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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Gagging when i eat too much


 Mist - Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:23 am

Sitting down to a meal with me is painful, i am a slow eater because i excessively chew my food otherwise it sets off my gag reflex. The more food i eat in one sitting, the more sensitive my reflex becomes. If i stopped eating when this became too uncomfortable, then i guarentee i would be malnourished, i have to force myself to eat more otherwise within half an hour i am hungry again. I have to eat lots of small meals and drink large amounts of milk (this i am not senstive to) in order to keep a good training weight (i work out 3 days a week). I am 6ft and before i started forcing myself to eat, i was 57kg, thankfully this has improved to 73kg, but i would like to be able to sit down to a normal meal without all this discomfort and gagging. Any ideas why my gag is so stuffed???
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:48 am

User avatar Dear Mist,

A gag reflex occurs when the back of the tongue, back of the pharynx, or soft palate is stimulated. The gag reflex is completely controlled by the brain stem.

Thus a hypersensitive gag can be due to hypersensitivity-allergy or due to an upper motor neuron or central nervous system problems, however in this case other CNS symptoms are present.

What an individual should be aware off, is the change in the nature of his reflexes or his sensitivity.

In children, enlarged adenoids and tonsils are leading causes for hypersensitive gag reflex.

A hypersensitive gag reflex while eating is considered a part of sensory-based feeding problems in which the gag occurs only with solids and not with liquids, or to certain types of food . These individuals are more likely to have intolerance to certain type of foods and GERD.

An oral-sensory treatment program aiming to desensitize and reduce the sensitive gag response to textures is one of the approaches to treat this condition. Sensory intervention therapies are also recommended by some doctors if other measures fail, but other GI problems like reflux should be treated first.

You need to be checked very well by your consultant, to find out if there is an underlying cause and to reach the proper approach.

Best regards,

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