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Hypersensitive gag reflex and constant vomiting Lock Rss


I'm just wondering if there are other Mums with babies or toddlers who have a hypersensitive gag reflex and vomit constantly.

Both of my girls (2 & 3) have had this condition since birth and show no signs of improvement. They have both been vomiting almost daily since birth (sometimes even 2-3 times a day) and cannot manage chunky or lumpy foods. In fact they just don't seem to know how to chew their food at all and have never been interested in finger foods When they vomit, the volume is huge, often the entire contents of the meal they have just eaten & the one before.

The younger one is still on purees but even so, vomits up most meals despite being finely pureed and the older one has only recently been able to progress to regular food although she is extremely fussy, takes 1-1.5 hrs to eat and still gags and vomits 4 - 5 times a week.

Other triggers to the girls vomiting are crying, coughing, laughing (from too much excitement) and running. When they are suffering with a cold with lots of coughing, they can vomit every couple of hours! It is all I can do to stop going insane!!!

Also, because of their inabiity to chew their food, it takes a very long time for the contents to digest in their stomach (called delayed gastric emptying) so even though I try to feed them dinner early at 4:00pm( as the younger one has a tendency to vomit in her sleep at night), when they vomit 6 or 7 hours later, the contents of dinner are still present.

The paediatric gastroenterologist was not much help, telling me that it is just something they will grow out of as they're older. This was not very comforting, especially since I have researched online & read of other parents who have children 7yrs & older who still vomit at the slightest smell, touch sight of foods offensive to them.

The girls have also been to see speech therapists & attended the hospital feeding clinic, neither of which yielded any positive results or improvement in their feeding problems.

I'm at my wits end, and so stressed from the daily bouts of vomiting. Both girls are healthy and look well nourished and in the normal weight range for their age so their GP is unconcerned and unsympathetic to my plight. I tell him this is only because I spend all day feeding & re-feeding them after they vomit to ensure they don't miss any meals.

Please let me know if your child suffers from this condition and how you cope with it.
i am so sorry to hear you are going through this. i can kind of relate, my daughter now 10.5 month old dosent eat much and was tube fed, due to heart condition. we had constant vomiting and gagging when she was tube fed, and not much weight gain. we too are under the feeding team at our children's hospital and we always get told, she has gained weight and looks happy, so she is doing ok....this can be so frustrating because as the child's mother, you know that they could be doing (or should be by text books) better.
my daughter does not eat much at all, but i think it's due to the milk intake, but i am under feeding team hopefully she will eat when she is older.
i feel your frustration, i hope it gets easier for you....if they are in their healthy weight for their age.....they wont do much else for you.
OMG this is exactly what we are going through with our 13 mth old.
he has vomitted since birth and was classed as failure to thrive since he couldn't keep anything down he didn't grow.
the only food he keeps down now is formula sometimes we include farex but it has to be very runny.

the medical professionals are not helpful for us either. The Peadiatrician couldn't diagnose him with anything and so really didn't know what to do and it seemed like he washed his hands of the situation.
we are currently going to the hospital feeding clinic but I am not really sure what we can gain from this as it seems to be more around messy play with food - and that is not his issue

It is not only lumpy food for for him too that causes the vomitting. laughing, coughing and getting upset also cause him to vomit.
I sometimes wonder how so much volume can come out since it is more than what goes in

We too are at our wits end with trying to resolve this.
His weight at least has increased but he has missed all the nurishment needed for growth during the critical first few months and so he is the size of a 9 month old.
At least developmentaly he is OK

have you managed to have any luck with your two since your post?
Hi Ema,
I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing similar problems with your 13 month old. I feel your pain and frustration as I have been struggling to cope with both of my girls vomiting problems for 3.5 years now.

I'm sorry to tell you that medical intervention did nothing to help. The girls attended hospital feeding clinics, saw a paediatric gastroenterologist and speech therapist and had a 5 day admission to the Ellen Barron Family Centre. We were told to let the girls self feed as much as possible and to make meal times a relaxing and enjoyable experience. We were also told that the vomiting was something they would eventually grow out of. Because both were healthy and thriving, (mainly due to the fact that I never let them miss a meal and anything they vomit up is immediately replaced) the health professionals were unconcerned and could offer no assistance.

