Strange and gross curiosity - how does your body handle needing to vomit?

TMI - vomit-related question…
Inspired, in part by this Cracked Column on Gross Bodily Functionswhich mentions that your body generally fights throwing up pretty rigorously. It occurred to me that this has actually been a discussion in my house, mostly because my body seems to literally try to tear itself apart first.

I have thrown out my neck, nearly passed out, and caused muscle spasms while heaving endlessly until finally my stomach gives it up. It makes the migraine induced nausea much harder than it has to be. My mom and sisters are the same, so I thought this was just the extra joy that throwing up brings.

Not so, DH manages to vomit silently, and without undue hardship.

So, inquiring minds want to know, are you like me and my kin, of the “it sounds like you are trying to throw up your own toes” or like my DH and his family, and therefore vomit-ninjas?

I used to fight it as long as possible. Now I give into it. Sometimes I put a finger down my throat-- something which only produces vomit if I am experiencing extreme nausea. I tried it once when I was uncomfortable after having overeaten, and nothing. If I really have to vomit, just barely tickling the roof of my mouth with my finger is all it takes.

Giving into to it is a huge relief. If it’s food poisoning, sometimes one good barf is all it takes; I throw up once, and avoid hours of misery. If it’s a virus, it at least gives me enough temporary relief that I can take a phenergan drink just a little water and get a few hours of sleep.

If it’s a migraine, throwing up won’t help, but phenergan will, and so will Imitex to an extent. The phenergan, 50mg of sumatriptan and a clonazapam usually knocks me out for about four hours, and when I wake up, the headache is gone, and so is the nausea. And residua is taken care of by a strong cup of coffee, a tramadol, and a cool bath.

If I eat something bad, within an hour my stomach will notify me it’s time to sing lunch. I’ll be dizzy for a slight spell, then Technicolor yawn, then everything goes back to normal. It feels great to have it all out. For some reason, my stomach rarely sends bad food down the pike.

My body doesn’t “fight” the need to vomit at all, I do. At least up to a point.

The part I really don’t like is once you’ve emptied out the gut and you still have the dry heaves. That does a number on the stomach muscles.

Lucky it doesn’t happen very often

I almost can’t remember. I think I’ve only vomited once in maybe 30 years, that was in a motel in Harlingen Texas after eating in one of the city’s more respected restaurants (I was fine in the morning)… I think from traveling around the world drinking tapwater everywhere, and eating at home out of dumpsters, I may be immune to just about every food-borne bug there is. As I recall, I usually used a digital autoprobe.

I fight it like bloody hell. I generally win, and haven’t actually vomited since 1974, despite some awfully close calls. There’s an amount of phobia involved.

Is it really true that people’s faces turn slightly green?

When I am nauseous, as my body is preparing to vomit, my mouth starts watering uncontrollably. For me it is a sure sign that I’m going to spew and I immediately RUN to the nearest bathroom because I know it won’t be long.

Seinfield? Is that you?

I am the opposite. I puke with ease. Probably about every six months to a year something gets my body way upset. And the best part is after a bit of fun I feel like a new man. So, when I get woosey, I keep thinking “come on, lets get this done so I can feel better”.


Let me tell you a story.

Early college. Friend and I go to the fair. I ride the Tilt a Whirl. Bad idea. Barf my guts out…fortunately found 55 drum/lined garbage can so I don’t add too much to local ambience. After a few minutes feel perfectly well again.

Walking along…in not the best lighting mind you as it is evening…in a large bustling crowd…a perfect stranger (some random skinny young white dude)…actually stops me and says something along the lines of “man, you are FUCKING GREEN”…

Well, I think it pretty odd to say the least. But I swing into the next available bathroom.

Yep, my face was green as grass.

1996 (reaction to medication), 2003 (food poisoning), 2009 (too much beer and steak, actually mostly the latter), 2013 (really awful flu). This is far more often than I would like, because it’s really a traumatic experience each time, with involuntarily intense full-body wretching. In 2013 I experienced a Mallory-Weiss tear, which resulted in the final portion of ejecta containing a really disturbing amount of blood. During the 1996 incident I threw up maybe six times in as many hours, and ended up with substantial petechia on my eyes and/or eyelids.

Interestingly, during the 2013 event, once it became clear that I was definitely going to vomit, I discovered that swallowing repeatedly, forcefully, and as frequently as possible bought me some extra time to reach the bathroom before it happened.

I haven’t hurled in over 30 years - I remember the occasion quite well, actually (early one Monday morning, December 1985, possibly due to the meatball sandwich from Subway the night before). As I recall, I got up feeling queasy, did a lot of those really-ill-belches, then finally knelt in front of the toilet kinda hoping I’d hurl.

