Weak gag reflex. trouble with clothing too close to neck

by Amy
(Cincinnati, Ohio)

I am looking for more information, similar stories, possible ways to support my child when it comes to what appears to be a sensory disorder. He is having trouble with clothing on his neck. Constantly pulling at shirts, he also can not have his jacket buttoned or zipped up to close to his neck. I have seen him gag when things get too close to his neck. He also has a problem with tags in the back of the shirts. His gag reflex has been check and is diagnosed as weak. He recently went through a bout with a virus that had him throwing up for 12 days. I think part of the throwing up had to do with him gagging himself and I noticed he kept pulling at his shirt in the hopes of alleviating the choking feeling.


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Aug 25, 2016
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i really cant stand for any thing to be on my neck or around it
by: Randy

I'm 28 and I have had the same problem for a long time it only happens early in the morning and also when I get to hot it helps if I drink something really cold in the mornings and when I get hot I can't stand for any thing to be around my neck and it makes me gagg when I have to shave my face I would love to wake up one morning and not have to be gagging


Jul 25, 2016
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I found help!
by: Sherri

I have posted here several times over the years, my son started having gagging issues, nothing could touch his neck etc 6 years ago. It kills me that it took me this long to get him help. He has been going to an acupuncture place and the Dr there identified his symptoms as an overactive Vegas Nerve. This is amazing stuff!

She used a technique called "Taming the dragon" which involves placing 10 needles along the spine, then "petting them" he has had this done twice and has been able to brush his teeth without gagging for the first time! He has also had Craniosacral therapy, which is a very gentle touch massage. He can wear a shirt and be in public without panicking!!! Tears of joy!! These are two awesome ladies that have helped him in just a two week period.

If you are in Sarasota FL, I am happy to share their info with you. So many frauds, these people are truly interested in healing, not money. I hope this can help you find healing for yourself. Look it up, you will see many of your symptoms are related to this Vegas nerve.

Jul 10, 2016
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Bad teeth as a result of gag reflex.
by: Ray

I am 33 and have been dealing with the same issue for as long as I can remember. It is always worse in the morning and during the colder months. Even wearing a t-shirt will cause me to gag. Sometimes I can be swimming without a shirt on and I will feel like there is a finger pushing in on my adams apple and I will start gagging. It is not easy to deal with sometimes. I have found that it is worse as my stress levels are up. If I'm not stressed it doesn't happen as often but does still happen.

It is almost impossible to go to the dentist to get work done. And as a result, I have very bad teeth. If there is a way to subdue the symptoms I would encourage anyone who has a child that has this problem to seek it out, no 33 year old should have to get dentures like I will now because of this problem. There was another factor that added to my bad teeth and could of even led to this problem. When I was 12 I needed braces and rather than paying for them, my mother paid the dentist to shave everyone on my teeth on the top. He took up to 1/8 of each tooths width, so now they are so fragile that I can drink water only and they will break, that issue combined with the horrible gag reflex that prevents me from going to the dentist for work is the reason I now need a upper denture which I can't afford. So I am walking around with broken teeth until I can afford them, it makes no sense paying $3000 for filling or crowns when I can get the rest of my upper teeth pulled and a denture plate for $1500.

Sorry to go on, but my point to all that is, please don't let your kids or yourself to have to go through what I am now going through. Please help them anyway possible.

Jun 19, 2016
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I Have Found Relief
by: Anonymous

Dear kindred souls who suffer from bad gag reflex,
Earlier this year there was a post from someone who said that acupuncture had helped lessen their gag reflex episodes, so I thought I would try it. I had nothing to lose & had tried so many other things that didn't help. I found an acupuncturist that charges $40.00 for the first session & then you can pay on a sliding scale based on what you can afford. I started with 2 sessions a week for three weeks, then 1 a week for a couple of weeks & am now down to 1 session every other week....because IT WORKED!! It will take a couple weeks worth of sessions, but you will soon notice that you are having less episodes. I haven't had an episode for about 4 weeks now!!! I can't tell you how wonderful this is!! Please, if you haven't tried acupuncture, make an appointment ASAP & please give it 4-6 sessions for it to really kick-in. My wish is for everyone who suffers from a bad gag reflex to find lasting relief. Please try it & come back & leave a comment here.

