Why Your Throat Hurts After Throwing Up and How to Soothe It

LIVESTRONG.com may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Stomach acid can cause a sore throat after throwing up.
Image Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/GettyImages

Throwing up is a pain in the stomach. But it can also be a pain in the throat. Even after the queasiness has subsided, it's not unusual to have a sore, burning sensation in your throat for hours or a few days.

Advertisement

If you've only thrown up a couple times, your throat isn't necessarily getting damaged from this (although it can certainly feel like it). If your vomiting is frequent, though, you could develop a more serious throat issue.

Video of the Day

Video of the Day

Here, learn why you get a sore throat after throwing up and what to do to feel better fast.

Why Your Throat Hurts or Burns After Throwing Up

When your throat tissue comes into contact with vomit, it becomes irritated and inflamed, which can cause a painful burning sensation. That's because vomit has strong digestive acids and enzymes from your stomach, says Corina Din-Lovinescu, DO, an ear, nose and throat doctor with ENT and Allergy Associates in New Jersey.

In fact, the average pH of your digestive juice is between 1.5 and 2, Dr. Din-Lovinescu says. That's about the same as straight vinegar or lemon juice, and just a tad less acidic than sulfuric acid, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Puking once or twice won't actually burn your throat, even though it can feel pretty fiery. "A typical bout of vomiting is more likely to cause an unpleasant sensation rather than actual physical damage," says Aditya Sreenivasan, MD, a gastroenterologist at Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC.

Advertisement

But ‌frequent‌ vomiting can cause injuries like esophagitis — a condition that causes inflammation of the esophagus, throat pain and trouble swallowing. In some cases, the inflammation can be so intense that you'll vomit small amounts of blood, Dr. Sreenivasan says.

Very forceful vomiting can even lead to tears in your throat tissue. Symptoms will include the following, per Dr. Din-Lovinescu:

Advertisement

  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Neck pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Voice changes
  • Fever
  • Air under the skin of the chest or neck

Warning

If you notice these symptoms, call your doctor and go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

3 Conditions That Can Worsen Throat Pain From Vomiting

There are certain conditions that can make vomiting especially tough on your throat, too. These include:

Advertisement

1. GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, happens when acid from your stomach regularly flows up into the throat or mouth. The acid can irritate your throat lining and cause pain and trouble swallowing, per the Mayo Clinic.

Advertisement

GERD can also cause a burning sensation in your chest, otherwise known as heartburn, and a cough (often called GERD cough), per the Mayo Clinic. You may even wake up with a sore throat from GERD.

If you have GERD, throwing up can make your already-sensitive throat tissue feel even worse. "It may cause more tissue damage and more symptoms," Dr Sreenivasan says.

Advertisement

2. Esophagitis

We've learned that frequent vomiting can cause esophagitis, but esophagitis caused by something else (like GERD or certain autoimmune diseases) can ‌also‌ be made worse from throwing up, Dr. Din-Lovinescu says.

This can up your risk for other esophagitis symptoms like the following, per the Cleveland Clinic:

Advertisement

3. Mouth Sores

Mouth sores, or oral ulcers, are tiny, painful sores that can form on your gums, tongue, roof of your mouth or inside your lips or cheeks, per the Cleveland Clinic.

Advertisement

Sometimes you get them from accidentally biting your tongue or cheek or from eating acidic foods, but they can also stem from stress or underlying health problems like Crohn's or celiac disease, per the Cleveland Clinic.

Advertisement

Exposure to any kind of acid (i.e., acidic foods or drinks) can irritate mouth sores and slow their healing, too. That includes acid from vomit, Dr. Din-Lovinescu says.

How Long Will My Throat Be Sore After Throwing Up?

It's not uncommon to have a sore throat from throwing up. But most of the time, the discomfort shouldn't last too long. If you threw up once or twice, your throat will probably start to feel better within a couple of hours, Dr. Din-Lovinescu says.

If you have a condition that's causing you to throw up repeatedly, though, "it may take up to six to eight weeks for the lining of the throat to fully heal, and up to three months for symptoms to go away," she says.

5 Ways to Soothe Your Throat After Throwing Up

Throwing up can be hard on your throat, but there are ways to get fast relief. Some strategies to relieve the throat burning include:

1. Control Your Vomiting

Avoiding throwing up again will keep your throat from getting more irritated. If you're still feeling queasy, try taking an over-the-counter medicine to control nausea and vomiting, Dr. Din-Lovinescu says. She recommends Emetrol, which works by relaxing the stomach muscles that trigger vomiting.

2. Stay Hydrated (Especially With Warm Fluids)

It's important to rehydrate after throwing up in any way you can. But drinking fluids can also keep your throat tissue moist and speed healing, Dr. Din-Lovenscu says.

Plain water is fine if you can stomach it, but warm fluids like tea or broth can be especially soothing. Plus, they tend to be easier to tolerate when you're nauseous.

If you start to feel better, the best drinks and foods to eat after throwing up include Pedialyte, toast, rice, applesauce and other puréed foods.

3. Try Some Honey or a Lozenge

One of the best natural remedies for a sore throat is a spoonful of honey, which can temporarily coat your throat to ease irritation, according to an August 2021 review in ‌BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine‌.

Sucking on a lozenge or hard candy will do the trick too, Dr. Sreenivasan says. Licorice lozenges in particular have been shown to be helpful for managing throat soreness, per the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Advertisement

4. Run a Humidifier at Night

Putting a humidifier by your bed can add more moisture to your indoor air, Dr. Din-Lovinescu says. The extra humidity will keep your throat tissue hydrated while you sleep, which can ease scratchiness and irritation.

5. Steer Clear of Irritants

Stay away from acidic foods or drinks that might make your throat feel worse. And try to avoid being around anything that might make you cough, like smoke or harsh cleaning products, per the Mayo Clinic.

How to Prevent Throat Pain From Vomiting

If you happen to vomit often, there are some things you can do to prevent not only throat pain, but also the stomach issues that come with throwing up. This includes lifestyle changes like:

  • Managing your GERD and acid reflux
  • Avoiding spicy, fried or ultra-processed foods
  • Avoiding eating in excess (to the point of vomiting)
  • Limiting alcohol (drinking to the point of throwing up can cause throat issues, per Cedars Sinai)
  • Elevating your head right after you eat
  • Getting help for certain eating disorders (which can cause throat burning from vomiting, per the American College of Prosthodontists)

When to See a Doctor

It's normal for your throat to burn or feel uncomfortable a few hours to a day after you throw up.

But if the pain lasts longer than a few days, you're vomiting for more than a day or you're feeling dehydrated, see your doctor as soon as possible.

You should also go to the emergency room if you have signs of a throat tear, like severe pain or blood in your vomit.

Advertisement

Advertisement

references

Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.

Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...