Stomach pumping is also known as gastric lavage or gastric suction and is a procedure that empties the content of a person's stomach during an emergency. The procedure is common for cases of overdose on pill or poison swallowing.
Before undertaking the gastric suction procedure, a doctor administrates medicine to numb the throat. This helps decrease irritation and gagging. The doctor then inserts a tube into the nose or mouth to reach the stomach through the esophagus.
The doctor may use a saline solution to protect against electrolyte imbalances before applying suction to draw out the contents of the stomach. The throat may feel irritated after the procedure. Besides drug overdose, other reasons for getting gastric suction include collecting samples of stomach acid for tests, suctioning out blood in the case of a stomach hemorrhage or relieving pressure on blocked intestines.
Gastric suction can also be applied after different types of surgeries on the abdominal area. This helps to keep the stomach empty while the patient heals. There are some risks associated with stomach pumping, some of them being spasms of the vocal cords, minor bleeding, the tube poking a hole into the esophagus or the stomach contents being pushed further into the bowels.