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Thread: The Gag Reflex

  1. #1
    Sand Dancer on Tour Cybes's Avatar
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    The Gag Reflex

    For some reason I don't like having the Reg in on the surface.

    I test breathe it before I drop in, but if I leave it in place for longer than is necessary to do so then I get the urge to spit it out. In the water I don't have a problem. All is good. Must be a mental thing.

    The last couple of sea dives I have had a similar problem when I surfaced. I didn't think too much of it. On the surface, bouncy bouncy, swallowed a mouthful of seawater that got passed the big toothy smile, back on the boat and bleurgh .. feed the fish.

    It was only when I was using the same (light cylinders) to perform a buoyancy check that i noticed a vague sense of an unsettled stomach. It occurred to me that the gas I was breathing might have something to do with it. I was using Nitrox32.

    I don't keep the Reg in on the surface as a rule.

    I'm curious to know if this is just me making something out of nothing or whether others have experienced the same thing.

  2. #2
    Established TDF Member Chrisch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cybes View Post
    ....
    I'm curious to know if this is just me making something out of nothing or whether others have experienced the same thing.
    I have a friend (excellent swimmer) who used to get in a state on the surface in scuba gear, then was OK once underwater. So you are not alone mate - there is one other at least!

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    TDF Member MadUKDiver's Avatar
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    Due to too many episodes of seasickness whilst diving I have developed a gag reflex problem. Psychosomatic, real and annoying.

    Donning my drysuit neck-seal can be enough to trigger gagging and I can get the same during pre-breathe on my re-breather. Can happen on land too - blast of diesel fumes; sometimes even while brushing my teeth in the morning

    While pre-breathing I tend to hold the mouthpiece in place and not bite down on it as I find that helps.

    These days I very occasionally I become conscious of the mouthpiece underwater and get a mild gag reflex while diving too. Fortunately if I relax my bite my mouthpiece does not fall out (don't use a gap strap for obvious reasons but hoses cut to correct length work very nicely). This alleviates the symptoms swiftly and completely.

    These days I've started taking anti-seasickness tablets (the act of taking also found to trigger a gag reaction) more often now I've found ones which seem to work well. Hopefully with enough sickness free dives I can retrain myself and avoid the reaction.

    Sorry, I can't suggest a cure, I did wonder about a hypnotherapy approach but never followed up. At least you know you are not alone (and probably not the worst affected).

    Good luck

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    I find that a regulator can set me off, often in the pool and now and again doing a prebreath or on surfacing. I threw up over myself before a dive a couple of weeks ago. Never a problem under water. I wonder if different mouth piece materials might make a difference.

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    Established TDF Member nigel hewitt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadUKDiver View Post
    Donning my drysuit neck-seal can be enough to trigger gagging and...
    I get that.
    It's not consistent thought. Sometimes I get it at once and some times I can wear the thing for ages and never get it.
    Thankfully I've never had it from a mouthpiece and I've used the big APD one lots and even a Mantabite.
    Helium, because I'm worth it.
    Waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay sounded like a radical holiday opportunity until I looked it up.

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    Established TDF Member Steve Clark's Avatar
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    I get bad seasickness. Not specifically with mouthpieces, but I get the neckseal thing occasionally. Now, I just go with it. If my body wants to vomit, I just go for it. Normally feel better immediately afterwards and it seems to stop affecting me at least for the rest of the day.

    I don't dive in the sea often enough, but I reckon it would solve it for good if I did it regularly.

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    Member Liam's Avatar
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    You're not entirely alone. Some people have a more developed gag reflex than others. More than a quick test breath on the surface can make me gag.
    Fine in the water and it's not the gas or the mouthpiece. My current theory is it's the back pressure of gas in the throat before the cracking pressure releases.

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    I used to get this. THe main problem is that you're then not very relaxed when you decend, and I like ot be as relaxed and as comfortable as possible when diving, generally. Using a snorkel made things much better as you get a perfectly free breath, switch to the reg before descending and all was good!

    Except I read here lots of people taking the piss out of snorkels, and so I stopped using one. Instead I learnt to relax floating at the surface with a reg in my mouth.
    Now I don't get bothered at all. Mind over gag reflex.

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    I have certainly felt the gag reflex with a hood (diving a wetsuit). Was queasy prior to it due to a nightmare boat trip (boat rising and falling about 2m coming out of the harbour) where I hadn't geared up prior to the boat going out so getting changed into my gear on the boat and not looking out. Was managing it ok until just before entering the water, put my hood on and immediately started to gag.

    Never felt it before that.

  10. #10
    Pedantic Pig Divemouse's Avatar
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    I don't think the gag reflex and feeling seasick are necessarily the same thing - I used to get the gag thing even when underwater, but especially on the surface and the same when brushing my teeth. Getting one of those mouthpieces that moulds to your mouth has helped a lot, but I usually try not to hold it properly in my mouth on the surface, just grip it with teeth and breathe the outside air.
    Definitely don't doubt Dawn - not if you value your life


 
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