Jun 16, 2016
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25 female suffering
by: Anonymous

I've been suffering with this mostly with the gag reflex and no being able to stand anywhere being close to my neck like shirts or collars or tops. Strangely I can wear a scarf :/

Anyway over the years seems to be getting worse
Dentist is a bit of a mission, was good while I had a dentist that completely understood but she left the practice :(

But it does seem to be worse than I remember sometimes even if I smell something really bad or see something disgusting I start to gag which of course makes me vomit. Unsure if it's related of course or that part is all in my head.

Mar 17, 2016
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@ Found help!
by: Anonymous

Dear Found help! Thank you for sharing this good news with those of us that suffer from this disorder. I'm happy that your son has found relief! I've heard a lot of good things about acupuncture but never thought to try it. I have a friend who personally knows someone who does acupuncture, so I'm definitely going to check into it! If it does (or doesn't) help me, I'll post my results on this site.

Mar 14, 2016
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Accupuncture is working
by: Found help!

My son has been battling this off and on for 5 years. Seems to start when he gets a cold with a cough, then the gagging, clothes can't touch neck etc. I took him to an acupuncture apt and they did Japanese acupuncture and gave him ear tacks to help with his anxiety. The Dr said the lump in the throat is called Plum Pit Chi and if you can prevent that from starting all the other symptoms can be relieved. My son was not as extreme as some of your stories, he never vomited but came close. We are a month in and so far his anxiety has calmed down, he hasn't had the lump in his throat and he is able to wear regular shirts all day long without gagging. This is something to look into, the ear tacks worked immediately and his anxiety has reduced. It is working for him, hope this can help you all too.

Mar 11, 2016
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Nice one, found you other people
by: Alice

Had to google this because I don't know anyone else with it! Amazed to find this! I cannot have anything on my neck or in my throat. The minute something is, be it a collar or skivvy neck, scarf, or something that went down the wrong way, that's it. I just throw up! Not much else in the world phases me, but man! I'm at a loss to explain this,or like other people, how to resolve it?

Feb 10, 2016
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Just when I thought it was getting better
by: Anonymous

My son is 13 now and hadn't had any issues for over a year. He got a cold and had a lot of chest congestion which made him cough...a lot. He then started back with the gagging, and even threw up once. Added to this is what I would consider to be a panic attack. When he coughs he gets scared and starts to cry afraid he is going to make himself throw up, then rips off his clothes, and starts pacing and sweating. It is so sad and frustrating as a mom, I can't do anything. All Children's wanted to do sound therapy which basically was listening to static through head phones, that was all they had to offer. I can't believe there is no help for this!!

Feb 10, 2016
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It doesnt get better for everyone.
by: Anonymous

Since i was young, maybe 5, i can remember throwing up because my shirt was too tight. Now, at 32, i cant where dress shirts that fit me, have to be larger in neck or i cant button up top button. T shirts get extra stretched out in the neck on purpose , seat belt goes under armpit, etc, or else i will throw up. My gag reflex is weak, the list of scents that make me gag is long as well. Everything has to be unscented when comes to soaps etc. Doctors did blood work , said nothing is wrong with me( VA doctors) who knows? I walk around shirtless unless going somewhere its needed.

Jan 11, 2016
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I'm so glad.I
by: Anonymous

I have this and I'm in high school so it make my life a living hell. If any one has a way of solving this, thank you. (I can't live with "It gets better")

Dec 23, 2015
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Now I know it's not just me!
by: Andrew

So after 33 years of struggling with this issue I decided to google it and see what appeared.. So many of these posts pick me exactly,

I can't stand anything touching my neck, I pull at collars and trying to wear a business tie is like pure agony. I can't wear headphones and I've all but given up the dentist.

Everyone just tells me it's in my head and I hate the fact I have to make up stories when I get a hair cut just so they leave the cape loose..

It's good to know I'm not alone.

