Why Is My Gag Reflex So Sensitive? If you’ve ever tried to eat an ice cream cone, only to end up with ice cream dripping down your hands and all over your face, then you probably have very sensitive gag reflexes. Although it can be annoying when we don’t have control over our body and food goes down the wrong pipe, there are actually some positives to having sensitive gag reflexes, as well as some easy things you can do to tone them down still enjoy your favorite foods.
How the brain determines unpleasantness
Why Is My Gag Reflex So Sensitive? The brain has a complex system for determining what tastes and smells good or bad. This system includes the cerebral cortex, the thalamus, and the limb system. The cortex is responsible for processing information from the senses. The thalamus relays information from the cortex to the limb system. The limb system includes the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions.
What Causes A Hyperactive Gag Reflex?
Why Is My Gag Reflex So Sensitive? Many things can cause your gag reflex to be more sensitive than normal. A common cause is anxiety or fear, which can make the muscles in your throat tighten and trigger your gag reflex. Other causes include HERD, sinus infections, allergies, acid reflex, and certain medications. If you have a hyperactive gag reflex, there are some things you can do to help ease your symptoms. The first thing to do is make sure that you’re not eating foods that are going to set off your gag reflex (chocolate, citrus fruits, spicy foods). Next time you eat one of these types of food, stop as soon as you feel like it’s starting to affect your throat. You can also try drinking water while eating (which will wash away any food particles) or chewing sugarless gum (which helps take up space in your mouth). It may also help if you don’t drink fluids right before or during meals.
What Makes Yours Worse?
Why Is My Gag Reflex So Sensitive? When your gag reflex is too strong, it can make day-to-day activities difficult. Brushing your teeth, eating, and drinking can all become a challenge. There are treatments available that can help lessen the strength of your gag reflex.
- Behavior modification therapy can help you learn to control your reflex;
- Acupuncture may help by stimulating different points on your body;
- Nerve blocks can be used to temporarily disable the signal from your trigger point to your brain;
- Botox injections can also weaken the gag reflex by paralyzing the muscles in the area;
- Hypnosis has been known to work for some people; and
- Surgery is a last resort option when other treatments have failed.
Treatments for a Stronger Reaction
- If your gag reflex is due to anxiety, try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
- If your gag reflex is due to a specific trigger, such as the sight or smell of blood, try desensitization therapy. This involves gradually exposing yourself to the trigger in a safe and controlled environment.
- If your gag reflex is due to post-traumatic stress disorder (POTSDAM), treatment may involve exposure therapy, which helps you confront and process your trauma.
- If your gag reflex is due to a physical condition, such as HERD, treatment will focus on the underlying condition.
- If your gag reflex is due to a neurological condition, such as MS, treatment will focus on managing the symptoms of the condition.
Exercises For A Stronger Reaction
Why Is My Gag Reflex So Sensitive? There are a few things you can do to help train your gag reflex. Start by putting a toothbrush at the back of your tongue and brush lightly. You can also try holding a cotton swab at the back of your tongue and tickling it with the swab. Another thing you can do is put a small piece of food (like a raisin) at the back of your tongue and see how long you can keep it there before swallowing. Finally, try gargling with water for 30 seconds without swallowing.
Why Is My Gag Reflex So Sensitive? If you have a sensitive gag reflex, you may be interested in learning some swallowing therapy exercises. These exercises can help desensitize your gag reflex and make it easier to swallow. Swallowing therapy may be recommended by a doctor or speech therapist if you have trouble swallowing due to a sensitive gag reflex. The therapist will likely teach you how to do the exercises properly and give you tips on how to make them more effective.
When To See A Doctor
Why Is My Gag Reflex So Sensitive? If your gag reflex is so sensitive that it’s interfering with your quality of life, it’s time to see a doctor. There are a few possible causes of a hypersensitive gag reflex, including acid reflex, anxiety, and post-nasal drip. A doctor can help you figure out what’s causing your problem and come up with a treatment plan. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to try to reduce your symptoms. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine like Balladry may help ease some of the discomfort caused by post-nasal drip. You should also avoid drinking too much alcohol or eating spicy foods, both of which can exacerbate acid reflex symptoms.