When we vomit very frequently in a short span of time, we often have a feeling that something is going to come up, but nothing is expelled out. This unpleasant nauseous feeling triggers the act of vomiting in the brain. Eventually, it does lead to vomiting.

In simple terms, the involuntary act of throwing up without the expulsion of any vomiting material is called Dry Heaving.

Even when you stop vomiting, the vomiting center in your brain still remains active for quite some time. As a result, there are continuous contractions of your abdominal walls and you feel uneasy.

Usually, the feeling of dry heaving subsides after a while once you stop vomiting. Sometimes it so happens that this continues to be persistent and does not stop.

This situation must not be neglected. It is an indication that something serious, like increased intracranial pressure or any serious kind of gastrointestinal condition.

In this article, let us explore the various causes for Dry Heaving and ways to stop it.

Causes Of Dry Heaving

Causes Of Dry Heaving

Remember, dry heaving is not the same as nausea or vomiting. When you are nauseous, there is something expelled out of your body. But, nothing is expelled out from your body as “vomit” when you are dry heaving.

The condition of dry heaving can be very unpleasant and we must understand its probable causes before trying to find remedies for the same.

1. Pregnancy

When you are in your second trimester, you might experience vomiting, nausea, and dry heaving. This symptom goes away when you are into your sixth month of pregnancy. In some cases, it stays until the ninth month too. The main reasons for such a condition are:

i) Rapid increase in the level of Oestrogen in your body.

ii) Fluctuating changes in the carbohydrate metabolism.

iii) Changes in your blood pressure level.

If you happen to be pregnant, you might often throw up and experience dry heaves when you brush your teeth, when you smell certain scents, when you hear about particular things or when you eat something you don’t like. Particular kinds of movements also trigger dry heaving when pregnant.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol hangovers are usually caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol on a preceding day. The alcohol you take in your body, that is Ether from liquor, wine, or beer turns into a chemical once it enters your body.

The chemical is called Acetaldehyde. It is accountable for causing the sensation of nausea which leads to dry heaving.  If you have eaten anything along with alcohol, that gets expelled out from your body as vomit. After the content in your stomach is cleared, you end up dry heaving.

The chemical is called Acetaldehyde. It is accountable for causing the sensation of nausea which leads to dry heaving.  If you have eaten anything along with alcohol, that gets expelled out from your body as vomit. After the content in your stomach is cleared, you end up dry heaving.

Sometimes, dry heaving also occurs when you try to stop alcohol abuse. The feeling of not having any alcohol in your system can make your body go against it. As a result of this, you throw up either water or nothing at all.

3. Pertussis

Pertussis is commonly known as a whooping cough. It an extremely contagious bacterial infection. Usually, it affects infants, but adults also get affected by this.

During the second stage of Pertussis, the coughing fits become so violent that you may experience vomiting. This is also accompanied by other symptoms like poor bladder control or difficulties in breathing.

When the coughing gets severely violent, you might also cough out blood. It is because the insides of your throat become dry and the tissues tear off.  It usually lasts for six to ten weeks.

In some cases, it is prolonged and extends beyond ten weeks. You must immediately get in touch with your doctor in that case.

4. Food Poisoning

When strains of bacteria, parasites or viruses contaminate the food you eat or your drink, you end up with food poisoning. The Salmonella bacteria are the most common one. They cause a universal type of food poisoning called Salmonellosis.

You must see that your food is NOT kept at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This kind of a temperature provides a suitable condition for bacteria to multiply. And, as a result, your food gets contaminated and is not suitable for eating.

You might experience heavy dry heaving, nausea, and abdominal cramps. If the situation becomes worse, you might also suffer from dehydration. Drinking a salt and sugar solution might help you avoid dehydration. Loose bowel movements and blood in stool are the other symptoms of food poisoning.

5. Chemotherapy drugs

Most individuals undergoing treatment for cancer, experience vomiting and nausea. Some might also experience dry heaves. Leaving out chemotherapy drugs, the radiation therapy also causes these awful symptoms.

When you receive a chemotherapy drug, the ‘vomiting center’ of the brain, located in the medulla oblongata, is activated. This, in turn, causes the smooth muscles in your intestine, stomach, and esophagus to contract and retract continuously. As a result of this, you end up dry heaving and sometimes, vomiting.

6. Overwhelming Stress and Anxiety Attacks

How one’s body reacts to stress differs from person to person. Some may get heart palpitations, severe headaches, eye twitching, or dry heaving. If you feel this way it is normal and it doesn’t essentially mean that you have an issue with your mental health.