Dec 22, 2015
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It gets better!
by: John Watkins

I used to have severed gag reflex issues when I was a child. As I grew older (especially since I turned 18) I tried purposefully putting myself in those situations and just "dealing with it" as a last ditch effort to get around it. It for the most part worked. I now snowboard every year and have no issues with the strap on the helmet. And I am a firefighter and only have an Issue with my facemask for the first minute or so. Good luck guys (:

Sidenot my captcha code was triage... found that funny considering the profession. :P

Dec 20, 2015
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Gag reflex, vomiting & cold/dry weather
by: Anonymous

I was surprised to find so many others with this same issue. I thought I was the only one. It started out with gagging at my dental appointments & not being able to wear turtlenecks when I was in my 20's. As I have aged it has gotten worse (I'm now 52). One thing I have noticed over the last several years is that except for at the dentist, I usually don't have the gagging & vomiting issue until the weather starts to get cool & dry. I live in the Midwest, so that usually starts around October & lasts through the winter, which can be up to 6 months. I am constantly pulling on my shirt collars, and if I'm wearing a coat I have to rearrange the collar of that as well. I also can't zip my coats all the way up, and forget about a scarf! Even my hair touching my neck can set off an episode of the gagging & vomiting. And it doesn't matter if the clothing or my hair touches the the front or the back of my neck - I have the same reaction. I've never checked into these issues because I figured I would be told it's all in my head. If anyone ever comes up with a solid reason for these issues, please post on this website! Thank you!

Dec 18, 2015
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diver
by: Anonymous

im 56 and have this same thing going on im a keen free diver but have great trouble with a tight wetsuit and hood . even worse when i try to use a snorkel

Nov 09, 2015
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I am in the same shoes.
by: Anonymous

Hello,

I am 22 years old and I have been fighting with the same issue. I was like this since 1-2 years old. If something touches my neck, I have to vomit.

I have been thinking about it for long years and tried to figure out the reason behind it, and I came to a conclusion in my case.

I was born with umbilical cord around my neck. My father was born the same way and he has the same issue.

Is it possible that your son was born with the cord around his neck, too?

Sep 21, 2015
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Strong Gad
by: April

I am hoping that someone is still reading this page. My now 3 year old son is having this problem and I have no idea what to do..... It started last Sept and he literally vomited for 6 months. We thought there was maybe something stuck in his throat but xray showed nothing. We have been on every acid reflux med available and we even had the scope down his throat. The scope did show mild Acid Reflux and they diagnosed with Acid Esophagitis but she said was still baffled at the vomiting all the time. The day we left the Dr office we walked into restaurant and as soon as food was mentioned he vomited everywhere. There are 2 triggers he associates with gagging and vomiting and that is food and clothes (mainly shirts and jackets). It seems to be worse in a crowded space like a ball game. He will be fine all day and we can go to a restaurant or my daughters volleyball game and he is vomiting within minutes. He starts by gagging and then he always vomits. It seems once he vomits he is better for a while but he has to get it out. Winter time is a nightmare at our house because he cant wear winter jackets without vomiting every morning. My daycare has sent him home a million times and he is fine just the gagging. I have no idea what to do or how to fix this but I am desperate and so glad to hear I am not alone.... NEED HELP!!!!!!

Mar 19, 2015
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gagging away
by: Anonymous

I too have this problem. It started when I was in high school. I also gag if I wear ear plugs. I thought it was all connected through ear, nose, and throat. Doctors have never found a cause. Going to the dentist is hell also. It has rarely resulted in vomiting but heavy dry heaving is the norm.

Mar 13, 2015
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Same issue
by: Sarah

I have the same issue and nobody seems to be able to diagnose this. When I was 11 I became ill with a high fever on January 1st 2006 (remember that night vividly). I woke up in the middle of the night and had the instinct to put my hair up in a high bun and take of my pajama dress that was touching my neck. All of a sudden, I could not stop gagging. I tried water and medicine and nothing stopped it. I was like that for about 2 months: bedridden, could not wear clothes so I had to miss school, couldn't eat or do anything because I would have 'gag attacks'. Everyone thought it was in my head so my parents took me to see pyschiatrists who diagnosed me with OCD/PANDA Syndrome and prescribed me some medications that I took for about 3 months.