And, my gut did not disappoint. With relatively little preamble, my innards started trying to turn a basketball into a marble. I am pretty sure there were sound effects but blessedly it was all over in a minute and I was reminded why barfing is so vile. Maybe one or two heaves when all was done. No injuries - I felt wretched and achy the rest of the day, possibly due to sore muscles, possibly due to whatever caused the problem in the first place.

A few hours later, what hadn’t gone north began going south with similar expedience.

I actually started a thread here a few years back asking 'better to fight it, or let it go and get it over with". I’m in the “get it over with” camp but that may be due to my lack of recent reminders of the “joys”.

Speaking as one who has occasional problems with a hiatal hernia, I say nothing relieves quite like a nice vomit. There’s some initial body resistance but nothing that can’t be overcome with a little willpower.

Never heard that one before. I like it!

I am the famous barfer in our family. It happens every time we travel, whether we drive, fly, walk, doesn’t matter. These days, my warning system is just about shot. I go right from “Oh dear…” to “BLEARRRGH!” in less than two minutes.

My stomach is like a spoiled rotten kid - at first overly possessive, then spiteful in the extreme. Fortunately, I don’t vomit often. When I do, the me-to-stomach communication goes something like this:

Me: Oh, crap, I don’t feel good. I think I’m gonna hurl ::head for bathroom::
Spoiled Rotten Stomach (SRS): Nope. I don’t want to.
Me: Oh, please, I feel like crap. Let’s get rid of some ballast. I’m pretty sure it will help.
SRS: Nope. It’s mine and I’m keeping it!
Me: Dammit! Let it go! ::start flexing abs hard, ram finger down throat::
SRS: OK, screw it! You want it? You got it! Here’s supper, here’s lunch. Oh! Found some breakfast pieces, have those too!!
Me: OK, that’s probably enough. Stand down, please.
SRS: Oh, hell no! You wanted my stuff, you’re gonna get it all! Have some stomach lining! Now I’m gonna reach down into your colon and send that shit back up! Oh, what have we here? Testicles! Load’em in the chute and hit the “Up” button! When I get done you’re gonna have nothing but “innies” from the waist down!

It’s not pleasant.


And the worst part of it is, you’re a girl!

(Just kidding… I think)

I don’t really fight it at all. In fact it’s usually a pretty gentle process since I tend to induce it before it happens by itself. No finger necessary–standing at the sink/toilet and thinking of puking is enough. Especially if it’s not the first time and there’s some puke-smell lingering.

I get this morning nausea that I’ve had since I was a kid, and I spent all my pregnancies pretty much throwing up continuously. I had that buckets-of-blood thing during one of them too. As a result I’m really good at barfing. I don’t always hurl in the morning, but when I do I just go on with my day.

From my early childhood, somewhere in my brain I developed a script that will play to alert me I will soon be vomiting. This will happen even before I have a physical perception, but I recognize the script so I know it’s coming.

It takes the form of a news cast with a team introducing themselves:

“This is Willie Makeit.”

“And this is Betty Dont. And here is the news…”
If that pops into my head I head to the head.

I once asked my doctor how often it was normal for a person to vomit. She said, “It is never normal for the body to vomit.” I thought for a while and asked, “On the average, how often does a normal person vomit?” She smiled and said, “About once a year.”

Jeepers wow! That is…eerie! I wonder what the physiological cause is! Thank’ee!

(And, um, good luck with everything? Like, may it be more than two years till you next get gut-bamfed?)

Dude. I’m doing chemo. Vomit is a given.

Sometimes it comes with no warning - I’ll cough twice then have to run to the bathroom. Those coughs are a bit different from regular coughs, though, so I have a bit of notice.

Sometimes it comes when I’m pooping - the smell of poo will set it off, or the physical action of pushing the poop out* will cause used food to come out the other end too. Because of that, we keep a bucket in the bathroom.

Sometimes it’s when I’m taking my chemo pills. They’re big and solid and really hard to swallow, and I know they’ll make me feel awful for weeks, so sometimes just the idea of taking them makes me queasy. Good news on that is that it’s usually just one heave of fairly shallow vomit - just water & such - so I rarely bring the pills back up. Yay me?

Yeah, vomit is something I deal with a lot. Good times.

*I alternate between painful constipation and barely-controllable diarrhea, depending on where in the chemo cycle I am. It’s as much fun as it sounds.

I wouldn’t assume anything on Cracked is factual. In fact, I’d assume just the opposite. It’s a pure humor site and anything related to fact is pure coincidence or convenience.