...I forgot to mention something else you might find useful. Many people with anxiety problems seem to have an issue with breathing through their mouths...especially when they are panicing. This results in the tongue being placed down and back into the throat...allowing saliva to cause gagging since your throat is now constantly kept open. Your tongue should be slightly pushed foward and touching the rood of your mouth at all times, but it should feel natural and not forced. To see if this is your problem...take a sip of water and hold it in your mouth while tilting your head back. If you start to gag then your tongue is in the wrong place. Like I said before, a lot of the times anxiety causes us to go crazy thinking theres some physical illness that we have to learn to live with and accept when in fact its something so simple we simply pass it right by.

Thing 2, Community Member
10/ 5/11 9:26pm

I'm sure you all know the wonderful feeling I just felt when I realized that I am not the only person who has this problem. I always thought I had this bizarre problem and I never really knew if it was something in my head or a medical condition. I guess it turns out to be a medical condition in my head.
I started in high school. I've always had a high gag reflex, so when I was at a new boyfriends house eating dinner with his family for the first time I choked on some fish (I don't eat fish anymore :p) and ended up in the bathroom for 1/2 an hour. SO embarassing! It got really bad my last two years of high school, I was throwing up a lot and losing a lot of weight. I was diagnosed with acid reflux, but I knew that wasn't the entire problem.

Since then I've had less problems with it, but still enough for it to really effect my life. I get nervous meeting new people or even at the thought of going out to dinner with even a close friend. I visited my boyfriend in Texas and threw up once I got there. And ironically enough, I'm back to the problem of not being able to eat with my boyfriends family without starting to gag.
I really wish I could make this problem disappear. I'm taking a more active approach to finding a solution. All the suggestions on this page were a reat help!

DANNY, Community Member
10/ 5/11 10:37pm

o and by the way...I forgot to mention something else you might find useful. Many people with anxiety problems seem to have an issue with breathing through their mouths...especially when they are panicing. This results in the tongue being placed down and back into the throat...allowing saliva to cause gagging since your throat is now constantly kept open. Your tongue should be slightly pushed foward and touching the rood of your mouth at all times, but it should feel natural and not forced. To see if this is your problem...take a sip of water and hold it in your mouth while tilting your head back. If you start to gag then your tongue is in the wrong place. Like I said before, a lot of the times anxiety causes us to go crazy thinking theres some physical illness that we have to learn to live with and accept when in fact its something so simple we simply pass it right by.

Madison, Community Member
10/14/11 3:38pm

Hey Jacob,


Im currently a junior in high school experiencing the same thing! My parents don't believe me and are getting frustrated with me which make my anxiety worse. I have found that when I am around my boyfriend I tend to start hyperventilating, which doesn't make sense. I have a phobia of throwing up, which I have no idea why I have it. Ive struggled with this phobia which leads to panic attacks for me for many years but has been a major problem with me for the past couple months. I told my doctor and now he's reffering me to a therapist. It also turns out that my mom and grandma have anxiety disorders as well. They take medication though, which is what seems like the solution. I want anything that will help me with this too! I'd love to hear what you did that helps! Thanks!
and best of luck,


Jacob, Community Member
1/26/12 1:59am

i havent been on here in a while but im slowly makingnlittle progress. madison i know exactly how you feel. i also have a phobia or throwing up or being around people throwing up or talking about it etc etc. if i have a problem i step away and do som slow breathing and talk myself through it. i still gag and havent figured out a way around it. i also tend to clear my throat alot when i get nervous from the "throat closing" feeling i get. if i find anything that makes a drastic ill be sure to let you guys know.

Ash11344, Community Member
1/17/12 6:46pm
Has anyone found and information on how to stop gagging? I'm in highschool, grade 11 and suffering from nervous gagging since grade 6... It got much worse at the beginning of highschool, and though it would go away but it hasn't. The docs tild me it was acid reflex, and I'm on nexium for it but that's it... Trying breathing techniques and eating orange or mint candies which help a bit.. But it's VERY frusterating, especially being in highschool... It's effecting school and relationships... I just want to get RID of it. Any advice or techniques ??? Reply
CS88, Community Member
2/21/12 9:44pm

