Last Updated: 14th March 2018
Did you eat spoiled food recently?
Making yourself throw up could help you feel better by expelling foods and substances that make you ill.
However, it’s a method you should try as a last resort, after speaking with your physician, and only in two circumstances:
- If you have food poisoning.
- If you ingested non-corrosive substances, such as pills.
Throwing up is a natural mechanism your body uses to get rid of toxins and substances that make you sick, but inducing the vomit needs to be done with extreme care.
If done incorrectly, making yourself throw up could cause more harm than good.
To be on the safe side, let’s look at the situations in which you shouldn’t induce vomiting.
When NOT To Make Yourself Throw Up
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There are cases in which making yourself vomit can put you at risk.
Don’t Throw up If You Ingested Corrosive Poison or Chemicals.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers discourages making yourself vomit unless your physician or poison control center explicitly tells you to do so.
- The New Zealand National Poisons Centre (NPC) also recommends not to induce vomiting after ingesting a toxic substance. This is because:
- Vomiting corrosive substances, such as bleach or gasoline, can severely damage your digestive tract and airways.
- Vomiting can be ineffective at removing the poison in your stomach.
- The poison could go towards your lungs as you try to vomit.
- The contractions of your stomach when you vomit could cause the poison to be absorbed more quickly by your body.
- It can interfere with more effective treatments.
If you ingest any of these substances, call your physician or poison control center immediately and avoid vomiting.
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Substances that can froth. These include detergents, shampoos, and soaps. These lightweight substances can reach your airways and lungs if you try to throw up, causing inflammation, swelling, and burns.
Solid or sharp objects. These include buttons, coins, toys, or rings. The objects could scratch your throat, make cuts, cause injuries, or get stuck in your airways.
Acid liquids. These include bleach, pesticides, and acids. Vomiting acidic substances will aggravate chemical burns in your esophagus, throat, and mouth.
Petroleum products. These include gasoline, solvents, kerosene, paint thinner and other flammable products. There’s a high risk of these substances reaching your airways if you vomit, which can cause tears and burns in your throat, mouth, and esophagus.
Do NOT throw up as a weight-loss method. Doing so can lead to eating disorders, such as bulimia, that can cause severe malnutrition, damage your teeth, and endanger your life.
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Pregnant women are advised not to make themselves throw up, as it can cause dehydration and deprive the baby of important nutrients if done on a regular basis.
When It’s Safe to Make Yourself Throw Up
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First and foremost, you should consult with your physician and poison control center before trying to induce vomiting.
Most of the time, it’s safe to induce vomiting when you have eaten spoiled or rotten food that is starting to make you ill, if your body doesn’t do it naturally.
It’s also relatively safe to throw up if you have ingested a non-corrosive poison, such as cyanide, heroin, pills, or other drugs.
Methods to Make Yourself Throw Up Instantly
There are dozens of folk remedies to make yourself throw up, however, most of them can be ineffective or have negative side effects.
The safest and most effective methods are the following:
Use Your Index Finger
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The quickest way to make yourself throw up is to use clean fingers to trigger your gag reflex.
Here’s how to do it:
- Wash your hands and cut your nails to avoid scratching your throat.
- Pull your hair up (if you have long hair) to get it out of your way.
- Choose where you’re going to vomit. It can either be in the toilet, a bucket, or one of these great disposable vomit bags
- Sit down or kneel in a way that doesn’t press your abdominal area, you don’t want extra pressure over your stomach.
- Insert your index finger into your mouth and reach towards the back of the throat.
- Press the finger down in the back of your throat as far as needed to trigger your gag reflex.
- Once you start feeling nausea, remove the finger quickly. You’ll likely throw up right away.
- If you feel nausea but can’t throw up, try once again.
- Wash your hands after vomiting.
- Rinse your mouth and do gargles with plain water to remove leftover stomach acid from your mouth and throat.
- Don’t brush your teeth until 30 minutes after you throw up. Your enamel will be sensitive after coming into contact with your stomach acid.
- If you can’t trigger your gag reflex this way, try the methods described below.
Watch Other People Throw Up
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Another quick way to induce nausea is to watch other people vomit. This can trigger a strong urge to throw up as well. You can watch videos of other people throwing up to achieve this.
If this isn’t enough to trigger your gag reflex, use your index finger as explained above.
If you’d rather not use your finger or have almost no gag reflex, take emetics instead. Emetics areover-the-counter drugs that trigger vomiting by causing contractions in your stomach.
The most common emetic is syrup of ipecac.
However, there’s controversy over the safety of ipecac, since it can be toxic in high doses. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not to stock it at home. To prevent side effects, drink only in small amounts.
Follow these steps if you have decided to take ipecac:
- Follow the directions on the syrup bottle.
