Almost all humans can experience having hiccups. Hence, it is not a rare condition. It can go away after a few minutes, hours, or days. Still, they can bring discomfort in breathing and our routine. However, it may imply an underlying health condition.
1. What Happens Inside
The muscular spasm that occurs when a person inhales is the cause of hiccups. However, some call it hiccoughs. The Latin term for hiccups is Singultus. Also, the root word is “Singult,”which means – to catch one’s breath while sobbing.
As we breathe in, we use the muscles between the ribs and the diaphragm. Also, the diaphragm pulls down to get air into the lungs. As we exhale, it pushes up to get rid of the air.
Moreover, a person who hiccups experiences a diaphragm that contracts and pulls. As a result, the air enters in-between breaths. Afterward, the windpipe closes for a while to stop more air from going into the lungs. In return, it produces a “hic” sound.
Certain activities or situations make a person hiccup. Examples include:
- Eating or drinking too much
- Eating or drinking too fast
- Gulping soda
- Acid reflux
- Smoking often
- Swallowing air
This trigger may also happen if a person hyperventilates. Therefore, a fast breathing will pave the way for more air to come in.
- Eating hot food right after eating something cold (vice versa)
- Emotional shock
- Getting excited
- Sudden change in temperature
- Overstretching of the neck which may happen when shaving
- Taking medications like chemotherapy drugs and for anxiety
It is not only adults who can experience this condition. Also, there is a newborn hiccup due to overfeeding and eating fast.
3. Hiccup as a Symptom
Certain health conditions include hiccups as its symptom. Conditions may be:
- Brain diseases
- Gastroesophageal disease
- Hair in the throat
- Heart attack
Long-term hiccups may result in fatigue, weight loss, nausea, and loss of sleep. Likewise, it may lead to embarrassment or anxiety.
4. Home Remedies
Furthermore, there are ways to stop short term hiccups. Hence, the common remedy is to hold the breath for about 10 seconds. Afterward, let out a slow breath. Repeat this process for 3 to 4 rounds. Other remedies to try are:
- Pulling your knees to your chest and lean in.
- Breath in and out using a paper bag
Doing this practice will relax the diaphragm. Also, do not cover your head with the paper bag.
- Few sips of ice-cold water
- Lemon and vinegar
- Swallowing little amount of granulated sugar
- Drinking water
- Putting cold compress to the face
- To experience a surprise or sudden fright
These remedies are useful for others. For some people, it won’t work. Still, do not doubt to try these safe home remedies.
Moreover, for newborn hiccups, some strategies may prevent it. If the baby gets hungry, feed him or her to calm. Also, give it little by little. If the baby is bottle-fed, position the bottle where the baby will not inhale too much air. Therefore, for breastfeeding, see to it that there is no mouth space for the baby to breathe in air. Hence, after feeding, make sure that the baby sits upright for 30 min.
5. False Remedies
Some people may tell you of certain “hiccup practices” that do not work. Such practices are:
- Chewing gum
- Drinking an alcoholic, hot, or carbonated drink
- Eating spicy food
- Eating too fast
- Pulling the tongue
- Sipping water upside down
Such practices will not stop hiccups. Also, it may even make it worse.
6. Persistent Hiccups
There are hiccups for 48 hours or more. Also, doctors call this condition the “intractable” hiccups. It may be due to:
- Brain or spinal cord problems
- Diaphragm or chest wall structure
- High blood calcium levels and other blood composition
- Stomach pressing on the diaphragm
7. Treatment for Intractable Hiccups
Doctors will track the causes of your hiccups. Therefore, they will prescribe medications that will calm the muscles for breathing. In addition, to treat the symptoms, they may give you medicines to get rid of it.
Some drugs help in soothing hiccups. For instance, the chlorpromazine drug, which is effective in 80% of cases. In rare conditions, doctors may suggest surgery. Likewise, hiccups are often not escapable. However, you may lessen the chances by avoiding the causes of hiccups.