I am feeling a lot better knowing that I am not the only person with this problem. With me I never had issues growing up with this problem not even in high school. I was always the outside type of person that played basketball and sports etc... Once I finished high school I started college and at first it was fine. Finally, mid first semester I noticed that I would start gagging myself when i was exercising or playing sports but in my mind I believed it to be my throat being so dry. Over time it got a lot worse. For example, my first major test in College Algebra I started to get very nervous and started to gag myself and left the room to go to the bathroom to try to get a hold of myself in the end I came back and finished the test and then I felt fine. This happened from time to time during college and got a worse over time. About a year and a half ago I realized it usually happens when something out of the norm happens, like if my father tells me I need your help moving stuff today or if I am going out with people I would get nervous on the way there but once everything started I would be fine. To present day, I finished college and now I am looking for a job and that makes me very nervous about going to an interview because of the gagging reflex as well as things like going to the doctor I tell myself I would not be able to because I would gag myself there and the worst one is the dentist because I tell myself as well that I would gag the whole time and believing the only way to go is by means of me being asleep. In the end I pray everyday to God to help me and it helps from time to time but being 23 years of age and its been going on since i was 20 I feel there is nothing else that I can do and the best thing would be for me to move on and keep praying but it feels like I do not wish to live anymore if this problem keeps progressing.

DANNY, Community Member
2/22/12 3:59pm

This is definitely an anxiety problem and I had something similar. Im twenty two by the way, just about your same age. I started noticing that when I was anxious I would breathe wrong, usually through my mouth, and that would dry my throat. And another problem I had was not paying attention to where I kept my tongue and how I swallowed my own saliva. In my case it was because I was a smoker, and from breathing through my mouth so much, I kept my throat open all the time, letting my saliva run down my throat causing me to gag. Your tongue should always be positioned kinda up against the roof of your mouth and you want to keep your saliva pushed towards the front of your mouth until your ready to swallow. And always breathe through your nose. I know this seems weird but I had a friend with a similar problem as me and this helped them out big time, and I havent had a problem with gagging for over a year and a half since I figured this out. Haven't gagged even once since figuring this out. Trust me, It drove me crazy for the longest time thinking there was something wrong with me and believing I couldn't fix it. Try to think about everything you do from breathing to the position of your tongue to how you swallow your spit, and focus on when you feel like gagging and what factors are there during those times. Make sure your tongue isnt too far back and keep your saliva in the front of your mouth, as if you were sucking on a candy. This all seems weird but give it a try focusing on those things.

DANNY, Community Member
2/22/12 4:04pm

I also practice boxing and after noticing you said you were into sports, you probably breathe through your mouth just as much as in boxing. I would gag all the time while boxing too, even without a mouth piece. You get so used to keeping your throat too open all the time that your tongue relaxs too much and with your throat always too open, youll keep gagging on your spit. This will happen when you get anxious too since your throat feels like its constricting, and when that happens, you'll try to keep it open, making yourself gag.

ashley, Community Member
6/25/12 8:50pm

Hey guys. I can't even begin to tell yall how excited I was to finally find people who feel like I do every day of my life. I am 22 years old and a chronic gagger as a result of my anxiety and social anxiety. I think I have tried almost everything under the sun to make this go away. I have tried things to make my stumach relaxed like tums or ginger ale. I also have tried homeopathic remedies which seem to take the tip off. I've purposely asked the Dr. when I get a medication to also perscribe an anti-nausia medication hoping that would do the trick. I've been to a psychiatrist, a general Dr., a behavioral therapist, a hearing Dr., and I will be trying a homeopathic relief. I've been "diagnosed" with depression and anxiety. I know I'm not depressed but I think it makes the Drs feel better to say I'm depressed. Most of them have tried to perscribe something but I end up refusing it due to the long-term side affects they all have. The best remedy I've had was coping skills from my therapist with a breathing technique.              What's interesting about reading everyones stories, is we are all the same and we all have the same problem. I have actually gone far enough to where I can no longer eat an a restaurant. I take my food home otherwise I am afraid of gagging in public. I can no longer hang out with large groups, it spikes an attack. I don't see movies in theaters anymore, it's too crowded and it feels like theres not a quick exit if I had to leave at any point. This is how bad it is: when I go somewhere, I map out in my mind where all the restrooms and exits are just incase I need to bolt and gag. Oh and the best part, I also have a fear of throwing up, which makes this worse. I actually almost passed out the other day thinking I was about the throw up.  I have what I call my "safe places". My car, my home, and any bathroom is a "safe place" for me. I just hate explaining my "issue" to other people because they don't get it, but yet they offer advice as if they know what I go through. I refuse to let this make me a hermit, and I refuse to believe it when doctors tell me this will never go away. I'm very happy and pleased to see other people with this "thing". It's comforting and makes me feel less alone.

messpotamia, Community Member
8/18/12 5:51am

Jeez, it's been two years since ive been on here. Still just as bad too. Does anyone here have problems burping? The only time i really can is when i gag. i also have that pesky fear of vomitting. makes this whole ordeal a lot worse. I'd suggest a group meeting, but we'd all be too freaked out to attend haha. I hope everyone's well...or at least coping okay.

adg503, Community Member
8/30/12 6:54am

i have been dealing with the same thint since i was 15.i would gag or throw up anytime i got excited or did any physical didnt have to be stress related either.if i got all pumped up about a concert or a really good football game im watching,it would happen.its gotten worse over the years.i have to always have mints,gum,or a drink handy because if i dont my throat dries up and ill start to either puke or dry it happens even when i am perfectly calm and having a casual conversation with friends,family,even my children.i would love to know how to stop is ruining my life.

