Hiccups are quick, constant, and automatic movements of the muscles in the diaphragm. The cause is a series of nerve irritations. There are a lot of reasons why we hiccup. Some of these cause are, eating quickly and wrong inhaling movement, or moving your jaw in constant motion. Or it may be signs of dangerous underlying health conditions.
In addition to that, it might be signed to weight conditions like immersing yourself in some medications. Babies commonly have this because they are not yet used to the normal way of breathing. Hiccups for babies may also be rampant since they have no fully developed breathing pattern yet.
What Cause Hiccups?
Hiccups happen normally. Under many circumstances, it is quite safe and not a thing to be worried about. However, if the hiccups are in this type of condition you should immediately see a doctor:
- Frequent, chronic, persistent (lasting for hours)
- If they are already affecting your sleep
- Interfering with your diet
- Causing certain reflux of food
- Severe abdominal pain
- High fever
- Shortness of breath
- Spitting up blood
- As if your voice box is closing in
There are many ways of treating this condition. Most of these ways can be done in the comforts of your home. Some of these remedies include not breathing in seconds, intake of water quickly, the act of surprising you, and so on and so forth.
Severe hiccups are not treatable at home and should be under a hospital’s treatment. These treatments are usually in the form of prescribed medications, anesthesia. The last resort for treatment is an operation that involves disabling your phrenic nerve.
Most hiccups go away on their own with no lasting effects. However, there are moments in which hiccups last longer than it should be and may cause embarrassment, and stress.
Symptoms of Hiccups
Symptoms may include brief spasms of the diaphragm muscles that can last up in minutes. They are quite irritable when the hiccups take much longer to subdue. If it is longer than 3 hours or up until an hour, your hiccup might mean an underlying medical problem.
Home Remedies for Hiccups
Many at-home remedies for hiccups are laid out there. Most of it is pretty easy like not inhaling in seconds or a chug of a glass of water. Some medical treatments might include building up carbon dioxide in your blood.
Techniques at home to treat your it:
- Temporarily not inhale for half a minute or as long as you can;
- Drink a clear glass of water;
- Have someone surprise you to elicit a suddenly surprised reaction from you;
- Pulling your tongue or have a person pull them;
- Put a pinch of dry brown sugar at the back of the tongue. Let it melt there. Then repeat this 4 times every 2-minute interval. Use other non-sugary syrup for children instead of the usual sugar;
- Stick your clean finger in your ear;
- Tickle your palate with a clean cotton bud;
- Swallow a teaspoon of pure honey (this will distract a person for the moment and might trick their diaphragm muscle to relax).
Some of these practices might not be good for young children, the elderly, or any other person with a condition that are not fitting to do the exercises. For example, for infants, you cannot let them to any method pertaining to sugar. However, you can replace sugar with corn syrup for infants. You can not also expect the elderly with a swallowing problem, to hold their breath as long as they can. If you are that extra, you can call and ask your doctor about more methods that you can practice to get rid of it. Usually, treatments for hiccups will depend on how severe your hiccup is. For common hiccups, you can leave them alone on their own. It will go away any minute from now.
When to See Doctor
These are the common trends in treating hiccups but do not try them all. If any of these is not working for you and it is becoming unbearable for you, try to go and see a doctor. These methods should only be done if you are comfortable with it, otherwise, do not do it at all.
For more moderate symptoms of hiccups that may last for more than 3 days, you better have it checked with your doctor. He might recommend a prescription for you. These medicines are typically chlorpromazine (Thorazine). This medication is usually the initial medication your doctor will recommend to you.
For more intense cases, in which your hiccups refuse to go away, your doctor might suggest anesthesia. The other method is surgery to the vagus nerve. Sometimes, the last resort like surgery is needed. This surgery is employed to disable the phrenic nerve (the nerve that controls the diaphragm).
How are Hiccups Diagnosed
The diagnosis for hiccups is more of physical evaluation. Meaning, laboratory testings are quite unnecessary except if the symptoms of hiccups get worse and last for a long period of time. Laboratory tests are done if the doctor suspects an underlying medical condition in you. The tests depend on each person depending on the condition and what is recommended by your doctor.
Doctor Who Can Help with Hiccups
If hiccups take much longer than usual and are becoming unbearable, you might want to admit yourself into a hospital and checked upon by a family doctor or any other doctor for that matter. For children, they may consult their pediatrician. Other specialists for hiccups are a digestive tract medical specialist) a neurologist (nervous system specialist), a pulmonologist (lung specialist), a psychologist (cognitive and behavioral psychology) and many more.