I am pleased to tell you that my oldest daughter eventually outgrew the daily vomiting and at 3.5 yrs started eating regular food, although it must be cut up into tiny bite size pieces. Even though she sometimes takes 1 to 1.5 hrs to finish her meal and occasionally gags and vomits, it is a major improvement and a big milestone for her to be able to consume a variety of foods and textures. A year ago she was still on purees and now she happily chows down chicken nuggets, fruit and a whole cheeseburger!

The younger one though, almost 2.5 yrs old now, is still on purees and gags and vomits at least 5-10 times a week. We have started to let her practice with finger foods which she sometimes manages to eat without gagging and then other days will gag on a small piece & vomit up her entire stomach contents. I agree with you, I don't know how so much volume can come up (I have measured it & sometimes there can be as much as 300ml!).

Both girls still vomit though whenever they are sick with a cold and then it's cough, cough, vomit! They also vomit with excessive crying, laughing, physical exertion and at offensive odours. Sometimes they will be playing and chasing each other around & laughing and next thing both girls have vomited all over the floor! One time they were jumping up & down on the bed and before we could stop them, they had both vomited all over the sheets!!!

For me, the experience of motherhood has been greatly affected by the girls daily vomiting problems and I can't remember the number of times I have wished that I weren't a mother. It is so frustrating to see all my family and friends with their normal, healthy children and no feeding problems to speak of and here I was having to cope with two toddlers who vomited in excess of 20 times every week! I hated attending playgroups and seeing other toddlers eating so well! No one else could relate to what I was going through as they had never experienced it with their own children. Even my husband was unsympathetic and always blamed the girls feeding problems on me.

I can be thankful though that both girls have always been in the healthy percentiles, are thriving and very advanced developmentally for their age.

I'm sorry I can't give you much more hope than that but it's just something you have to wait out and pray for the best. I do hope your son will eventually learn to eat well and catch up in his growth. Believe me I know what you are going through and share your pain and frustration.
Hello, I am going through this exact same thing with my 22 month old son. He gags and vomits constantly and does not chew food, one mouthful can roll around in his mouth and be stored in his cheeks for hours. The added trouble I have is he refuses food 95% of the time. The only way we can get him to have a mouthful is by distracting him with toys or the iPad in the high chair. We recently just spent a week in hospital with him as his vomiting and refusing to eat got so bad he lost a lot of weight (he was already barely on the percentile chart so had nothing to lose). It is breaking my heart and I am not coping at all. To make matters worse I am 6 months pregnant and dreading the arrival of a newborn to add to my stress. He was put on reflux medication and an iron supplement for his deficiency and we are seeing a speech pathologist but nothing seems to be helping. Because his weight is such an issue I am finding it hard to follow the speech path's advice (I.e. no distractions, have his own bowl and spoon on high chair to get him interested in food, practising hard chewables etc) he just flat out refuses to eat and tries to push the food away. It is so stressful. We went back to puréed food to try to get his weight up but even that is not going down. I am so depressed and also hate being around other toddlers who just eat, because it is such daily torture for us. The fact he is underweight despite all my constant efforts to feed all ay long is a huge stress to me. I don't know how to live with this, I am terrible coping with the vomit and am scared it is all going to affect my son and scar him mentally sad I wish I could see a light at the end of the tunnel!
I completely understand what you are going through. Will's weight was at the 50th percentile when he was born and just went downhill from there
We went through reflux medication, special formulas, week in RCH and many other things and nothing helped
when solids were introduced it didn't help. all it did was add gagging and then more vomit into the mix
He only got onto the chart at 11 months - but for us at least he is finally there
Like you I couldn't stand to be around other babies that ate well. and also people annoyed me when they would say "he'll eat when he is hungry" my little boy didn't and it seemed like he would be happy to starve himself rather than eat. I sound mean but that was how I felt. and I have two older children without any feeding issues so I can only imagine how you feel with your little one and another one on the way
What we did that helped us
Peadiatric Chiro and Pead Osteo. these two combined are meant to alleviate tension in tummy, back and especially head along with align his neck and back. this tension and/or misalignment is linked with gagging and vomiting (according to the people we see in these fields anyway)
we also had him on chinese herbs for awhile - these were designed to strengthen his digestive system. These helped with his initial weight gain at 9 mths age but didn't totally fix the issue
we also (and this was the breakthrough) went to an intensive feeding program in Adelaide in Dec 2013. At Calvary hospital and it's run by a team from Lively Eaters. I can highly recommend them. they not only helped Will eat on his own to a point where he loves to eat but helped us too with our stress levels
Don't get me wrong we are still on vigil with his weight but at least it has increased by a factor higher than other toddlers in the same age range. we also had a set back with a bout of gastro. he regressed (lost 700gm) but we stuck to it and he is back to eating again
He eats with such gusto now it's like he is trying to make up for lost time
I can't guarantee these things will work for you but it helped us to find that light at the end of our vomit filled tunnel
Hello again
I just sent a follow request to you so we can email rather than post
If you'd like to be in touch with me I am more than happy to continue talking with you
I have a 2 year old and he has coughed and gagged since birth and only last April (after hundreds of trip to docs and hospital) his paediatrician advised us that he was aspirating on thin fluids, and after hundreds of tests and stays of upto months in hospital they still don't know why he is doing this!!!
He also vomits daily and everything comes up from the day, he can vomit upto 3 times a day but we have found that not giving him much milk helps this. He is on reflux medication but this doesn't really help.

