How to Stop Yourself From Throwing Up

Learn 7 ways to prevent vomiting.

Glass of dissolving medicine with vomiting man in background

Tom Merton / Getty Images

Vomiting is an unpleasant and sometimes inconvenient experience. It might be brought on by food poisoning, early signs of pregnancy, or simply because you are dealing with a bad hangover.

No matter the reason, it’s often uncomfortable. This is why many people will attempt to stop themselves from throwing up at first. While in most cases, it's best just to let yourself throw up, you can prevent it.

This article will help you understand what might be causing you to throw up, how you can stop yourself from throwing up, and what to do next if you do throw up.

Why You Might Be Throwing Up 

Before trying to stop yourself from throwing up, a great place to start is to find out why you are throwing up. This is especially important because throwing up might be a symptom of an underlying condition.

The most common causes of vomiting are:

  • Food poisoning 
  • Pain 
  • Early pregnancy 
  • Seasickness or motion sickness 
  • Indigestion 
  • Severe stress or anxiety 
  • Alcohol consumption 
  • Viral infections 
  • A side effect of a medication you are taking

If your vomiting is occurring alongside other symptoms such as headaches, pain, tremors, it could be a sign of the following:

  • Migraine 
  • Concussion 
  • Meningitis 
  • Head injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Intestinal blockage

How to Stop Yourself From Throwing up 

If you feel the urge to throw up in a safe and clean space, it’s best to go ahead and do so, especially if the cause of your vomiting is food poisoning or consuming too much alcohol.

These are some techniques to help you stop yourself from throwing up if you are in a public space or if it’s simply inconvenient to do so at that moment:

Relax

This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes it can make all the difference between simply feeling nauseous and finding yourself with your head stuck down a toilet bowl. If you had been standing when your nausea hit, then take a seat because lying down flat may cause you to vomit.

Also, limit all physical activity; being in motion may only exacerbate your nausea. 

Try a Sweet Drink

Sipping on a sweet drink like a Gatorade or ginger ale could help alleviate your nausea and stop you from throwing up.

Drink Ginger Tea

Some research shows that ginger has excellent antinausea properties that could help people prone to nausea or vomiting feel better.

A 2014 study on the effects of ginger on nausea and vomiting in women in the early stage of their pregnancies found that ginger root was an effective, non-medical way to relieve nausea.

If you do not have ginger tea but find some ginger in your kitchen, you could peel it up, put it in a cup of warm water, and sip on it. 

Chew Some Ice

Chewing on some ice chips can help to relieve nausea and stop you from throwing up. If you are in a place where ice chips aren’t readily available, sipping on an icy bottle of water or a non-acidic drink can also help prevent vomiting.

Avoid Spicy or Oily Foods

If you find yourself on the brink of throwing up, you have to be extra careful about what you eat. Ideally, you should avoid eating until you feel better, but if you must eat, eat only bland foods like a piece of toast. Avoid any spicy or oily foods that could make you feel worse.

Take Deep Breaths

Some people find themselves with an urge to throw up in a stressful situation or when they are anxious. For people in these scenarios, deep breathing exercises could help to stop themselves from throwing up. Deep breathing exercises also work great for people who have motion sickness. 

Find Some Fresh Air

Sometimes, feeling like throwing up might have more to do with the environment you are in than with what’s going on in your body. If you are in a crowded room with little ventilation and suddenly feel the urge to throw up, try stepping outside for a bit.

What to Do If You Throw Up 

If you were able to temporarily stave the vomit away but eventually end up throwing up, here are a couple of things you can to find some relief:

  • Stay hydrated. The thought of ingesting anything right after vomiting can be unappealing, but you need to stay hydrated. It’s pretty easy to become dehydrated after vomiting, especially if you've been vomiting a lot. However, it might help if you wait for the vomiting to stop before drinking more water.
  • Avoid strong smells or unpleasant odors. Strong scents might trigger your nausea and cause you to feel like throwing up. It's best to avoid them altogether until you feel better. 
  • Don’t eat anything too quickly. Eating certain foods is most likely to irritate your stomach and may cause you to throw up again, especially if you were throwing up because of food poisoning or a stomach bug. 

If any of the remedies above aren’t helping stop your vomiting, it might be time to speak to a doctor about it. You should also seek medical attention if you notice any blood in your vomit.

A Word From Verywell

In most cases, feeling nauseous or throwing up is nothing to fuss about. The feeling typically passes in no time. However, if you are exhibiting other worrying symptoms such as headaches, severe pain, weakness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath, you should see a doctor about it.

While stopping yourself from throwing up might be convenient in certain scenarios, it’s not always the best choice. If it’s convenient, it’s always best to let nausea and vomiting just run their course naturally. However, if you've been vomiting and can’t figure out what’s causing it, you should speak to a doctor. 

Was this page helpful?
4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. UWSP University Health Service. Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea. May 2000.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Nausea & Vomiting: Treatment & Care. July 23, 2019

  3. Thomson M, Corbin R, Leung L. Effects of ginger for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a meta-analysis. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. 2014;27(1):115-122.

  4. University of Michigan: University Health Service. Diarrhea and Vomiting.