Gagging: causes, symptoms, treatment & tips

Gagging is a natural reflex of the body that prevents you from choking. Although gagging actually protects you, in some cases it can be very annoying and accompanied by symptoms such as anxiety, nervousness and vomiting. You may feel dizzy and nauseous and feel like you are going to suffocate. A typical example of a gagging situation is a visit to the dentist. But the tendency to gag can also have psychological causes. An anti-nausea remedy such as Primatour can help against this tendency. What can you do about this annoying reflex and what tips can help prevent gagging?

Foreign object in the throat

Gagging is a reaction of your body that is actually very natural. When an object is inserted too deeply into the throat , gagging prevents you from choking. In itself, gagging is a logical physical reflex that protects you against possible damage. When gagging, your body reacts by resisting the possible introduction of an object that it is unfamiliar with or not used to and that could endanger breathing . But gagging can also be a symptom associated with nausea, vomiting and an underlying stomach problem. An example of this is travel sickness, when you feel nauseous from constantly moving, causing gagging and possibly vomiting.

Fear of the dentist

There are plenty of examples of people gagging. The most obvious example is a visit to the dentist . Sometimes the dentist has to go very deep into the oral cavity to fill a tooth. The feeling of a drill or other dental object being inserted into your throat makes many people gag. Another example is the baby who puts an unfamiliar object, such as a spoon, in his mouth for the first time while eating baby food.

Gagging: psychological causes

A less immediate cause of gagging is the sight of food that once caused you a digestive problem. If you have ever become very ill from a certain type of food, for example a hamburger, you may be psychologically affected by this for a long time. You then gag just at the sight of a hamburger, even if you don’t feel sick at that moment. This way, spoiled or bad food can haunt you mentally for a long time.

Additional symptoms

Feeling nauseous is the most common symptom associated with gagging, as is a tendency to vomit. You may feel like you need to vomit, but when you try, nothing comes. So you are left with a “lump in your throat” . You may also feel dizzy and fear of choking. This can cause a panic attack. Stress and anxiety often play a crucial role here. You may become nervous and sweat, and in severe cases hyperventilation may also occur.

Example situations

  • reflux
  • lung complaints
  • stomach problems
  • use of medications
  • strenuous physical exertion or sport
  • stress
  • panic quickly (panic attack, hyperventilation)
  • memory of a negative experience
  • people with a sensitive palate

Treatment and tips against gagging


It is useful to avoid situations that may trigger gagging for you, such as eating or seeing certain foods. Furthermore, certain exercises with a psychologist or speech therapist may help you. For example, a speech therapist can teach you to manage and keep your gag urges under control. You can also learn to make your breathing as regular as possible, which will make you calmer and less likely to panic. Finally, it is useful to get into the habit of good oral hygiene and brush your teeth very regularly.

Remedies for motion sickness

You can possibly try it with an anti-nausea drug for motion sickness, which is usually also effective against the tendency to gag. People who suffer from dizziness and nausea when traveling by car, train or plane may benefit from these remedies.
Some examples of remedies for motion sickness:

  • Prima tour
  • Cinnarazine
  • Suprimal


Finally, antacids are also possible to prevent gagging. Gastric acid inhibitors prevent you from experiencing belching, reflux and so-called heartburn, symptoms that can accompany gagging.
Some examples of antacids:

  • Rennie
  • Gaviscon
  • Omeprazole

read more

  • Reflux and esophageal problems: treatment & nutritional tips
  • Vomiting, spitting up and vomiting: causes, solutions & tips
  • Do you often feel nauseous? Causes & tips for nausea
  • Afraid of the dentist? Tips to overcome dental fear