It becomes a problem when you are not able to handle the overwhelming stress correctly.  SAs a result of this, you constantly experience these symptoms, which includes dry heaving.

7. Low Blood Sugar Levels- Hypoglycemia

A mild case of low blood sugar is usually not any major cause for concern. You will experience this after exercising or doing strenuous activities or when you feel hungry. One of the major symptoms of low blood sugar level is dry heaving. The other accompanying symptoms are feelings of dizziness, cold and clammy skin, fast heartbeat and jitters.

For diabetics, Ketones cause dry heaves and vomiting. When there is an adequate amount of insulin in your blood, your body is capable of producing energy from foods containing carbohydrate. When there is inadequate insulin, your liver looks for other sources of energy. One of which happens to be Keto acids (ketones). These result in fat breakdown.

8. Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis occurs when there is an abnormal contraction of your stomach muscles. This messes up your stomach’s ability to grind food.  As a consequence, the food cannot be emptied into your small intestine. Uncontrolled Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes causes this. Certain surgeries like the bariatric surgery, and medications like antidepressants and opioids, also contribute to the causes.

As the food cannot be passed down to the small intestine, it is expelled out as stool or vomit. After you finish vomiting and your stomach is essentially empty, and you start experiencing dry heaving.

9. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

GERD is a persistent digestive condition. It happens when your stomach’s content or the acid recurrently goes back to your esophagus (food pipe). This generally causes heartburn. It will be seen as a burning sensation in your throat and chest.

It will reoccur at least twice a week for about three months. Dry heaving is experienced all throughout the period of three months. The other symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux disease are a sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, and sour taste in the mouth.

How To Stop Dry Heaving Naturally

How To Stop Dry Heaving Naturally
How To Stop Dry Heaving Naturally

1. Cloves

Cloves have antiseptic and anesthetic properties. These properties help in proper digestion and is a natural cure for vomiting and dry heaving.


  • Chewing up some raw cloves or adding it to black tea and drinking it ,are two effective ways of consumption.
  • You can also swallow a mixture of fried and powdered cloves with some honey.
  • They offer quick relief and help you to keep your throat clear.

2. Ginger

Ginger can be used to counter morning sickness during pregnancy. It has always been used as a traditional medicine. Contemporary doctors now recommend ginger to prevent dry heaving, nausea, and vomiting, caused by chemotherapy, motion sickness, and pregnancy.

However, care must be taken that pregnant woman should not take ginger for four days at a stretch.  The quantity must be limited to one gram per day.

It can have a negative effect on your health and the baby if you exceed the quantity. To be on the safe side, you can consult your doctor or your dietitian.


i) When you feel extremely bloated from eating a lot or drinking a lot, you can place a small piece of ginger in your mouth along with a little sugar. Slowly keep on nibbling on the piece of ginger until you finish it. You can also opt to have thin slices of ginger along with raw honey.

ii) Alternatively, you can also put 7-8 slices of ginger in a cup of boiled water and allow it to steep. Strain out the ginger slices and drink up the solution!

3. Peppermint

Peppermint tea or it’s oil extracts help you to ease the spasms in your digestive tract.

These spasms eventually lead to dry heaving and sometimes, vomiting. Peppermint wipes off the intestinal cramping and helps you to avoid dry heaving or vomiting altogether.

You can have peppermint tea during pregnancy as it has a more soothing effect on your body and the baby. But remember, not to use peppermint if you are anemic or if you are taking anti-seizure medications.

4. Relax your body and mind.

To fight off anxiety, you must calm yourself down. If you are always angry or excited, the adrenal level in your body is high. This might consequentially lead to dry heaving. There are a number of ways relax.  Some of which are:

i) Walk It Off

The simplest way to beat your stress is to walk. Researchers say that walking for 30-minutes daily could instantly relieve you of your stress. It will also boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and enhance focus.

You can listen to music while you take a walk. Make sure you stay hydrated when you start walking. Do not drink water or juice immediately after coming back from your walk.

ii) Keep Plants indoors

Plants improve the quality of air and beautify a space. Along with this, they also add to physical and mental health benefits. Studies show that plants kept indoors increase productivity by bounds!  Moreover, they also help you to reduce stress by lowering your systolic blood pressure.

iii) Take a Few Deep Breaths

Breathing techniques or simply taking long deep breaths are the best ways to bust stress. They are bound to make your body and mind relaxed. This happens because it introduces large amounts of oxygen in your system. You could try the two kinds of breathing techniques mentioned below:

a) Abdominal (belly) breathing technique:

First, relax your mind by closing your eyes for a few minutes. Then, rest one hand on your chest and put another one on your belly. Now, place your thumb on your belly button. Take a long deep breath through your nose.