- Drink 1 to 2 glasses of water or 8 to 16 ounces after taking ipecac syrup.
- If vomiting doesn’t occur within 30 minutes, repeat the dose.
- If the second dose doesn’t work, contact your doctor immediately.
- Avoid taking syrup of ipecac if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Don’t give to children under 12 years of age.
- Ipecac syrup could cause drowsiness, dizziness, rashes, and allergic reactions.
Ineffective Remedies To Avoid
Folk remedies to help you throw up are not always effective or safe. They can have side effects you need to take into consideration before trying them.
Anecdotally, these remedies have helped people throw up easily, but there’s no scientific evidence to back up their safety.
Some of the most common recommendations include:
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A mustard solution is meant to work in a similar way to the salt water solution. The method is to mix one tablespoon of mustard spread in a glass of warm water, drink the solution, and wait 30 minutes for it to take effect.
The unpleasant taste should make you feel like throwing up. As of right now, there’s no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness or guarantee its safety.
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Bloodroot is a medicinal herb that was used by Native Americans to treat fever, cancers, and induce vomiting. The method consists of boiling 1 teaspoon of bloodroot roots in one cup of water. After boiling, let it steep for 20 minutes, strain the tea, and drink it warm.
However, bloodroot has toxic components that make it unsafe to use. High concentrations of bloodroot can cause death. Consult with your physician before trying bloodroot.
If you do choose to go the bloodroot herb root, this Bloodroot Extract is a great choice.
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Some websites advise overeating as a way to induce nausea and vomiting. This method is highly ineffective because it can promote the absorption and digestion of the substances you’re trying to get rid of in the first place. If you can’t vomit by overeating, you’ll only end up bloated and with severe discomfort.
The Side Effects Of Throwing Up
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Throwing up can have the following effects on your body:
Dehydration. Your body loses significant water content when you vomit.
Burns in the esophagus. The stomach acid can cause inflammation, swelling, and burns in your esophagus. This is called esophagitis.
Aspiration. Some of the vomit can reach your airways and lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration can cause swelling and infections in your airways.
Tooth enamel erosion. Stomach acid can soften and erode your tooth enamel.
Tears in the esophagus. This is a severe side effect that happens less often. If you vomit violently and forcefully, the esophagus could tear. Esophageal rupture can cause saliva, food, and vomit to leak into the chest cavity. This condition needs to be addressed by a doctor.
What To Do After Throwing Up
It’s important to help your body and digestive tract recover from the effects of vomiting.
Here’s what you can do:
Rinse Your Mouth
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Right after vomiting, rinse and do gargles with plain water to remove stomach acid from your mouth and teeth. This will protect your tooth enamel.
Don’t brush your teeth immediately after vomiting to avoid eroding the tooth enamel softened by the stomach acid. Instead, wait 30 minutes before brushing.
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To rehydrate your body, start sipping small amounts of water once you completely stop feeling nauseous.
If you prefer, lemon water also works as a good alternative. Drinking too much water can make you feel nauseous again, so sip slowly.
Eat Bland Foods
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Once you have an appetite again, start by eating bland foods like banana, oatmeal, rice water, soups, puddings, and yogurt (choose a plant-based yogurt if you’re allergic to dairy).
Bland foods are ideal because they’re gentle on your stomach and digest easily.
Drink Herbal Teas
Herbals teas are excellent for improving your digestion and protecting your digestive tract.
Evidence shows the best teas for digestion are ginger, chamomile, fennel, citrus fruits, artichoke and melissa tea. Ginger tea is especially effective at fighting nausea and chamomile tea will reduce spasms.
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Vomiting makes your body lose nutrients and fluids. Therefore, you need time to rest and recover. Stay in bed and take naps to allow your body to heal.
Throwing up can be a good method of removing toxins and harmful substances you have ingested, however, it should be done as a last resort and after consulting your physician.
Never use this technique as a weight-loss method.
Don’t make yourself throw up if you swallowed corrosive substances. In this case, contact your doctor immediately.
Only induce vomit if you have food poisoning or if you have ingested non-corrosive poison.
The best three methods to make yourself throw up are: using your index finger to induce your gag reflex, watch other people vomit to stimulate nausea, or take an emetic, such as ipecac syrup.
Avoid untested folk remedies for inducing vomiting, such as salt water, mustard water, and bloodroot, as they can cause harmful side effects.
Vomiting can harm your upper digestive tract, so make sure to take care of your body after you’ve managed to throw up the dangerous substances that were making you ill.
Self-induced vomiting can also make your body become prone to it. The human body is great at adapting to changes, sometimes developing a habit out of them. Your body might become used to throwing up on its own, which can cause further issues in the future.
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