The medications seem to help as I could start wearing tank tops and light cardigans (so I could finally go back to school) but soon after the medication stopped working and I was left at a point where I still can't wear scarves or crew-neck style shirts/sweaters (which is particularly difficult as I am in my 2nd year of college in Boston so the cold gets to me easily). It felt as if I would get hit with this 'sickness' in waves: a few days/weeks/months I would be ok but then out of nowhere it would hit me and I can't focus on anything else aside from preventing the gagging for starting because I can't miss class or work.

This past summer I had numerous blood tests and an endoscopy done but they all turned up negative. My doctor thought it might be set off by food but its never one specific food that sets it off. I can't explain it well and no one seems to understand what I am going through. I tried OTC anti-nausea syrup but my body became used to it after a while and it lost its effect. My doctor prescribed my Odanestrone sub-lingual tablets which have been helping (as I only take them when I feel like the gagging sensation is getting to strong to control).

I am afraid I will get used to these too and then I will be back to square one. Stress also seems to exacerbate it a little more so drinking a lot of water and getting rest has started to help calm down the episodes from occurring.

Mar 06, 2015
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26 years old and I have this problem
by: Chris, Dry Ridge ky

Very odd, I stumbled upon this article by typing "I vomit when a shirt touches my neck" in a last ditch effort to find out what causes me to vomit. I have not yet told anybody as they may think I'm crazy but i thought it was odd that i got this every time i wear my carhartt hoodie. Thus is the problem I'm about 99% sure

Feb 20, 2015
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come and goes
by: shane

Ok so I've had this disorder since I was a kid sometimes like now it's bad and sometimes it won't do it for years. When I think about it is when it really goes nuts. Just now I started to look it up and haven't gotten far on it but it's driving me crazy. Throwing up sometimes cause of it. It's weird to my friends and coworkers to see me talk about it. It seems ok when others are around but still kinda feel it and have to pull my shirt and jacket away from my neck. O yea I'm also 30 to and like I said I've had this since I was a kid. I also had brain surgery when I was 8 and I'm starting to think mate that's where it could have started. Now that it's winter and only 17° out side I'm seeking help by researching this now. Hopefully if I find something I'll post it on this web site.

Dec 08, 2014
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TROUBLE WITH CLOTHING
by: Anonymous

AS SOON AS PERIMENOPAUSE STARTED FOR - IN 2003, I STARTED TO HAVE TROUBLE WEARING ANYTING AROUND MY NECK - USED TO BE ABLE TO WEAR TURTLENECK, CREWNECKS - NOW I HAVE TO WEAR VNECKS AND CAN RETCH IF I WEAR CLOTHES THAT ARE AROUND MY NECK. I FEEL EVEN WITHOUT THE TIGHT CLOTHES AROUND NECK, A PULLING AROUND MY NECK. THE PULLING FINALLY WENT AWAY, BUT HAS RECENTLY COME BACK. NO MEDICAL DRS. SEEM TO KNOW WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT.

Sep 23, 2014
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It will get better
by: Sherri

My son who is now 12 has gotten much better with the gagging. Hopefully it is something that can be cured with time for your child as well. He can now sleep with a shirt on, doesn't gag as much anymore. He is still sensitive to tags, and his toes have to be able to wiggle in his shoes. Overall he is so much better. He too has a weak gag reflex and oral sensory disorder. You should see him at the dentist...a whole ordeal every time, tears and all. best of luck to you and your child.

Dec 12, 2013
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Own experience
by: Jordan

I'm 19 and have experienced this myself for roughly a year now, with me I find that it is linked with anxiety and in that case I started getting used to unbuttoning my shirts and not wearing ties etc. If this happens to be the case for any of you I recommend seeking medical help for anxiety and researching the condition, it may just be that you can train your children or yourself to start getting used to it again one step at a time. I hope this is remotely helpful.

Nov 15, 2013
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No sensory diagnosis
by: Anonymous

Hi, my 2 year old son was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis type 2 a year ago. He started with prednisone, they added a new med and have since been weaning the steroid.

Lately he is having that same issue! If he looks straight up he will gag! He gags in the bath when I wash his neck, he even gags with an open front shirt if it has a collar! It's driving me crazy! This is the first place I found that speaks of this issue.