He is now tube fed for all liquids but does eat a wide range of solids which is atleast something but the constant worry about his weight is depressing. It's very unpleasant for him but after he has vomited he is a happy child and this is normally the problem when we go to see specialists

The whole situation is soul destroying and we have found it extremely hard to try and keep things normal for him as we tend to avoid going play groups, restaurants etc

As the medical staff can't seem to get to the bottom of his vomiting he is now going for genetic tests but don't hold much hope for any answers

I think our only hope is that he will grow out of this but I don't think any parent should have to go through this with not much of an answer it's so frustrating and can totally relate to what your all dealing with!! They put a feeding tube in his belly in July 2013 hoping that would temporarily fix his vomiting but it hasn't sad



Sorry its taken me so long to reply. I am sorry to hear what you poor mums are going through with your toddlers feeding problems. I've posted on numerous sites regarding my girls ongoing feeding problems and constant vomiting and never received many responses so it seemed that I was alone in my suffering. My girls are now 3 and 4 and the nightmare has not completely ended yet and probably won't for a few more years I think.

The 4 yo transitioned to normal food (not pureed) at 3 but still takes up to 2 hrs to consume a meal due to her habit of "pouching", which is what they call holding the food in their mouth for lengths of time without the motion of chewing and swallowing. The 3 yo is still on purees although she can eat soft fruits cut up into tiny pieces. Her daily vomiting has now reduced to maybe 3 -4 a week. Both girls are still prone to vomiting with excessive crying, laughing, coughing, offensive odours and physical exertion. So between the two of them, I have not had a vomit free week since 2010! It's a good thing our home has tile floors and leather furniture as they have vomited on every surface in the house so many times that if not for them being easily washable, we would've had to replace everything.

I am lucky though, that despite the daily vomiting, neither of the girls has been admitted to hospital for their feeding problems or suffered significant loss of weight. Due to them appearing to be so normal in their percentiles, it seemed as if no one believed the severity of their problems and hence no medical intervention. Even my own unsupportive husband and mother just brushed my concerns aside, blaming me as the source of the problem and claiming I always over fed them! I guess no one can really understand what you are going through unless they have experienced it themselves with their own children or are with you 24/7 daily & can witness the trauma for themselves when they see the daily projectile vomits and constant cleaning up & re-feeding involved. The joy of motherhood was severely tainted for me due to this and nearly destroyed my marriage because of the constant arguments whenever my husband witnessed a vomiting episode and immediately pointed the finger at me.

