Stop Hiccups Using Varied Remedies
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Eng
Hiccups can be as funny as they are irritating. An episode lasting for a few minutes may be totally ignored because, for the most part, hiccups are harmless and resolve on their own. But, when the series of "hic" noise persists, they can quickly become bothersome. If they occur more frequently and last longer than usual, they can be both embarrassing and frightening. Thus it comes as no surprise that many theories on the cause and cure for hiccups thrive in our midst, including some recommended methods from the old wives' club. While hiccups do not normally require treatment, it is important to know about the various remedies available in case a bout does not turn out to be funny at all.
In more technical term, hiccups or hiccoughs are medically known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF), or otherwise termed as singultus. Hiccups are repetitive, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle found below the lungs helping to regulate breathing. When the diaphragm contracts out of rhythm, the epiglottis (larynx and the vocal cords) snaps shut at the same time, blocking air passage. When air suddenly flows into the lungs, the body reacts by gasping, producing the distinctive "hic" sound. Unlike other forms of body reflexes, such as coughing and sneezing, there seems to be no useful purpose for hiccups.
Hiccups can affect both men and women equally. Generally, they mainly occur in the evening, but they are more common in women after a menstruation period and very rare during pregnancy.
- 1 Causes of Hiccups
- 2 Popular or Folk Remedies for Hiccups
- 3 Natural Home Remedies for Hiccups
- 4 Medical Assessments and Treatment for Persistent Hiccups
- 5 Underlying Causes or Conditions for Persistent Hiccups
- 6 Alternative Treatments for Persistent Hiccups
- 7 Invasive Options to Treat Extreme Cases of Hiccups
- 8 Possible Complications of Hiccups
- 9 How to Prevent Hiccups
- 10 Tips, Tricks and Warnings
- 11 Comments
Causes of Hiccups
Experts have no clear evidence on what mechanisms cause hiccups, or why they happen. Most people experience hiccups without any known reason. In most cases, however, hiccups are attributed to the following circumstances and conditions:
- Sudden excitement
- Emotional stress
- Presence of gas in the stomach
- Swollen stomach due to overeating
- Consumption of carbonated drinks
- Swallowing air
- Irritated phrenic nerve due to eating hot food
- Drinking alcohol
- Excessive cigarette smoking
Hiccups may suddenly come and go, requiring no treatment. Because of its vagueness, there's no any established cure known to directly treat hiccups. While doctors may recommend certain medication after series of tests, some people rely on their own favorite method to remedy hiccups. Interestingly, most of the unusual ideas are based on the science of breathing. Thus if one method does not work, there are still more to try until the hiccups are gone. <b?the indefinite="" list="" can="" be="" divided="" into="" popular="" or="" folk="" remedies,="" natural="" alternative,="" and="" medical="" treatments.="" <="" b="">
Popular or Folk Remedies for Hiccups
Natural Home Remedies for Hiccups
Medical Assessments and Treatment for Persistent Hiccups
It is very rare for hiccups to last longer than a few minutes, or to recur in short bouts for more than 48 hours. If they persist, you need to see a doctor to examine you and do some tests to find out the underlying cause. Initial tests include
- Echocardiogram or electrocardiogram (ECG) to assess the function of the heart
- Chest X-ray for imaging of the diaphragm
- Blood chemistry tests to verify signs of diabetes and other diseases
- Liver function tests
- Endoscopy to investigate the esophagus, windpipe, and intestine
- Bronchoscopy to examine the lungs and airways
If an underlying cause is detected, the treatment for such is given, leading to the disappearance of hiccups. For example, a person with persistent hiccups may be suffering from acid reflux. Treating the reflux will eventually stop the hiccups.
Underlying Causes or Conditions for Persistent Hiccups
- 1Reaction of the body to certain medicines such as steroids, painkillers with opiates, and tranquilizers.
- 2Change in blood chemistry caused by factors such as high blood sugar, calcium deficiency in the blood, and presence of alcohol in the blood.
- 3Gut problems such as infection under the diaphragm or in the gallbladder.
- 4Side effect of general anaesthesia.
- 5Heart conditions such as inflammation around the heart area.
- 6Brain conditions such as infection or head injury.
- 7An occurrence during the last stages of a terminal illness.
When none of the popular and natural remedies succeed in treating hiccups, your doctor may prescribe the following drugs:
- Baclofen: a medicine for relaxing the muscles
- Gabapentin: a drug for treating epilepsy, and also used to treat neuropathic pain and hiccups
- Chlorpromazine or Haloperidol: both antipsychotic drugs can relax the diaphragm muscle or its nerve supply.
- Metoclopramide: a drug to treat nausea and help empty the stomach faster
- Ketamine: an intravenous anaesthetic which is an effective option when other treatments fail to cure hiccups
- Midazolam: a sedative given to terminally-ill patients to control and relieve the stress caused by hiccups
Alternative Treatments for Persistent Hiccups
Invasive Options to Treat Extreme Cases of Hiccups
Possible Complications of Hiccups
- Communication problems
- Weight loss
- Longer healing of post-surgical wounds
How to Prevent Hiccups
- 4Drink alcohol in moderation.
Tips, Tricks and Warnings
- Maintain an adequate supply of oxygen when trying popular remedies. Don't attempt to hold your breath for more than 10 seconds, nor breathe into a paper bag for longer than 30 seconds.
- When treating hiccups by drinking water, wait for a hiccup to pass first before taking a sip. It is possible to choke if you hiccup while swallowing water.
- See your doctor immediately if the hiccups occur frequently and last more than a few hours. There may be an underlying cause needing prompt treatment.