Does Salt Water Make You Throw Up?

January 20, 2018


Does Salt Water Make You Throw Up?

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Everybody experiences vomiting or nausea (the unpleasant feeling you may experience before vomiting). Vomiting is actually a natural defensive mechanism to protect and remove harmful elements from our bodies. However, sometimes nausea comes without any further occurrence and the feeling of throwing up stays and annoys you. That’s when self-induced vomiting needs to be involved in order to get rid the unpleasant feeling as well as things you need to remove from your stomach.

Often you will find tons of advice and information on the internet on how to help yourself throwing up. And salt water is among those favorite techniques that people recommend you to do. Does salt water make you throw up? Is it safe to do so? The answer lies below.   

Why you throw up

Before we go deeply into the question “does salt water make you throw up,” let’s first take a look at why and how this protective mechanism occurs.

When you first experience nausea, the will be several questions pop up in your head, such as was the food I ate yesterday terrible? Am I sick? You desperately find a solution by asking yourself more questions such as does lying down make me feel better? Or even does salt water help in this case? Worrying won’t help the feeling go away, but a good source of knowledge does.

So what makes you throw up?

Throwing up is just the consequence of hidden conditions. Those conditions include:

Food poisoning

Food poisoning is one of the top causes of vomiting. Nausea and vomiting often happen 1 to 8 hours after eating [1]. Most of the time, ready-to-eat food is what to blame for food poisoning. Since they are easy to be contaminated by viruses, bacteria, and parasites at any stage including preparation, packaging, storing.

Fresh food contains risk as well. Raw eggs, milk, juice, cheese, raw or undercooked meat, raw seafood are likely to cause food poisoning when consumed. Especially in summer, when the rate of spoiled food is increasing, you may get poisoned easier.   

Motion sickness

Motion sickness is another cause of vomiting. The inner ear, or often known as vestibular system, is in charge of the movement of the body. When your body is in continuous motion, it senses and requires your eyes to confirm the motion. This causes nausea and vomiting since your eyes are fixed, but your body are moving, which makes the vestibular system confused, thus lead to the feeling of dizziness, unpleasant in the stomach and throwing up.

Ear infection

The vestibular system is susceptible. Any changes or differences in your ears can disturb this system. Ear infections build up fluid inside your ears. Once the fluid touches the vestibular system, this system sends out alarming signals to your brain and trigger the feeling of nausea and finally vomiting.


Morning sickness is a familiar term for pregnant women. For the first 3 months of pregnancy, most women experience nausea as a daily event.

When you are pregnant, the body produces more progesterone hormones – a type of hormone that involves directly in the process of nurturing the baby. Because of this abnormal level of progesterone, your sense of smell becomes more and more sensitive, leading to the nausea feeling.  

Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux is the side effect of overeating food constantly. When food travels down to your stomach, the stomach produces acid to help digest the food. The more food comes, the more acid is manufactured. When the number of acid excesses the average level, your stomach has to discharge part of the acid by throwing it up. This process calls gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux.


Nausea and vomiting are two side effects of consuming too much alcohol. Alcoholic beverages contain mainly ethanol (or ethyl alcohol). A significant amount of ethyl alcohol within a short time will be likely to poison the consumers. Unlike food, our bodies absorb alcohol very quickly, but it takes several hours to remove the alcohol. It’s expected that you will get alcohol poisoning if the ethyl alcohol level is too high in your body.


The symptoms of alcohol poisoning are confusion, vomiting and passing out. Vomiting after drinking actually brings more goods than harms since the not-yet-absorbed alcohol will be discharged. However, if your stomach is empty during the time you absorb alcohol, there is nothing but bile and alcohol will be thrown up. Furthermore, when bile is mixed with stomach acid, throwing up foam is likely to occur. The article THROWING UP FOAM will help you get a better insight on this matter.

Find out more about bile and throwing up bile in this article HOW TO STOP THROWING UP BILE AND VOMITING IT EFFECTIVELY.

HOW TO STOP THROWING UP BILE AFTER DRINKING – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR HANGOVERS also provides many useful tips for those often encounter this problem.


Stress is also a cause of vomiting. When you are about to have a very important exam or when you are under a stressful situation, you may feel stomach uneasiness and the feeling of throwing up comes. It happens due to the fact that your body wants to remove any involved elements that directly or indirectly cause your stress. And by throwing up, your tension will lessen.

Other causes

Stomach flu can cause nausea and vomiting. Concussion, brain injury, brain tumor, and some forms of cancer also contribute to the feeling of throwing up.  

What happens to your body when you throw up?

Throwing up is only a defensive act of our bodies. When you consume something unusual, the body will react and try to discharge it as soon as possible. The area postrema in our brains is devoted to scan the bloodstream and find out any toxins. If any potentially harmful substances are found, the area postrema will immediately send a signal to the brain and stomach and ask them to get rid of the elements.

