Sensitive Gag Reflex

Updated on July 19, 2010
M.G. asks from San Antonio, TX
9 answers

Hello All,

I believe that my daughter has a sensitive gag reflex. Sometimes when she coughs, she ends up throwing up. This even happens sometimes in restaurants. It has gotten worse and she is now doing it about every 2-3 days. It's not a hard cough either. She is not sick and has no drainage. I have checked her nose and she is clear. I spoke with the doc and she didn't really have a concern with it, but I can't help but be concerned. The reason I'm so concerned besides the obvious is that she hardly eats anything anyways. We have her drinking Pediasure, so when she throws up, I know she is losing precious nutrients and calories. I don't think it's the Pediasure either because she doesn't do it every time she drinks it. Plus this just started within the last month or so and she has been on Pediasure for longer. She does eat solids also, just not very much and she is very picky. I know some people are mentioning asthma, but its not a gasping cough, its just a quick, somethings tickling my throat cough, and then throw up all over me or whoever is around. She doesn't have a consistant cough throughout the day. Oh yeah, she is 15 months.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Advise is appreciated. Thank you.

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answers from Houston on

I used to nanny for a kid who did the sme thing. It started with it happening on accident then he started makin himself do it b/c he realized he got attention. ( he had a new baby sister around this time) When they throw up just like with anything else we react and its a big reaction so they like the attention. it took his parents completly ignoring it. I mean not even cleaning the kid up for a while, to get him to stop, but after a time or two of that he was fine.

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answers from Cincinnati on

hi - my first thought/question is does your child have reflux?

as far as the sensitive gag reflex - does she gag with foods? tooth brushing? smell of foods? texture of foods?

If you have significant concerns about her feeding you may want to consider taking her to a 'feeding clinic' at your local children's hospital. a feeding clinic is a group of professionals who specialize in feeding with children. they will be able to assess her to see if there are concerns/need for further testing to rule anything out.

Good luck!



answers from College Station on

I would try another Dr., maybe an ENT.

Good Luck!



answers from Austin on

Does she cough a lot? Like when she is napping or sleeping too? I am just asking because my son has had asthma since he was 8 weeks old (technically they don't diagnose that early but it hasn't changed) He is now 6 and when he has problems breathing he coughs. They won't be big coughs, just short little coughs like he can't quite catch his breath. None of the wheezing or usual symptoms, but when he starts coughing, it gets so bad so fast that after only a few minutes of "light coughing" he throws up.... Every time. Just curious.
Other than that, I think the Pediasure is a really good idea.



answers from New York on

My daughter is 20 and she was and infant when she started the same gag reflex . The doctors stated she will out grow it . NOT !!!! still looking in to why and how to stop it . The ENT put her on NEXUIM AND I TOOK HER OFF ABOUT A MONTH DUE TO IT WAS NOT WORKING hate to see her on any meds that she does need . WENT BACK TO SEE ABOUT THE SLEEP STUDY YEA SHE HAS SLEEP APNEA . (BORN WITH DOWN SYNDROME ) THE DOCTOR STATEDSHE SHOULD OF BEEN ON IT FOR 8 WEEKS SO WE ARE SEEING IF THAT WAS IT . SHE HAD A LOT OF ISSUES WITH HER HEALTH . BUT THEY JUST PASS THE YEARS OF HER OUT GROWING THE GAGGING AND COUPHING . STILL LOOKING IN TO THE ISSUE AFTER 20 YEARS .
R. from ny



answers from Boston on

i dont have any experience in this but i would look into talking to your doctor about possible food allergies or a type of acid reflux. when i was a kid i use to get wicked heartburn to the point i didnt want to eat. sometimes i felt sick because of the burning in the back of my throat. food allergies don't always show up when they are first starting out. your body is always changing. i am now allergic to medicine i use to take when i was a kid. if the doctor doesnt take your concerns under advisement then i would talk to your husband about finding another doctor.



answers from Oklahoma City on

My son has a texture thing and can make himself throw up at will. He will do it when trying to make him take some of his medicine(he has asthma) and when eating certain foods(mostly vegetables and primarily potatoes). So i understand what you are going through, but I have not been able to figure out what to do about it. My son is 3 and i don't see how old your daughter is but just keep trying. Kids will not let themselves starve and even though she may not always eat the things you want her to, she will get better with it over time... and if you think it is a medical thing, then try another Dr. for sure!



answers from Houston on

This is just a thought......maybe she has asthma and that is causing the cough? The reason I suggest that is because I too recently have been diagnosed with asthma and I don't always wheeze. I just cough and cough until I vomit. Gross, I know. Maybe you could take your daughter to a pediatric asthma/allergist and have her tested. Maybe she vomits because her body has an allergy to some of the foods she is eating??? I know you must be frustrated and I commend you for trying to help your daughter. Good luck!!!



answers from Tulsa on

Make an appointment with an ORL (Eye,l Ear, Nose, and Throat) Doctor. He can go in through her nose and look in her throat and see if there is any thing that is a cause for concern. It's a very simple proceedure, my husband has always had that kind of a gag reflex and when the doc did this to him, to see if he couls do that snoring surgery, he did just fine. They spray the nasal area with a numbing liquid and then go in with a small scope.

Since this is new I'd be concerned too.

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