692155 tn?1239321280

NOT REFLUX - Morning gagging/retching

I am Desperate for answers in finding the cause, diagnosis, etc. of my unexplained morning gagging, retching and vomiting!!!

It almost seems / feels neurological, as the feeling Starts in my throat, shortly after getting out of bed in the morning. Generally it is accompanied by a very 'heavy' feeling at the base of my skull and stiff neck.

Below is an old posting I came across in my search, but haven't been able to find any info beyond this. I've had all the tests mentioned below with no cause found for the gagging, retching/vomiting. Is there Anyone out there who knows what this is???

Nausea, Lack of appetite, Burping
by RobH

, Jul 15, 2004 12:00AM
Tags: nausea, Cancer, Stomach Conditions, acid reflux
Starting 3 weeks ago I started noticing this feeling in my throat, something that made me want to gag.  I've always had a very bad gag reflex, so I thought something was just agitating it.

I've probably had 4 vomits that have produced food, etc over the past 3 weeks, and 6 or so total dry heaves, where I actually burp when I retch.  

Going along with this was a feeling of not really craving food, a lack of appetite.  Not entirely so, my stomach
still growls if I wait too long, but I definitely am eating less than I used to.  I think I've dropped about 5 pounds over this 3 week period.

The OTHER thing I noticed was that I was burping a lot.  It wasn't uncontrollable, but if I wanted to I could bring up a lot of air.

I've had some good days where the gagging feeling is absent, and I eat fine.  Then I have days where it's very present, and sometimes it's all I can do to stifle a dry heave.  I should mention that usually it's much more noticeable in the morning.  By 6 p.m. the throat feeling seems diminished.

I saw a Doctor today, and he thought it was all related to acid reflux.  He said the acid could be irritating the throat
and the gag reflex, as well as suppressing my appetite (brain confused by what's going on in the stomach?)  I have had ZERO heartburn, though I have noticed occasionally when burping or just lying in bed at night a bit of acid coming up into my throat.  Despite his optimism, and recommendation that I take Prilosec for a few weeks and see if it all goes away...I'm not convinced.

My mom died of a rare cancer around her heart (doctors said it absolutely wasn't hereditary) when I was 20, so I have to admit that cancer is very present on my mind.  I have a hard time distracting myself, and I am the definition of a "worrier".  Thank you very much in advance for any advice.
Doctor's Answer
by Kevin Pho, MD

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Kevin Pho, MD
Boston - MA
Member since Feb 2003

, Jul 16, 2004 12:00AM
Acid reflux would be the first thing that would come to my mind as well.  Even though you do not have any heartburn, it can also cause the symptoms you are describing.  I would want to rule this out before proceeding onto other diagnoses.  This would include an upper GI series and/or 24-hr pH study (which would be the definitive test for GERD).  An upper endoscopy would be the most comprehensive test to ensure there is no cancer in the upper GI tract.

If those tests are negative, I would consider a gastric emptying scan to evaluate for delayed gastric emptying, as well as an abdominal ultrasound to evaluate the liver/gallbladder both of which can cause your symptoms.  

You may want to discuss these options with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

Kevin, M.D.

Medical Weblog:


This discussion is related to Nausea, Lack of appetite, Burping.
2 Responses
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Avatar universal
I experience retching when my anxiety flares up (along with low appetite, occasional urgent need to poop/diarrhoea). If you're a worrier or in a stressful job/situation, it is worth exploring this as a route. Apparently it is caused by the fight or flight response to a perceived (but usually not real) threat. Your body tries to rid the gut of it's contents so that you can run away faster or fight better, like back in the day when humans had to escape wild animals.
Helpful - 0
I feel the same. Im actually just anxious about getting pregnant. Now i started to dry heave in the morning  before eating. After eating breakfast it gets better but when i think about it again, it comes back. I dont have any other pregnancy symptoms, I had my period and negative test so I dont think thats it but im an anxious person so.
I have found when I have this in the morning, it is actually a blood sugar issue. I eat a little something and I get better.  good luck with TTC,  They have a good community for that here with others who are trying for support!
Avatar universal
I am not sure what it is either but my husband wakes up every morning throwing up this thick stuff. It has gotten worst and now he is starting to sweat with it. I am worried to death for him. He also has left testical pain(don't know if that has anything to do with it). But every morning he gags and throws up
Helpful - 0
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