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Whilst throwing up is something we try and save for unpleasant illnesses and rather big nights out, there are a few times when emptying the contents of your stomach can be a good thing. It’s not pleasant, it’s not fun, but come on, it’s true that once the deed is done, you feel better.
For instance, have you ever eaten something bad, e.g. meat which you later found out was past its sell by date, and you had a rotten stomach ache for hours afterwards?
You know that being sick will make you feel better, and get rid of that horrible, uncomfortable churning in your stomach, but you can’t bring yourself to do it.
Another example is if you accidentally take too many painkillers, wrongly thinking you should take three, when you should only take one. In these situations, throwing up is the best course of action.
The thing is, if you know how to make yourself throw up properly, you can do so safely, without causing yourself any damage.
A word of warning however – making yourself throw up without need, e.g. because you don’t want to record the calories of your last pizza or burger, is not to be recommended. Making yourself sick too often can cause damage to your digestive tract, so this should always be a last resort.
Warning aside however, if you keep your throwing up efforts for times when it is needed, and times when you really need to feel better, then there are ways you can do so without causing harm, and quickly too.
After all, throwing up is a natural bodily function, a way of ridding your body of toxins safely.
When Not to Make Yourself Throw Up
Before we cut to the chase and talk about how to actually do it, never make yourself sick in the following situations;
- If you consumed chemicals or anything corrosive
We’re talking about things such as bleach, petrol, or chemicals here. This is because when you bring it back up, i.e. when you’re sick, the substance can cause a lot of damage to your digestive tract and even your airway. In some cases this can be life threatening, and being sick probably won’t get rid of the poison in your stomach anyway. The best course of action in this case is to head to the Emergency Room ASAP and have your stomach pumped.
- If you consumed anything frothy, acidic or petroleum-based
Why you would swallow shampoo or soap is beyond us, but if you do, don’t make yourself throw up. This is similar to our last example, because the product will simply froth up as you’re trying to be sick and can cause burning or swelling in your airway. Again, head to the Emergency Room instead. If you swallow something acidic, the chances of it burning your throat are very high indeed.
- If you swallowed something sharp or hard
If by some strange twist of fate you somehow managed to swallow perhaps a coin, a button, or something sharp and solid, then it’s best to go straight to the Emergency Room. If you try and throw up, the object could lodge itself in your throat and cause problems with breathing.
- Because you want to lose weight
Just don’t do it. It’s ineffective anyway. If you make yourself sick as a weight loss method, you’re basically putting yourself on a fast track towards serious illness. It’s really not worth it. There are much safer ways to lose weight, ways that don’t put your life at risk.
When it’s Perfectly Fine to Make Yourself Throw Up
Okay, so we’ve talked about the situations in which you shouldn’t be attempting to throw up, but now we need to cover the situations in which it is totally acceptable. Again, don’t make throwing up a regular part of your routine, and instead save it for those last resort kind of situations.
- When you ate something bad
If you had something for dinner which is certainly not agreeing with you, you feel sick, you have stomach ache, and you know you’re going to be sick anyway, it’s perfectly fine to hurry the process up and make yourself feel better.
- When you consumed non-corrosive substances
We talked in our last section about not throwing up when you accidentally consume anything corrosive, because it can burn and cause swelling, but if you consumed something accidentally that isn’t corrosive, it’s fine to help your body get rid of it.
By non-corrosive substances we’re talking about things like drugs, any other pills, or things such as cyanide. Yes, it’s a weird situation to suggest you might ingest cyanide, but hey, weird things happen in life sometimes.
- When you drank too much alcohol and you just can’t stop feeling sick
It’s quite possible that if you drink too much alcohol to the point where you feel extremely sick, that you’re going to be sick naturally anyway, but it’s okay to cut to the chase and just get rid of it already. By the time the deed is done, hopefully you can sleep it off. The key thing to remember? Just don’t drink that much in the first place!
How to Make Yourself Throw Up Safely and Easily
If you run a quick Internet search on how to make yourself throw up, you’ll find a million methods, but the overwhelming majority of them aren’t safe, and could cause damage to your digestive tract and airway. The following methods will help you get rid of that sickly feeling, and won’t cause you any lasting damage.
Make Use of Your Gag Reflex
This is the way that you have probably tried before, but you might not have been doing it in the safest way possible. Basically, it’s about hygiene and making sure you don’t accidentally scratch the back of your throat, so make sure you don’t have long nails when trying it. Of course, wash your hands first.
