Swallow a Fistful of Pills

 And do it Without Gagging

I have a major gag reflex. Just ask any of the dentists I’ve seen. So it came as a surprise when one of them commented on easily I swallowed the supplements he gave me. (I was having mercury amalgams removed, and the supplements were intended to combat the effects of any mercury that came loose in the process.)

Originally published 2011

It was an interesting comment, because to me it was “only 4 or 5 pills”. Not many at all, in my book. (I’m used to taking vitamins by the dozen.) So why was it that it was so easy for me given that, as I say, I’m known to have an acute gag reflex?

Watching myself as I swallowed vitamins for the next couple of days, I realized there was a trick to it:

  1. Pop the pills into your mouth, making no attempt to swallow them.
    Instead, hold them at the front of the mouth, just behind the teeth. Since they are nowhere near the back of throat, there is no tendency whatever to gag.Tip:
    With many pills, you may find that pressing your tongue towards the bottom of the mouth helps to make room for them.
  2. Tilt your head back ever so slightly and sip water through slightly parted lips.
    The pills are still at the front of the mouth. The head is tilted back enough to keep them from falling out, but no so far that they fall back towards the throat.
  3. Watch for the moment when the pills start to float.
    It doesn’t take long. The pills’ pressure on your tongue goes away as they lift off,  floating on the water.
  4. Swallow the water.
    As you do, the pills go along for the ride like a raft on a river. You may feel that at the top of the back of your throat, but you won’t feel them at the bottom, where the esophagus
    is. As a result, you will completely avoid the gag reflex.

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