The Doctors: Indigestion, Stomach Acid, Sputum & Why Do We Vomit?

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The Doctors: Stomach Acid

The Doctors were all about bodily fluids today. First up in this segment: stomach acid. How strong is stomach acid? It’s so strong that given enough time, it could dissolve a razor blade. So if stomach acid is that strong, what keeps them from dissolving the wall of your stomach?

The Doctors: Indigestion, Stomach Acid, Sputum & Why Do We Vomit?

The Doctors talked about a number of issues relating to the digestive tract, including stomach acid, indigestion, throwing up, sputum, and saliva. (Adam Gregor / Shuttershock.com)

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The layer of mucous that lines your stomach releases a chemical that neutralizes the stomach acid. Ulcers develop in areas where the mucous isn’t developing properly.

The Doctors: Indigestion

The gastric acid is helpful for digestion, but it can also cause indigestion. Katie wrote into The Doctors and told a story of throwing up before giving a speech in front of her co-workers. She wondered if this was normal. It turns out it’s not uncommon. Dr. Travis said that there are professional athletes that vomit before every single game.

One reason why there’s a burning sensation when you throw up is because your esophagus doesn’t have that layer of mucous protecting it. The burning sensation is literally the gastric acid burning your throat.

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The Doctors: Why Do We Vomit?

The digestive tract has more nerves than any other part of the body besides the brain. That’s why when we’re stressed we throw up. There are actually over 20 reasons why we vomit. Here some reasons: strong smells, graphic sights, too much exercise, after a concussion, gallbladder disease, pregnancy, infections, heart attacks, in babies it could be a milk allergy or block of the intestine, and the list goes on and on. If you have unexplained vomiting, you have to get it checked out. Especially if you’re a woman, because it means you might be pregnant.

The Doctors: New Saliva Test For Smokers

Here’s another bodily fluid you might not be thinking about: saliva. Your body produces about a liter and a half of saliva each day. That’s enough to fill two swimming pools in an entire lifetime.

A new saliva test can tell if you’ve smoked a cigarette in the last three days and reveal the amount of nicotine in your system.

The Doctors: How To Know When Phlegm Is Serious

Next up is sputum, better known as phlegm, is actually a mixture of various things. It’s a mixture of mucous, saliva, and white blood cells. It’s made in response to inflammation. Sputum is thicker than what comes out in a runny nose. Your airways are lined with mucous even when you’re feeling normal. When you get sick, your body creates more and more of it. When you cough it up and it’s yellow or green, especially in the morning, that’s usually a sign of an infection or a virus like bronchitis.

What you don’t want is any streaks of red or brown. That means blood and that can be from a chronic infection like tuburculosis or pnuemonia. It can also mean tears in the trachea or esophagus. But you want to get it looked at, because it could mean lung cancer.

If what you’re coughing up is foamy or frothy white, that could be chronic lung disease, a lung failure, or kidney problems. You should get that checked out immediately.

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