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Old 08-20-2011
bx bx is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Bournemouth, UK
Posts: 422
Default Gag reflex

When I take a breath, quite often a little drop of water gets in and "tickles" the upper palate near the back of my mouth. When I turn my head back down and start exhaling, my exhale is interrupted by a sort of gag reflex - my throat closes, due to the water. It reopens less than a second later and I resume the exhale. Needless to say, when I get caught in this pattern of breathing, it's not comfortable and soon get out of breath.

Anyone else have this?
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Old 08-20-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, UK
Posts: 804

Yup. The only solution is to avoid water entering the mouth by tweaking your breathing action. Otherwise you involuntarily hold your breath for a short while in each cycle - the gag - and soon get oxygen-starved, as you say.
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Old 08-22-2011
aerogramma aerogramma is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 155

Water enters my mouth everytime, and from what I can see in a lot of competitive swimmers too.
But never experienced that gag reflex you talke about.
Maybe it's not an involuntary reflex but one that can be controlled?
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Old 08-22-2011
jpwkeeper jpwkeeper is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 39

This is really interesting.

While I wouldn't call it a gag, I suffer from something similar. But it's not from water entering my mouth. Even if I just take a breath on the surface then duck underwater (like starting a superman, for instance), I feel an overwhelming urge to swallow as I start to exhale through my nose. Generally the urge eases throughout the time I'm in the pool, but it makes breathing out through my nose kind of hard sometimes. I used to have the same issue scuba diving when I'd have to breathe out through my nose to clear my mask.
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