The central nervous system, the stomach’s nervous system, and the vestibular system are also involved in the process of throwing up. WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY WHEN YOU THROW UP will guide you through the most basic idea of how your body function during vomiting.

Is it possible to make yourself throw up?

The idea of inducing yourself to throw up started to get popular among young people based on a belief that throwing up would help you lose weight. This view remains controversial in the medical world since there are many contradicting opinions. This article “DOES THROWING UP HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?” will give you a better insight on this matter.

Whether or not inducing yourself to throw up helps us lose weight, throwing up is no longer a stranger to many of us. We have all experienced moments when nausea comes, and all we want to do is to force all the food in our stomach out but we couldn’t. Therefore, it’s possible and necessary to make yourself throw up.

There are countless ways to make yourself throw up. One of the most common ways is to use salt water. Others include mustard mixture, greasy substance, and pharyngeal reflex. Among these methods, salt water is under serious debate. Does it have any side effects? The answer is right below.  

Is it possible to make yourself throw up

Does salt water make you throw up?

So does salt water make you throw up? How does salt water make you throw up? Is it safe to use salt water to make you throw up?

Yes, salt water does stimulate your feeling of nausea and vomiting. Salt water is actually an ancient method to induce vomiting. However, its safety is still under consideration.

It’s quite easy to use salt water to make you throw up. You only need to dissolve three tablespoons of table salt (or sodium chloride) in 250 ml of warm water, then drink the mixture and wait at least 30 minutes for the water to work. It seems that drinking salt water this way does not produce any harmful results, while the truth is the opposite.

One reason why using salt water is a dangerous method to make you throw up lies behind the mechanism of vomiting. Since our body can only accept a fair amount of salt, the excess of salt is considered a potential threat. Your stomach will notice the threat and send a signal to the vomiting center of your brain and asks for an immediate response.

However, before you throw up, much of the salt has been absorbed by your stomach. The process of vomiting also causes water and electrolytes to deplete, which make the loss of water double.

According to American Heart Association, it is recommended to take 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams of sodium (salt) a day, which is roughly one or two tablespoons. [2] In case you have eaten food that contains salt before drinking salt water, this could lead to severe health damage called hypernatremia.

Hypernatremia refers to the condition that the sodium concentration in our body exceed 145 mmol/L, in which the water level in our body decreases. Hypernatremia is the first symptom of several further critical conditions such as neuronal cell shrinkage, brain injury, tachycardia, hypotension, and cerebral edema.

Using salt water does pose a real risk to your health; however, it is still can be used as an immediate method in case you accidentally consume toxic elements. It’s better to consult doctors before using salt water to make you throw up.

Other methods for self-induced vomiting

While you need to reconsider using salt water and other home remedies for self-puking, many methods that are safe and easy to do.

Index Finger Method

Index finger method does not sound very appealing to put your finger down your throat, but index finger method is the fastest and most efficient way in case of emergency. Please follow these steps below for the best effect.

  • Wash your hands and cut your nails to avoid scratching your throat.
  • Tie your hair up.
  • Choose a comfortable place to sit and vomit.
  • Put your index finger down your throat. Press it gently in the back of your throat and move it back and forth.
  • When you feel the need of throwing up, remove your finger immediately.
  • Do it again if you still don’t puke.
  • Wash your hand again and drink water to clean your mouth.  

Picture Method

If index finger does not work, instead of using salt water to make you throw up, you can switch to picture method. Watching someone else vomiting is a practical yet not so appealing method to help you vomit. When your eyes receive the image of puking, it sends the information back to the vomiting center of your brain and triggers the same feeling in your stomach.

When you have nausea, find a picture of people vomiting or watch videos from Youtube will help stimulate your brain. This method does not work right away, and it may appear a bit disturbing; however, it has proven its effectiveness and should make you feel better afterward.  

For more information, please read the following article HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF THROW UP SAFELY: FACTS AND WHAT TO AVOID

What to do after throwing up

Together with the remaining substances in your stomach, a fair amount of acid will be given off too. Therefore, it’s important to rinse your mouth after vomiting to clear the acid and protect your mouth, teeth from eroded. Keep in mind not to brush your teeth right away since it’ll negatively affect your enamel.

After vomiting, your body faces dehydration. You should drink water to help rebuild the water level of your body. It’s vital to drink slowly and in a small amount at a time to avoid nausea feeling again.

What to do after throwing up

You can also feel hungry after vomiting. Please remember that your stomach is now unable to handle solid food, so don’t eat anything that you have to chew. Instead of fruit juice or simple soup will help clear the hunger away. A banana can be helpful too since it provides potassium and energy to your body.

Bottom line

Does salt water make you throw up? The answer is yes, but it contains many undesired results. It’s up to you to choose suitable methods to help yourself throw up, but you should always check and make sure it is not harmful to your body.

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