Make sure you let your belly inflate, but not your upper torso. Now exhale the air through your mouth very very slowly. For instance, if you inhale for two seconds, you must exhale for four seconds.

b) Equal breathing technique:

This works on the principle that you inhale and exhale taking equal amounts of time. Inhale very slowly counting to four. You must ensure that your lungs are packed with air. Now, exhale slowly and steadily counting to four.

You can also change the pace of your breathing by altering your count. The most important thing about this technique is that the length of inhalation and exhalation must be equal.

iv) Hum a Tune

It’s an acknowledged fact that if you listen to soothing songs, it helps you to lower your blood pressure, stop stomach agitation, and subsequently producing an overall sense of comfort. You could also achieve the equivalent benefits by simply humming a tune.

It works is somewhat similar to breathing exercises. To hum a tune, you need to inhale and exhale very deeply. Sometimes the tune is such that it will make you breathe in equal intervals. This process floods your brain with additional oxygen and sets off your parasympathetic nervous system, which eventually promotes relaxation.

9. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can help you to ease the nauseous feeling that comes with dry heaving. It helps you to calm your stomach and helps in detoxification. It also helps you to treat food poisoning, because of its antimicrobial properties.

  • You can mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with some honey in a glass of lukewarm water.
  • Drink it up and repeat it as many times you want.
  • If you have already vomited and have nothing else to throw up, the smell of the vomit sometimes causes dry heaving.
  • To freshen up your breath and prevent this, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of vinegar watered down in a one-half cup of water.

10. Watch what you eat

You must stay away from solid foods if you have a constant feeling of vomiting. Opt for only clear liquids like water, juices, sports drinks, or soup, and allow your stomach to settle down. You can then follow a soft and bland diet if you have tolerated liquids for twenty-four hours.

Apart from proper medications, treatment of GERD and Gastroparesis involve a few changes in your lifestyle and especially your diet. For GERD, you could start by keeping away from certain foods and drinks those trigger symptoms.

Foods to avoid if you have GERD:

  1. Peppermint
  2. Fresh tomatoes or tomato-based products
  3. Spicy and fatty foods
  4. Chocolate
  5. Citrus fruits
  6. Caffeine
  7. Cabbage juice
  8. Alcohol
  9. Onions

It’s also very important to reduce your serving portions. Eating small and frequent meals makes digestion easier for your body. You must stop eating right after fifteen minutes or just before you feel full.

If you are diabetic, the best technique to treat Gastroparesis is to maintain your blood sugar level close to normal. This is possible through proper medications and a few changes in your diet and lifestyle.

You do not need to eat any special kind of foods or follow any complex diets. The key to this is to sustain a healthy and well-balanced diet. Try to eat small and frequent meals. But, do not go beyond 5 or six meals.

Additionally, you must also avoid food that is rich in protein. Like, Greek yogurt, soymilk, eggs, processed carbs, and fats. Try to include more fibre, complex carbs, and low-fat foods in your diet. Remember to drink a lot of water and keep yourself hydrated.

11. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

Cases of acid reflux or heartburn have significantly increased over the past few years. The explanation for this is still not clear.  But, a large study suggested that the most probable reason is obesity.

Having pounds of extra fat around your belly adds pressure. This subsequently causes the acids and various other stomach contents to flow back up to the esophagus and cause irritation.

It’s only logical to shed the extra pounds as a solution to this. But do not torture yourself and make yourself go through horrible weight loss processes.

You must talk to your doctor to help you to create a proper weight-loss plan that is suited to your needs. You can also hit the gym to lose some extra pounds.

When you are hungry, do not reach out for food right away. Drink water or juices to avoid overeating. You can also place weight-friendly foods in plain views, such as fruits and vegetables.  Keep away the fattening foods hidden to avoid temptations. Stop eating even after you feel full.


Generally speaking, dry heaving stops once your system cools down, or when your overly stimulated brain calms down.  When you are sipping any liquid, like the ginger solution we mentioned, make sure you sip it slowly.

Gulping it down is going to have a counter effect on your body as the stomach will try to expel it out and hence, cause vomiting. Keeping a cube of ice in your mouth and sucking on it can also help in some cases.

Mentioned above are just a few probable causes and treatments for dry heaving. We can see that dry heaving is a symptom for different other serious disorders. It is the best to seek advice from your doctor for ruling out any serious health issues, like the brain tumor.


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