There's no way to make inevitable vomiting more pleasant, is there?
January 27, 2014 11:35 AM   Subscribe

When I get a migraine, it is accompanied by nausea, vertigo, and vomiting. But usually I have some time at the onset of the migraine before the barfing commences, and I was wondering if there was something I could consume (food, beverage) in this window of time that would make the inevitable reversal of fortune less unpleasant on my throat.

Sorry this is such a gross question. I have already tried googling how to make vomiting better, but because of the search term, got a bunch of pro-ana sites. Zofran unfortunately doesn't work.
posted by juniperesque to Health & Fitness (47 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My husband is a migraine sufferer and swears by Coke.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:37 AM on January 27, 2014

What makes it hard on your throat is the acid. The way to mitigate this is with a fast-acting antacid. Mylanta or Pepto Bismol or something like that.
posted by slkinsey at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2014

Antihistamines can work as antiemetics -- you could try a dramamine or Benadryl if you're not taking any other meds they might react with.

If you don't want any medications, maybe some saltine crackers and mint tea?
posted by oinopaponton at 11:41 AM on January 27, 2014

Think camomile tea is supposed to settle the stomach?
posted by tanktop at 11:42 AM on January 27, 2014

Ice cream. It tastes almost as good coming back up and the milk coats your throat.

BUT - time it well. If you barf ice cream 3h later it might be gross by then.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2014

Tea usually helps me. I have a myriad of stomach troubles, and they often include nausea and sometimes vomiting. I tend to prefer ginger tea, but peppermint is good, as it chamomile. I've also used spearmint tea. Gentle, herbal teas are often best.

Throwing up isn't really pleasant, but for me, the teas usually help make it more bearable. Especially as the bile, because it's so acidic, is often worse than the actual vomiting-part.
posted by PearlRose at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

My understanding is that yogurt and ice cream don't hurt as much coming up as other foods do.
posted by alms at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have severe migraines that are now completely fixed by amlodipine (a blood pressure medication). Prior to being prescribed that, though, I would take two Tylenol, two Advil, and then drink half a Coke along with a ton of water. It usually worked. I would also take an herbal anti-nausea syrup I got from Whole Foods to help with the vomiting. I don't miss that feeling and I send you much love for dealing with it.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

When I know I'm going to be tossing my cookies in the near future I make a point of drinking a lot of water. I actually bring a glass of water with me to the bathroom when I go to throw up so that I can drink more water in between barfs. Why? Because there is NOTHING worse than a dry heave. If I am going to barf I am going to barf SOMETHING up. Retching is the absolute worst thing in my books. I don't care how awful and counterintuitive it feels to put more stuff in your stomach when you're body is violently evacuating it. I am gulping water in between heaves, and I swear to mercy it helps.

I also don't like to barf up foods I otherwise enjoy eating because that can turn me off those foods in a long term way. (I barfed up a Dr. Oetker pizza once, and some of it came out my nose... never had one again after that, which is a shame because I loved them.) Water is as good of a barf vessel as anything. Go for the soothing pepto or ginger tea once the barfing has stopped.

Sorry you go through this. It sounds decidedly not fun. :(
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

In my experience, you'll want to counteract, or at least mitigate, the acid, and ironically I find vomiting large amounts easier than small amounts (it flows more easily). In your position, I might try taking an antacid and drinking several large glasses of water.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Antihistamines can work as antiemetics

As an allergic freak that also has stomach problems and migranes (including migranes that lead to stomach issues), I can assure you that you do not want to take an antihistamine if you are already dreading the taste. If you've ever gotten one stuck in the back of a dry throat, you know these things can burn, now imagine that sliding along with your stomach acid and contents up your nose. Yeah, not good.