Like yourselves, I also avoided play groups and going out to restaurants as it depressed me to no end when seeing other babies and toddlers gobbling away at their food with such gusto. When my eldest attended day care, it was so frustrating to watch the other children eating so well during meal times whilst mine vomited for the 1st six weeks. I'm sure the day care had wished we had not enrolled there.

I'm afraid I can't offer a magic solution for your childrens feeding and vomiting problems as I've not discovered the secret myself. It's just a case of them being able to out grow it in their own time and us mums persevering and experimenting with different foods our children will like and be able to eat. Its probably genetic that our kids ended up with this problem so there's just no way I would risk having another baby as I'd likely go through the same problems all over!!!

Just hang in there, there is no light at the end of the tunnel I'm afraid. It is a long and difficult road ahead for the next few years at least and I don't think I'll be forever rid of the girls vomiting till they're probably 7 or 8 at least.
I just want to post on here to let you know that I am going through the same thing. My son is about to turn 3. He has been gagging and puking since birth. For the first 18 months of his life, he puked several times a day. When he turned 2, we had him put under general anesthesia for a full check by an ENT and gastroenterologist and they couldn't find anything physically wrong that was causing him to gag. He has also seen a neurologist who couldn't find anything wrong either. We put him through months of feeding therapy and it didn't help.

He doesn't puke as often now but he still gags on everything and pukes at least once a week. He lives almost exclusively on formula. He refuses to eat foods. He gags when he laughs, when he cries, when I zip his jacket. I'm so worried about his teeth because he gags when I brush them and it's always a war.

We have been to so many doctors and had him evaluated. No one can find anything wrong with him. He's ahead on his milestones. He doesn't appear to have any other sensory issues at all. He just gags and gags and can't eat. He's actually quite big for his age so no one is really worried about his weight.

I just wish someone could tell me what is wrong and why this is happening. It has been a constant challenge for us since he was born. I have cleaned up endless buckets of vomit in every corner of our house. I'm so worried about him because he's starting school in the fall and I don't want this to be an issue for him.

I am so sorry other parents are going through the same thing. I know what it's like. I just wish someone could give us some answers. I am also wondering - did you take anything out of the ordinary during your pregnancy? I had to take Zofran (for nausea) and progesterone. I'm in the U.S. (New York City) so they might call Zofran something different in other countries. I always wonder if these meds might have caused the problem.

It's so exhausting and frustrating. Please let me know if you find out any new information about this condition and I will do the same!
dede874 - I just wanted to let you know, I was thinking about your story today and I really think you need to get your girls tested for allergies and for structural abnormalities in their esophagus. My son has been tested for just about everything and unfortunately we can't find an answer. But if you haven't had your girls tested yet, you should. Their vomiting seems excessive for their age given they are otherwise developmentally normal.
I hope people are still reading this thread. My now 2.5 year old has vomited since birth. Not spit up.....but what other mums are saying, full on vomit everything in their tummy. At the worst it was eight times a day. We are now at once a day. He is still on pureed food. I also add oil, wheatgerm, polycose and formula powder to increase nutrition and calories. We also have seen every doctor and specialist, have been hospitalized twice, ran every test possible and no solutions.
My husbands entire family are doctors and besides just blaming me.....they also don't have answers.

So at this point our son has been licking things, and he will put a small piece of food in his mouth and spit it out. No chewing and swallowing. We also give him what we eat and he will pretend to eat it. So we are trying to make him feel part of our meals.

I just want to reach out to all moms out there who are going through this. I get it. I really get it. I HATE seeing other kids eat normally, we can't even enroll our son in any programs due to health regulations of him vomiting. We have been politely been asked to leave many playgroups due to his vomiting.

Everyone says.....oh he is just fussy.....ummm NO!!!!!! If he had a choice, he would never eat.

I want to know when this will end..........
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