Why Is My Gag Reflex So Sensitive All Of A Sudden?

The gag reflex, also known as the pharyngeal reflex or laryngeal spasm, is a normal reflex that helps protect the body from choking or swallowing something harmful. However, some people may experience a heightened sensitivity to their gag reflex, leading to discomfort and difficulty with certain activities such as dental procedures or swallowing pills. In this article, we will explore the potential causes and treatments for a sensitive gag reflex.


  1. Anxiety: Anxiety or stress can cause a sensitive gag reflex. When a person is anxious, their body may enter into a state of heightened sensitivity, leading to increased muscle tension and the activation of the gag reflex.
  2. Acid reflux: Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation. This can trigger the gag reflex, especially if the acid reaches the back of the throat.
  3. Sinus congestion: Sinus congestion or inflammation can also contribute to a sensitive gag reflex. This is because the congestion can cause mucus to build up in the throat, triggering the gag reflex.
  4. Pregnancy: During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause a woman’s gag reflex to become more sensitive. This is because the hormones can cause the muscles in the body, including the throat, to relax, making it easier to trigger the reflex.
  5. Certain medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants or muscle relaxants, can cause a sensitive gag reflex as a side effect.


  1. Breathing techniques: Deep breathing and other relaxation techniques can help reduce anxiety and muscle tension, which can help alleviate a sensitive gag reflex.
  2. Medications: Certain medications, such as anti-anxiety drugs or antacids, can be prescribed to help treat a sensitive gag reflex.
  3. Desensitization therapy: This therapy involves gradually exposing the person to stimuli that trigger the gag reflex, with the goal of reducing their sensitivity over time.
  4. Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help the person learn coping strategies to manage their anxiety and reduce their sensitivity to the gag reflex.
  5. Avoiding triggers: Avoiding triggers, such as certain foods or activities, can help reduce the frequency of a sensitive gag reflex.

In conclusion, a sensitive gag reflex can be uncomfortable and make certain activities difficult. It can be caused by various factors such as anxiety, acid reflux, sinus congestion, pregnancy, or certain medications. Treatment options include breathing techniques, medications, desensitization therapy, behavioral therapy, and avoiding triggers. If the sensitivity persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional.

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