- Find the toilet and kneel down comfortably, so you’re not squashing your stomach – you need room to move
- Slowly and carefully, use your index finger to touch the back of your throat
- You’re probably going to start retching, but you need to reach your gag reflex, so you might have to reach a little further back
- Once you feel that familiar nauseous feeling, perhaps a burning in your stomach, take your finger away fast – you’re going to be sick quite quickly and you don’t want to extra mess!
- If you feel sick but nothing happened, just try again – it will work
Use Your Imagination
This method might not work for everyone, and you might have to work it in conjunction with the last method we talked about, but for some people, imagination can be all it takes to cause vomiting.
Think of the most disgusting thing you can think of, or watch someone else throwing up. For many people, if they already feel the urge to be sick anyway, this can be enough to have them running to the nearest toilet.
Try Taking an Emetic Medication
If you really don’t fancy the idea of sticking your finger down your throat, or watching videos of people throwing up, then you could try taking an emetic instead.
As with any medication, you need to be careful how you take it, and you need to make sure you only take an emetic that is given to you by a pharmacist. The good news is that you can buy them over the counter.
Emetics basically cause you to be sick, because they give you those sickness-inducing stomach contractions. If you’re already feeling a bit queasy, this little nudge along the way is enough to get the job done.
Always follow the directions on the bottle, and never take more than recommended, as some emetics are toxic if you take too much. Before you take the emetic, to help battle dehydration, drink a couple of glasses of water first.
After half an hour you should be sick, but if you’re not, you can take one more dose. If that doesn’t work, don’t take anymore, and you should head off to see a doctor instead.
There are a few warnings with emetics to remember:
- Don’t take emetics if you’re pregnant
- Don’t take emetics if you’re breastfeeding
- Don’t give emetics to children
- Be aware of the side effects – dizziness, feeling drowsy, a rash, and in some rare cases, allergy
Most people to go the first option of using their gag reflex to make themselves throw up, and to be honest, it is probably the most successful option to go for.
Obviously, if you’re squeamish and you just can’t handle the idea of touching the back of your own throat, you do have the other two options to hopefully help the natural process along a little.
What to do After You’ve Thrown Up
After you’ve been sick, you’ll probably feel a sense of relief, and then a sense of ‘that was vile’.
Let’s be honest, throwing up isn’t a pleasant experience, but sometimes our bodies just need a helping hand, and being human isn’t all glitz and glamour.
There are things to remember after you’ve thrown up, for safety and hygiene reasons.
- Wash your hands straightaway. Whatever you’ve just brought back up is crawling with germs and it may be on your hands
- Wash your face with cool water, not freezing cold. This will help you feel better and less feverish, which can happen when throwing up
- Grab a glass of water and gargle with it a few times. This will help to get rid of that horrible taste you’ll have in your mouth, but will also get rid of any stomach acid that is left in your mouth too, and will ease that potential burning feeling in your throat
- Avoid the urge to grab your toothbrush and clean your teeth. The acid in your stomach does nothing good for your teeth, so wait half an hour before brushing
- Stick to foods which are bland after being sick. When you start to feel hungry again, don’t be tempted to grab the nearest greasy treat, or a glass of coke, and instead go for water and something bland, like soup or yogurt. This will be much easier on your stomach, after it has been through quite an ordeal, and will digest much quicker and easier than something heavy and fat-laden
- Have a rest. Yes, you are allowed to lay down and have a sleep for a little while; your body has just had a minor ordeal, and needs an hour or so to recover
Ignore The Myths
There are many old wives’ tales about how to throw up, and unless they are on the list above, then don’t listen to them! The most popular myths to avoid are:
- Eating too much
- Taking mustard solution
- Taking bloodroot herb
There is no evidence to suggest that any of the above methods work, and they’re just more likely to make you feel more sick.
To Sum it All Up
Basically, if you really need to throw up, you have to do it in the quickest and safest way possible. Remember that there are serious health issues with doing this too often, so only ever resort to making yourself sick if you really need to. Every single time you vomit, you put your body at risk of:
- Burning your digestive track with stomach acid
- Swelling of your airway in some rare cases
- Eroding your own tooth enamel, due to your own stomach acid
- A small tear forming in your digestive tract (esophagus), if you are sick very violently
When you make yourself throw up correctly and in moderation however, there are very minimal risks, and you can actually help your body out, e.g. if you have eaten something which was causing you discomfort.
It’s not the most glamourous subject to talk about, but who said that the human body was particularly glitzy? Sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do to make ourselves feel better!