Why does it hurt to breathe after vomiting? 

Why does it hurt to breathe after vomiting? 

Your chest and throat may hurt after vomiting because of possible muscle strains. The process of throwing up involves the sudden contraction of muscles around your ribcage and throat. 

These contractions are usually strong and an episode of vomiting can cause these muscles to stretch a bit too much. These strained muscles hurt when you’re done vomiting. (1,2)

However, it usually fades away in a few hours and depends on the damage caused to your muscles – which in most cases is mild. Apart from muscle pain, some people may feel irritation and burning sensation in their chest, throat, and nose. 

This usually happens because of the gastric acid present in your vomit that irritates the upper gastrointestinal tracts all the way through. This too remains for a couple of hours and the effects fade away soon after. 

How to get rid of post-vomiting chest pain? 

As I have discussed in the previous section, post-vomiting chest pain usually goes away on its own. It’s best to stay rested and drink plenty of fluids. However, if you have pulled a muscle while throwing up, a muscle relaxant can help make you feel a little better. 

Throat and chest irritation after throwing up also takes time, and drinking water can help with cleaning your throat. However, consistent chest pain should definitely be discussed with your doctor, especially if you’re at risk of cardiac problems. 

Some tips to help with your symptoms include:

  • Rest and Relaxation: Give your body time to recover and avoid any strenuous activities that may worsen the pain.
  • Apply Heat: Placing a warm compress or heating pad on your chest can help relax the muscles and relieve some of the pain.
  • Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Avoid Triggers: If you notice certain foods or activities that worsen your symptoms, try to avoid them to prevent further discomfort. Don’t combine medications, especially psychotropics like Wellbutrin with alcohol
  • Practice Deep Breathing: Slow, deep breaths can help relax the chest muscles and reduce any tension or tightness you may be feeling.
  • Seek Medical Attention: If the pain persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest tightness, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and appropriate treatment.

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van de Meerendonk HW, Moumli N. Een man met pijn op de borst na veelvuldig braken [A man with a painful chest after frequent vomiting]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2010;154:A1183. Dutch. PMID: 21083954. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21083954/


Lee HY, Yoo SM, Song IS, Yu H, Kim YS, Lee JB, Shon DS. Spontaneous diaphragmatic rupture after vomiting: rapid diagnosis on multiplanar reformatted multidetector CT. J Thorac Imaging. 2006 Mar;21(1):54-6. doi: 10.1097/01.rti.0000187435.91513.ba. PMID: 16538159. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16538159/