Matt Flavell, Community Member
12/19/12 7:01am

I cannot believe how many people are experiencing the same problems as myself!


This is a relief to know and has made me feel slightly better already.


My attacks started when I was about 18 or 19. I grew up with a perfect family and perfect lifestyle but dabbled in the wrong crowds as a teenager and believe this may have something to do with why I suffer with anxiety and these terrible gag attacks.


I met my girlfriend when I was 17 and have a great relationship with her. She is so supportive of me and has seen my attacks at there worst. They became so unbearable while I was at university though that I went to the doctors because I thought there was something physically wrong with me.


I would wake up on a morning and instantly gag. It would take me over an hour to get up and showered ready to leave the house. When I finally was ready, I couldn't eat because I would throw it back up again. To be honest, I am perfectly fine in social situations but more recently I have been putting myself off going to meet with friends and meeting new people.


I find the attacks occur when I am stressed or excited mainly. The doctor told me I was suffering from depression. I thought that couldn’t be right because I am generally a happy person. She explained that depression blankets many aspects such as anxiety and that a more specific diagnosis was anxiety disorder. 


She gave me two options:




I didn’t rush into it and except the medication, I talked it over with my girlfriend and tried the counseling but found this technique unsuccessful. However, in summer 2012 when I was finishing my 2nd year of university and feeling high stress I was advised to see a hypnotherapist. 


I took the advice because I was really clutching at straws and just wanted to be normal again and it worked for a period of time until I went back to university in the autumn. But from about April until September I only had about 3 attacks rather than it occurring every single morning.


I would struggle with restaurants and food, big events such as my 21st birthday and in some cases going to watch bands or football (soccer) matches.


Today is fathers 50th birthday. We fly to Florida in a few days for a holiday and even this seems to give me anxious thoughts. I feel if I wasn’t in such stressful situations as much I could control it again and get my life back on track.




Cut out caffeine and high sugar products

Don’t jump on medications

Meditate (Hypnosis)

Become more organised!


I have read people on here who are in there 30's still suffering. For me, that is my worst nightmare and don’t want to let that happen to me!


Just writing this has made me feel much better!


I wish you all a stronger and stress free life and hope my story helps people with similar problems!


Matt Flavell, Community Member
12/19/12 7:10am

Forgot to add....


I cut out alcohol for a few months as the doctor advised. Just a few days ago, my longest friend came back from to England for Christmas and I went to the pub with him. I had 4 pints and woke up the next day feeling okay but I went to our local shopping centre and the biggest anxiety attack I think I have ever had just hit me and i couldnt cope up there.


I was walking aimlessly on my own from toilet to toilet because I thought I was going to be sick.


This wasn't a hangover, it was evident by the way I felt that it was an anxiety attack. The problem is with alcohol, your mind has less control so you cannot overcome the anxiety and collect yourself. It's like a vicious circle though. You have a drink to feel at ease, but the next day you cannot cope with anything.


So my advice would be to see how you feel if you cut out alcohol for a period of time and look for any improvements.

dd, Community Member
1/ 1/13 7:28pm

garggle with hot salty water then KissMoney mouthpat your stomache softly love u baby

Andrew, Community Member
4/ 7/13 1:18am

I started having this problem a few months ago and it was a real struggle.  I am finally starting to get over it now, thanks to a combination of medication and talking to a therapist.  My doctor put me on Citalopram and Buspirone, which have seemed to help me a lot.  Talking to a therapist has really helped a lot too since it lets me talk through all of the different times that I had a panic attack and started dry heaving and get advice on what to do the next time I am put in that situation.


Another really helpful tip that my therapist gave me was to put a piece of really sweet/sour/spicy candy in your mouth when you start feeling anxious and think you're going to start dry heaving.  It distracts you from the anxious thoughts for a little bit and has helped me a ton as well. 


I wish you all the best of luck with dealing with this.  It is a struggle, but you will make it through it!