From my vast experience with regurgitation, a nice herbal tea with honey is about as good as it's going to get here.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:48 AM on January 27, 2014

As someone who had hyperemesis twice, I agree with "yogurt and ice cream" and "lots of liquids" as being the least of the evils coming back up. Saltines are actually HORRIBLE. I wanted to kick everyone who recommended I try saltines while pregnant, because they didn't prevent me puking, they just felt lumpy/scratchy/horrific on the way back up. YMMV though.
posted by celtalitha at 11:48 AM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seconding ice cream. I'd say you might actually enjoy it, but that sounds kind of weird.
posted by beyond_pink at 11:57 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Anything soft and sweet-ish is probably a good choice. I once mistook food poisoning for a hangover and ate a McGriddle since fast food generally helps my hangovers. I puked it up shortly thereafter and found the experience to be more pleasant than any other time I've ever vomited. I personally would avoid dairy since the idea of puking stomach-warmed ice cream makes me really sad, but I imagine it would be easy on your throat. Maybe a muffin?

I also agree with drinking a lot of water.
posted by vakker at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2014

I've heard that pudding isn't too bad coming back up, probably very similar to yogurt and ice cream.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2014

I find that cold flat Coke (full sugar, not diet) can help settle my stomach and, if it doesn't work, isn't too bad coming back up. Really flat works best - I put it in the blender (leaving plenty of room for foam) and serve over ice.
posted by metahawk at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I feel your pain on the vomiting (fellow migraine sufferer) and I haven't found anything that will make the vomiting less unpleasant - I guess something sweet might make it less horrible when you're inevitably left retching up the acid from the bottom of your stomach, but you probably will develop an aversion to whatever you use, so choose wisely! I wanted to add, though - have you tried other anti-emetics? Around here migraine vomiting is usually treated with metoclopramide (Maxolon) or prochlorperazine (Stemetil). Taking one when you first realise you're getting a migraine can fend off the vomiting altogether, and stemetil is available as a suppository, which is unpleasant, but nowhere near as unpleasant as vomiting every 20 minutes for 6 or 8 hours, let me tell you!
posted by Cheese Monster at 11:59 AM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Once, in the throes of an epic hangover, I threw up a breakfast of raisin bread and cantaloupe, and it was almost pleasant, as these things go. It had enough texture to give my stomach something to really barf, so no dry heaves, but it was soft and sweet, with nothing acidic or textural. Seconding something like a muffin.
posted by mostlymartha at 12:04 PM on January 27, 2014

What I learned from my first epic hangover: a bowl of Cheerios. The milk coats much like the ice cream that others have recommended; the cereal gives it some soft, soggy bulk so you're not just vomiting liquid.
posted by xueexueg at 12:07 PM on January 27, 2014

I threw up multiple times daily for months during my first pregnancy, and learned that what goes down easily comes up easily. So: nothing crispy, chunky, or with edges. No apples, nuts, crackers, chips, etc. Savory foods taste good going down but not so good coming back up, in my experience, and you can be put off a favorite for months if you end up throwing it up. Saltines are supposed to settle your stomach but they can really shred your throat if you have to throw them up too soon.

On the other hand, nothing is easier coming up than ice cream or sherbet. If you time it right, it's still cool on the way back up! Applesauce or other fruit purees are good too. Just having liquids, like ginger ale or coke, didn't work as well for me because it doesn't have enough mass, or something--you can empty your stomach really fast and end up dry-heaving. If you want to have a soda to settle your stomach, something cold and smooth but with some bulk along with it will make the vomiting easier.
posted by not that girl at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2014

Back when chugging a gallon of milk was all the rage, I distinctly remember someone who did it saying that the vomit was actually quite pleasant. So I would say dairy is the way to go.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:22 PM on January 27, 2014

Saltines are fine coming back up if you chew them a lot. I tend to chew a lot more thoroughly and slowly when I'm nauseous in an effort to appease my gag reflex, so they've never come back up painfully for me.