Jun 11, 2013
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trouble with clothing on the neck.
by: Anonymous

We have the same issue with clothing touching the neck. This is said to be part of the sensory issue, but it can also happen if one has a swollen thyroid as would be seen in an underlying thyroid condition. While that may not apply to many of our kids, it may be some of them. www.stopthethyroidmadness.com is helpful for sorting out if this issue applies or not.

What else helped us was to purchase only clothing that did not touch the front of the neck. This usually means loose t-shirts, or collared button neck shirts that he can keep unbuttoned.

One of the things I've learned with sensory is I had to let go of thinking he should wear particular styles or types of clothing. I let him choose what is comfortable and that's usually track pants, t-shirts, basketball shorts, things like that. No turtlenecks, scarfs, or buttoning his winter jacket to the top. I have to leave the top button undone. And when it comes to formal occasion we can manage dress pants if I let him feel all the fabrics and choose one at the store he can tolerate. Try it on there to make sure. Same with the dress shirt or whatever item it might be.

My child gags easily and for us it's his tongue. the back of his tongue is so sensitive.

Mar 06, 2013
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Thankful not to be alone in this
by: Sherri

My 10 year old gags every morning and it is getting worse. It used to be every few days, now it is every day, he usually takes his shirt off first thing. It used to be controlled if he drank water or ate something right away but that doesn't work anymore. Now he chews gum, barely eats breakfast because just looking at it gags him. I have not heard of SPD. Thankful not to be alone.

Feb 16, 2013
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Gagging
by: Vicki

My 4yr old son is the same he gags every morning when getting dressed, he hates any thing arround his neck, can't have jackets or cardigans zipped up , he gags at the thought of it!! Then today we went out to a muddy woods with the dogs and was gagging at the squelching of our wellies in the mud??? Never had this before is this a medical problem....

Apr 12, 2012
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I Understand
by: Seth

Hey, I am 18 and I have the same issues as your son, and the best thing you can do about the shirts is have him try them on before all the clothes before taking the tags and such off so you can return them or if he is with you have him try them on. Also neck ties give me a HUGE discomfort and I'm assuming it has or will in the future cause your son the same issues. I wear my neck ties loose and looks kind of sloppy and bear and grin it when I have to adjust it for pictures and such, although I NEVER button the top button with any of my shirts. I hope this is somewhat helpful and insightful for you.

Feb 07, 2012
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Gag Reflex
by: Anonymous

My son is 10 and this has gag reflex is terrible in the morning when he first wakes up. He walks around with his shirt collar pulled up over his face. I have no idea what is causing this. My husband thinks it has something to do with the dry air from fireplace?? I had thought about possible tick or something but not sure if this is something to consult the physician on or if this is a mental issue. Any suggestions?

Jan 18, 2012
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My son has the same issues
by: Anonymous

My son has mild SPD and also has some of the same issues as yours with not liking anything too close to his neck and tags. I would suggest getting tag less shirts or cutting the tags out and not buying shirts that have a small neck hole. It also might help if he just wore collared shirts and left the top buttons unbuttoned. Good luck!

Sep 20, 2014
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annoying toooooooo much
by: afzi

i have also this problem for these days i cant wear any thing which is touching in my neck and neck base feeling a heavy weight

Mar 03, 2015
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son's strong gag reflex, baffling
by: Nanay of 2

My 5 year old son's strong gag reflex baffles me all this years. Like one parent here in the forum he is at worst in the morning. He has not dressed himself yet and he is already gagging. sometimes I haven't started cooking breakfast and he is already gagging. He would get a drink but the worst is if he has something in his stomach he will throw up!We've been dealing with his vomiting since he learned eating table food. We thought his vomiting is just associated when he is sick. But in his short years I think he threw up more than I did in my 40 years! He used to love eating all kinds omelet but when he turned 2.5 years he swore off on eggs, even now just the sight of it makes him puke! And peanut butter. When he smells it in any food he will not eat it. It so hard watching him like that (and much more when so many times he is hugging the toilet bowl while vomiting). I know from the beginning this is not normal and no one can give me answers. Mostly being brushed off as "he JUST have a strong gag reflex"

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