Gagging

by Sam Malone


Gagging is a reflex action that occurs to prevent one’s self from choking. It is an ingrained action that is present in humans throughout their lives. What causes gagging is the entry of any solid or liquid into the throat that is too difficult to swallow. For example, a large piece of un-chewed food may cause gagging. Gagging may also be caused by foods and liquids entering the airways and at such times it is accompanied by a coughing spell.

Infant gagging is a common phenomenon and usually occurs when the child is feeding and when trying to introduce solids into the diet. Infants have difficulties in swallowing large quantities of food or liquids at once and will gag in order to expel the food from their mouths. This reflex action causes them to push food out of their mouths with their tongues, an action that may cause the concerned parent to think that the child is either not hungry or doesn’t like the food.

Infant gagging may also occur while breastfeeding. This may happen if the mother has a forceful letdown in which too much milk is secreted too quickly for the child to swallow. If your baby is being bottle fed, the hole in the nipple may be too large, allowing too much milk to flow too quickly. Both these actions may result in a cough along with the gagging reflex.

Gagging, with or without a cough, after feeding times, might be caused by excess saliva trickling down the throat. This is a perfectly normal phenomenon but should anyway be brought to the attention of your pediatrician as it may also be caused by reflux. Reflux in babies is similar to that which occurs in adults and is caused by gastric acids flowing back up from the stomach into the esophagus.

Gagging is also noticeable during the first attempts to introduce your baby to solid foods. This may continue awhile until your baby has gotten used to the taste and texture of solid foods. This type of gagging usually disappears within a short time. Care should be taken while introducing solids into the diet and only a small amount of food fed to the baby at one time. Let the baby get used to the taste and the texture of the food before giving him or her another portion. These first attempts at introducing solids call for a lot of patience and persistence on the parent’s part.

Severe episodes of coughing and gagging may be caused by your baby inhaling an object, similar to what happens to adults when liquid or food goes down the windpipe. Inhalation can induce reactions ranging from the mild to the severe, with the latter usually being caused by inhaling a solid body. Inhalation of solids or liquids can cause severe problems, which is why it is essential that you consult your pediatrician immediately if you suspect that to be the cause of your baby’s coughing and gagging.

Coughing and gagging could also result from a number of illnesses, the common cold and its accompanying cough being the most common culprits. Stuffy noses and wet coughs result in excessive mucus secretions which tend to block the airways and cause coughs.

Gagging in adults can be caused by many different factors such as trying to eat and breathe at the same time or laughing while breathing. These actions usually result in a bit of food going down the windpipe and will cause an episode of coughing, coughing and even sneezing as the body attempts the expel the unwanted solid from the airways.

Adults may also find themselves gagging and being unable to speak due to psychological reasons such as extreme fear.

Learning to breathe through the nose at all times is the best remedy for gagging.


Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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