Jacob, Community Member
4/15/13 6:08pm


Sorry this may not be a direct answer to your question and I'm not a professional.  I was just thinking about something the past few days that made me so anxious that I gagged, just like all of you.  It happened to me just now, which is why i just searched it up on the google engine and found this page.  I started reading through some comments and notice that all of us have something in common.  Other than the gagging issue itself, we suffer mentally everyday with our disorders.  It takes over our lives and makes us feel abnormal.  This page (blog) is amazing because allows us to share our "abnormal" problems and makes us realize that its not so abnormal.  From this we are able to have more of a positive attitude on our disorders. I am sure everyone who read this page was glad that they weren't the only ones suffering.  This knowledge alone relieves so much stress.  Some people have already figured it out and decided to ACCEPT their disorders and deal with it using a positive attitude.  (eg. some blogers have claimed to just openly gagged in public and not let it bother them.)  When you accept your disorder, you wont have as much of a panic or emotion attached during your panic attack, nervousness etc.  


Now in my attempt to help you, you might have had panic attacks because of something that triggers your body to give you a panic attack, like some sort of event.  However, because you ve had so many panic attacks in the past, that you fear the event of having a panic attack itself which dramatically increases your chances of having a panic attack.  So before or during your panic attacks, you re telling yourself " o no, o no, its happening again" etc.  This probably makes you MORE anxious and increases the severity of your panic attack.  If you were to accept it, then having a panic attack is not so terrible which makes you relax and the severity of your panic attack lessen or hopefully dissapear.


Again, I'm not a professional, that's just my take on it.  But I have OCD. So I am speaking from my experiences. When I get anxious, I feel like I have to think about something a certain way to get rid of the anxiousness and sometimes I'm never able to get rid of it completely.  Thus, it takes over my life as well. Anyways, I've instantly felt better about myself after reading other people's comments. Also, in the past few years, I have been more open and accepting of it. It makes me feel like I'm not alone and we re all in this together.  Thank you everyone for sharing and making me feel better. I believe that sharing our thoughts and feelings has cured 50 % of our problems.  Keep sharing everyone, ACCEPT your imperfections, have a POSITIVE attitude and best of luck in tackling your disorders, whatever it is! 





Kelsey, Community Member
6/ 6/13 10:36pm

I am 20 years old now and have had this problem since I got food-poisioning in November of 2011. The only things that seem to help me is to carry around Life Savers mints to suck on when I feel an attack coming on or carry a flavored drink (plain water makes it worse) with me everywhere I go. After I got the FP it led me to having to get my gallbladder removed in May of 2012. I hoped that the gallbladder not working was causing the problem but it still remains. This is the only thing that makes sense to me. If I don't think about the issue I'm fine however everytime I get into a social situation the attack hits me. The beverage and mints have proven to be a big help. I haven't officially had the gagging problem yet but I hate to gag or throw up so I try to do everything in my power to fight it off. I was working for a shoe company when I had the surgery. I ended up having to quit the job because I wasn't allowed to have my drink with me. From there I had an office job that allowed me to have a drink and I worked there fine. Now that I have graduated college I am off to better opportunities. The thing I fear however is getting a job that won't allow my drink and I'll either have the attacks full-out or not be able to hold on to the job. I am really defensive when I am forced to give up my drink. It has become my "Linus blanket" since it is the only thing that helps. I really want to go to a Dr. and see if they can prescribe me anything or possibly find out the real issue, the problem there is that I am still in debt from my surgery and I have no job therefore I have no insurance or money. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to email me at <> I could use all the advice I can get Thank you.