YMMV, but I would not recommend Greek yogurt. It feels fine, but for me it comes back up with a really unpleasant sour taste that I hate. Most things are pretty gross when vomiting them, but Greek yogurt + stomach acid strikes me as a particularly disgusting combination.
posted by yasaman at 12:34 PM on January 27, 2014

my migraines also make me throw up sometimes, and I've found taking dramamine early on helps in a preventative sense. also candied ginger (available at Trader Joe's) or ginger chews. if you're certain throwing up is inevitable, chewing a few Tums or similar can help neutralize your stomach acid when it comes back up.
posted by changeling at 12:38 PM on January 27, 2014

To contribute to the generalized pro-dairy advice, what you want in your life, my friend, is some delicious blueberry kefir. Coats the throat, helps settle the stomach, full of great probiotics for your gut health, calcium as an antacid, tastes good going both ways, and will, in fact, make your vomit a festive robin's-egg shade of blue.

I think the stuff basically saved my life (or at least prevented me from going to the hospital) once when I had a really nasty stomach flu.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:39 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not spaghetti squash.
posted by goethean at 12:39 PM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Coffee (black, or espresso) because for me it speeds up the inevitable. I also get sick with migraines and try to get this part over with ASAP so I can start keeping liquids and painkillers down.
posted by wingless_angel at 12:41 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

From my illness this weekend: cinnamon-sugar graham crackers weren't all bad on the way back.
posted by coppermoss at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2014

If you go with an antacid, alka seltzer comes in a heartburn relief formula, which doesn't include aspirin, so you don't have to worry about consuming too much aspirin if you have already taken an aspirin containing painkiller. The lemon-lime flavor actually tastes like Sprite.
posted by inertia at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2014

I was once told that one of the few non-prescription anti-emetics is cola syrup. You can get it at a drug store, and you take a shot of it poured over ice and sip on it as you're able. I an affirm that this works, and is where the "drink flat coke" idea comes from.
posted by Runes at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2014

I got a concussion as a kid and my dad made me chug OJ (low acid these days I guess) almost immediately. I had no idea why until it came back up an hour later and tasted just as good as on the way down. Blow your nose after to clear out what's left, then gargle to completely avoid rebounding from the smell.
posted by jwells at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2014

Talk to your doctor about an anti-emetic. I was prescribed Ondansetron (brand name: Zofran) which you take as soon as you feel a migraine coming on. I take it at the same time as my Sumatriptan and the combination prevents ongoing barfing about 95% of the time. Highly recommended. It's given to cancer patients and lots of other folks in precarious health situations, and works like a treat. There are other anti-emetic drugs too.

And yes, it's worth asking about even if it only happens a few times a year. Why would your doctor want you to barf 3-4 days a year if you didn't have to?
posted by barnone at 1:00 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Lukewarm peppermint tea can sometimes help too.

But seriously, I really encourage you to talk to a doctor. A small prescription for an anti-emetic can work wonders. You don't have to suffer through migraines with no medication unless there is some other factor that you haven't mentioned.
posted by barnone at 1:03 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ice cream, absolutely. Try a mint ice cream maybe (you prob don't want to throw up rocky road).
posted by greta simone at 1:07 PM on January 27, 2014

OP already said that Zofran doesn't work...
posted by celtalitha at 1:12 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

My boyfriend gave me water with baking soda or baking powder in it once when I was sick, and it made throwing up way easier to deal with, I guess by neutralizing the acid.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:44 PM on January 27, 2014

I use gatorade. Tastes OK, should help with dehydration.
Curious about this yogurt/ice cream business now though.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 2:23 PM on January 27, 2014

I was a teenage bulimic and I swore by ice cream.
posted by domo at 2:24 PM on January 27, 2014

OP already said that Zofran doesn't work...

Oops, sorry, in the midst of a migraine myself. They sometimes start you on a super low dose, so ask about a higher dose, or a different type of anti-emetic all together. And it has to be taken when you first start noticing the vague signs of a migraine, not right before the barfing starts to feel inevitable, in case they didn't explain that very well.

You also might want to try this head ice wrap. Keep it in the freezer, and when you feel a migraine coming on, take all of your meds and wrap your head (fairly tightly) in this. The ice puts pressure on some of the pressure points that swell during a migraine. This wraps slightly differently but might work too.

