Throwing up is a complex bodily reaction that forces the contents of your stomach to leave the body. You might vomit because your digestive system detects something bad in your food. Or you might throw up in response to signals from your brain, balancing systems in your ears or bloodstream, which can contain medicines or infections that spur nausea.
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In your stomach, gastric juices break down food so your body can absorb nutrients. When you vomit, a mixture of half-digested food and gastric juices leaves your stomach and pushes through your esophagus. The gastric juices can irritate and burn the lining of your throat, leading to inflammation.
The more you throw up, the more inflammation and burning you will feel. It might become difficult to swallow or speak clearly. Drinking a soothing liquid, such as warm tea or water, might help lessen the burning sensation, but a better solution is to determine the cause of the nausea and vomiting. Talk to your doctor if you can’t stop throwing up.
People who vomit often might experience significant esophageal damage. For example, bulimics attempt to lose or maintain their weight by forcing themselves to throw up after large meals. The continual burning and pressure from vomiting can cause tears in the esophageal lining. Over time, repeated vomiting might even lead to esophageal rupture.
Prolonged inflammation in your throat is called esophagitis. Symptoms include painful swallowing, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, sore throat and heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. Heartburn, like vomiting, is a condition that exposes your esophagus to caustic gastric juices. The cause of heartburn is a malfunctioning band of muscle, called the esophageal sphincter, that allows the digestive juices to escape. It’s called heartburn because you might experience a burning sensation in your throat and upper chest due to repeated inflammation of the esophageal lining.
Barrett’s esophagus is the result of continual inflammation from stomach acids. It’s commonly caused by chronic heartburn. The repetitive burning changes the color and composition of the cells in the esophageal lining. While you might not experience symptoms, Barrett’s esophagus is a serious condition because it increases your risk of esophageal cancer. If you vomit often or have chronic heartburn, ask your doctor to inspect your esophagus to determine if there are any precancerous lesions due to the continual presence of corrosive stomach acids.