Rob, Community Member
6/28/13 3:08pm
I'm 32 and this dry heaving/gagging started six years ago on my first day of my new job after 3 months unemployed and I was in debt. This was also after my previous job was awful and the people a disgrace. I don't think my problem is quite as severe as some on this thread. However,in all this years this is the first time I've actually looked into it. I have always been a gagger when it comes to going to the dentist but obviously this problem is something else. It seems to occur when the weather is cold (I live in England so cold is a way of life). When in a hot climate it rarely happens. It feels like my mouth has gone dry and not producing enough saliva. This is probably not the case and just more of a mental thing. I never saw myself as a worrier but I guess this must have stemmed from anxiety. What stops it for me is to always have some mints or chewing gum in my pocket just in case I am about to gag. However, sometimes having half a bag of mints a day is not practical and surely not great for you. This is just a short term fix that's been going on for six years! Reply
Chey, Community Member
7/22/13 3:40am
I'm 14 and I've had this gagging problem since I was about 10. I never knew many people had this problem, I thought I was the only one! Last December I was just absolutely done with my gagging problem. So my mom took me to my regular doctor. But a problem I had was I didn't know how to explain this gagging problem. It was hard to explain to him but I finally did and I could tell he didn't care about my problem, but then he sent me to a ENT doctor and they thought I had acid reflux. That doctor was much better and actually cared about me. He send me to a hospital the day after I visited him for a x-ray test, it checked to see if all my organs were in place. The test showed I didn't have acid reflux. And I honestly knew it wasn't acid reflux all along. After the test I had to wait another month to see a gasterologist doctor. So for a month I suffered school, scared to eat at lunch, scared to read out loud, also scared of gym I always threw up in gym so at least I got a doctors note for gym. I also had to quit gymnastics because we had to run as a warm up :( I was even thinking of being home schooled. But a month went by and I visited the GI doctor and they scheduled me for a upper endoscopy test and a blood test to go along. So at the end of may I got the test done, it was a bit scary to me but it was fast! Right after the test they gave me the medicine omeprazole (that I still take to this day but doesn't work) and I got my test results 2 months later saying every thing was good and they think I have anxiety. So now I have to see a doctor for relaxation techniques. And I go from there Reply
ajpmetal, Community Member
8/ 2/13 9:11pm

I relieved, like a lot of you, that I actually am not alone in this nightmare. 

My gagging problem started about 4 years ago. I have no idea how it started.

 I DO know that I would occasionally get a gagging sensation when i was overly excited about something,  but not like this. I struggle with this all day every day. 

As soon as I wake up I have to have a mint or cracker in my mouth to prevent gagging.  All day, mints mints mints. This worked for a few years. Annoying and frustrating as hell, but it worked.


Now I'm at a point where mints aren't quite enough. It has to be crackers, or food. Its like the problem has been intensified x 2 and almost nothing is a good enough fix. Now my overall anxiety is a nightmare. I'm on the verge of quitting my job. I just got full time and promoted, but my anxiety and gagging Is taking over my life. I am constantly afraid I'm going to gag in front of someone. I have stared to avoid my friends, and neglecting my job duties. I miss my friends, and my job is easy, but my gagging and anxiety is ruining my life. I don't even want to leave the house anymore. My anxiety is the worst its ever been. I have started taking small doses of xanex, and it seems to help a little. I have tried homeopathic remedys, affirmation inhalers, and im about to try some herbal rememdies from whole foods. Anyone try medicinal pot? I need help. Bad. I can't loose my job. I literally want to die. It is a constant torture. 


Please email me with anything you have that might help, or if you just need someone to relate to. I feel like I'm running out of options.

gardiner, Community Member
8/13/13 3:06am

I guess this all the time.  It's due to anxiety.  I only get this when I'm driving.  Mainly because my first panic attack happened while I was driving.


I either burp a lot for no reason, or start gagging like crazy.  I get goosebumps too when I start gagging.  I only happens for the first 30 minutes or so while driving.


Althought it hasn't lead to any panic attacks, as I believe I have that under control.  But, in my mind, I am always worried about having another panic attack.  Hence the anxiety.


The best cure for panic attacks and anxiety is CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy.  CBT works so well for me, that after 3+ years of taking meds, just 3 months of self-therapy through online sources help me overcome my panic attacks and agoraphobia.


I'm not saying you should go to the "self-help" technique, but you should see a specialist that has worked with people with Panic Attacks.  Anyone w/o experience is a waste of time.  They will not understand what we are going through and will just read off a book and tell you "don't worry be happy bs".


Find someone who specializes in Panic Disorders and Anxiety.  For me, I couldn't afford the treatment so I did my own research on CBT.  After a few months, I slowly got better.


The biggest problem for me was just the fear of another attack.  The fear alone made me a recluse.  Not only did it make my condition worst, but it was bad for my health.

Caroline, Community Member
11/ 2/13 6:41pm

I've been having the same problem as everyone else on this website. I've been gagging/ dry heaving for a little over 3 weeks now and I do not know the reason why this is happening. I'm a student in university and have had little to no problems of gagging when at school, but still have that feeling that I am about to gag every once in a while during classes. I do not have a job at the moment but am looking into finding one. I'm scared of gagging in front of people so a part time job may not be good for me at the moment. The gagging is usually mild or minor but escalates and causes me to vomit a little. After that I feel better for the majority of the day. The gagging/ dry heaving happens at random times during the day and I can't find any way to stop them. Chewing gum helps, but only for a little while. This gagging problem is taking over my life!


If anyone has found a solution to this problem email me:

I feel like I'm running out of options and want this problem out of my life for good.

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By Jacob, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/24/14, First Published: 07/20/08