Have any of the triptans worked? Good luck, OP, I literally feel your pain.
posted by barnone at 2:33 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Around this time of year, it seems like everyone I know is hit with the Norwalk virus. As a result, I have now learnt that nearly everyone around me consumes Lime Gatorade when they're nauseated - because vomiting it up "isn't bad at all".
posted by VioletU at 2:41 PM on January 27, 2014

This is out-of-the-box and not answering your original question.

Do you chew gum? I've seen research that implicates gum-chewing as a cause of migraine headaches, presumably because of overuse of the temporomandibular joint or because of the pattern of muscles that get worked while chewing. A fairly high percentage of the participants had no further migraines after quitting gum. Admittedly this was with teens not adults.
posted by w0mbat at 2:54 PM on January 27, 2014

Graham crackers dissolve into nothingness and don't taste bad coming up.

Also, liquid Rolaids.
posted by MadMadam at 3:51 PM on January 27, 2014

Slippery Elm. It's a natural demulcent which means it forms a soothing film over mucus membranes, which is exactly what you're talking about.

Basically just order slippery elm powder and mix with honey into balls. They store forever. I throw them in a little jar and eat them for any kind of digestive distress. It's a

Search for "slippery elm balls recipe" to find lots of good ways to make them like this. I'm partial to Susun Weed's methods.
posted by jardinier at 4:01 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

My trick for stomach bugs:
Lukewarm water.

Drinking cold water can kind of hurt your stomach when it is feeling queasy, and be terrible coming up. Water at blood temperature comes up and out a lot easier.
Some people kind of feel a bit gaggy about drinking warm water, but if you are just wanting it up and out, that works too. Drink enough to dilute any stomach acid.

Usually I just keep sculling til my stomach is 'flushed', and I don't feel queasy anymore (yay!), if I can drink two glasses of warm water without puking, I'm usually good. This is not quite the same for you obviously, but yeah, having something in your stomach is a lot easier than dry heaving, or stomach acid.
posted by Elysum at 4:12 PM on January 27, 2014

I find that half a can of Sprite (or its equivalent) helps (both on its way down and back up), preferably a little warmer than cold.
posted by Etrigan at 4:39 PM on January 27, 2014

I once had to stave off motion sickness for three hours while traveling on a bus through the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. I got off the bus, threw up, and was brought a very sweet mint tea. Threw that up, too, and it was so pleasant.
posted by Stewriffic at 5:55 PM on January 27, 2014

Do they still make Midrin? I had disabling, murderous migraines many years ago and I'm SO thankful to no longer have them - the pain could take me to a suicidal level, but I couldn't move so never acted on it.

Then, finally, a doctor gave me Midrin. I was to take one the second I knew a migraine was coming, then another one 20 minutes later, another one 30 minutes after that, and then wait an hour if I needed another one.

It was like a miracle. I sometimes needed 3, but never 4. No more vomiting and feeling the top of my head come off and flush down the toilet along with my eyeballs.

Sorry - that's what it felt like to me. When asked today for a level of pain, with 10 being the most pain I've ever had, the migraine is the 10 - and I've had many other painful experiences.

If you haven't tried Midrin yet, ask your doctor or pharmacist what medication does the exact same thing and give it a try.

As for the nausea, I could never take dramamine, but a different anti-emetic, Marezine, worked well for me with car sickness and vertigo.

I hope you get this take care of quickly.
posted by aryma at 9:44 PM on January 27, 2014

In terms of nausea, I've found that green tea has helped my stomach a lot, though it has a fair amount of caffeine which you might not want.

In terms of pleasant vomit, the least bad experience I've ever had came after surgery, when I found out I have bad reactions to morphine. Of course, I hadn't eaten for nearly twenty hours, but I only vomited after having some cranberry juice. It was shockingly not awful, and if you absolutely have to puke something, that'd be my recommendation.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:46 AM on January 29, 2014

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