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ChocolateReigns's avatar

How to get past this weird gag reflex thing?

Asked by ChocolateReigns (5619points) July 13th, 2010

This is really weird. It’s had it all my life (that I can remember), but I think I just now figured it out a little more.
When I eat anything that looked smooth and easy to chew, but then there’s a piece of something hard inside it (what comes to mind is certain candy bars or a piece of chicken with gristle in it), or if it takes a significantly longer time that I expected to chew it, I gag. I just can’t eat it. I usually have to get up and spit it out in the bathroom. Nobody in my family thinks this is real. I really can’t eat it. So how do I get past it?

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11 Answers

mowens's avatar

Have you seen a doctor? A friend of mine has a throat problem. It closes, and they have to put a balloon in to expand it. It sou ds similar.

Otto_King's avatar

I don’t think you can fix this problem, more likely you have to learn to live with it. At least that’s my personal experience about gagging on food. Me, for example can not swallow jellyish seafood. Other seafood (fish, crab) is ok, but if the consistance like jelly, I throw up.

earthduzt's avatar

The trick to not gagging is breathe through your nose…unless of course it is medical and in that case you need to see a doctor

JLeslie's avatar

Is your mouth too full of food? Maybe smaller bites will help.

judochop's avatar

sounds to me like you just don’t like gross foods.

poofandmook's avatar

I have that issue with stuff like gristle too. Once I hit that, I have to spit it out, and I won’t eat anymore.

janbb's avatar

My younger son has the same problem and is just pretty careful with what he puts in his mouth.

YARNLADY's avatar

l.One suggestion is to try to desensitize the area. Start with a toothbrush, and gently move it around in your mouth until you trigger the response, then back off. Over time, keep triggering this area, but keep the toothbrush in place a few seconds longer while you exercise control over yourself.

2. Breathe through your nose.

3. Try hypnotherapy

4. Perhaps a decongestant product would work.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Take smaller mouthfulls of food and practice using your utensils to receive the yucky parts instead of spitting into a napkin. When I was a kid then we were taught how to use our mouths to put ick parts onto a fork or spoon while in the mouth and then put in on the plate instead of grossing out in front of others and spitting. This social pressure slowed us down to not panic over the yuck stuff (there’s always something gross) and to have control which I think overrode the urge to retch. My sister on the otherhand received no instruction or practice at all and as an adult still has the habit of opening her mouth and letting whatever ick there is fall like a lump onto the plate in front of her. Practice.

MaryW's avatar

I am a texture eatter too. I can not enjoy tapioca or something with a lump in it. I think it is a latent survival thing. I do not gag or retch but I remove it politely with my fingers and politely put it in my napkin or somewhere :-) acceptable. My mom “taught” all of us to do.
Give yourself permission to remove the yucky and it may help you to stop the gag reflex.
I see @Neizvestnaya said the same thing almost.

Kraigmo's avatar

This is your old engrams from past lives (or the collective unconscious) of back when we had to worry about rocks or bugs in our food. We could be eating a bowl of rice, but the very moment something hard or weird was felt, we had to immediately stop chewing. Otherwise the teeth would get broken.

MaryW mentioned this too in her answer, about it being a latent survival thing.

So part of getting past it, is sort of thanking the neurotic reaction process for being at least somewhat helpful.

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