As if coughing wasn't already an unpleasant enough experience, it seems to have the added side effect of triggering the dreaded gag reflex. The question on everyone's mind is: why does this happen? In this article, we'll explore the scientific reasons behind this annoying phenomenon and provide some tips for minimizing its occurrence.
Anatomy 101: Understanding the Throat
Before diving into why coughing might trigger a gag reflex, let's take a quick refresher course on throat anatomy. The pharynx is at the top of your neck and split up into three parts - nasopharynx (behind nasal passages), oropharynx (behind mouth) , and laryngopharynx or hypopharynx lol(along with esophageal opening) . Air passes down from nose nasal cavity, through pharnyx (nasorpharnyx).
Now that we're all up to speed on what happens in our throats when we breathe normally, let's move onto what makes us go "gag!"
What Triggers a Gag Reflex?
It turns out that there isn't just one thing that causes people to gag - instead, it can be caused by a variety of triggers such as taste/texture/smell/sight sensitivity(mostly due to psychological reasons causing psychogenic vomiting). However,it more often emerges either due/to sudden stimulus cause irritation/threat/harm/violent contact created over mucous call(Two types sensory-stimulated: Posterior Oral mucosa-phayngea which arises via Branches X cranial nerve glossphrayngeus Glosspahryngeal nerve responsive soft palate- nasohypoparhynx/roof e=of oral cavity triggered by goblet cells containing receptors stimulated by any Solid/Liquid material
The sensation of gagging is actually caused by contracting reflex responses of the pharyngeal muscles, diaphragm and abdominal muscles. This process is there for a good reason- it prevents us from choking on food or swallowing substances that could be harmful to our bodies.
Can Coughing Trigger Gag Reflex?
So what about coughing? Could this seemingly harmless bodily function also cause you to feel like your lunch is going to make an unwelcome reappearance? In short, yes! Coughing can indeed trigger a gag reflex because both actions involve contracting the same set of muscles. Furthermore, when we cough or sneeze certain fluids asweat which equally stimulate glottis(Glottens/ Eppiglottic folds), inducing harsher COUGH
While this may seem like proof that our bodies are out to get us (thanks a lot, Mother Nature), there are things you can do to reduce the chances of gagging while coughing.
Tips for Minimizing Gag Reflux While Coughing
Avoid Eating Just Before Bed Time: Gives better digestion , no sudden thruster's after meal consumption . A Better breathing rhythm can alleviate post-nasal drip caused entire nasopharayangx getting minimally associated with any food left behind.Lying flat creates viscosity inversion onto throat/fatty acids produce mild acidity., hence go minimalistic in late night meals if one has hyperacidity
Dryness enhances toxins / mucus buildup.It requires water sinfcion passively carrying along dust germs etc clearing clumps around nose whenever drinking plenty/economic enough fluid(eletrolyte infused recommended) Though sipping small amounts at tine must be encouraged since drinking excess might create extra mucas builduo again backire triggering naseo larynx dynamic region leading frquencety of coughs
Avoid Smells or Scents that Trigger Gag Reflex:
Some people find that certain smells or scents trigger their gag reflex. Being aware of which odors have this effect on your body and avoiding them whenever possible can reduce the chance of cough-gag episodes.
Some common smell offenders are :
- Overly Sweet perfumes
- Chemical based Cleaning agents
- Strong smelling foods served nearby
A quick way to dilute/remedy would be sniffing lemon juice/Mint as it has a counter affect.Tilting head back almost touching chin with neck elongated(effective mostly for cleft palate individuals)
Practice Breathing Techniques
Breathing exercises teach your breath how to be rhythmic, teaching diaphragm naturally push larger amounts of air reducing frequency . The longer one exhales aerby it ablesance acidity secretion reduction around lungs,no more bad mood swings easing up bronchial spasms using pursed lip technique/equal inhalations exhalation soens increase oxygen flow reducing wheezing increasing ample amouynt pulmonary function volume .
When to See Your Doctor?
Occasional gagging due to cough doesn't usually warrant a trip any specialist unless associated with BP issues/muscles paralysis/Prolonged disability/Decibate ebnzyme status triggered by immcomprised immunity.Low immunity increases risk fatal flue,SARS,Covid strains especially.Those who show symptoms post-cough like vomiting/diarrhea/blood stains/palpitation must undergo endoscopy Treatment plan might vary from muscle relaxants/dental treatment depending severity /cause of the condition.
So there you have it - the reasons behind why Coughing could be causing you trouble in more ways than one. Remember not panic! Incorporating these tips into your daily routine should help keep the dreaded gag reflex under control,and just maybe give nature some credit too!.