A hiccup, medically known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, is an automatic action which the body can’t control.
It can happen when your diaphragm (a muscle that helps you breathe) contracts involuntarily.
Common symptoms can include:
- the closing epiglottis makes a ”hic” sound;
- air is involuntarily sucked into the throat;
- a spasm or sharp contraction of the diaphragm which is felt just below the breastbone.
When to Call the Doctor
Hiccups are rarely a cause for concern (they usually stop after a few minutes), however, if hiccups become chronic, frequent, and persistent (lasting over 3 hours), if they interfere with eating, affect sleeping patterns, cause vomiting or reflux of food, occur with fever, severe abdominal pain, spitting up blood, shortness of breath, or feeling as if the throat is going to close up, see a healthcare provider.
Males are much more likely to develop long-term hiccups than females.
Prolonged hiccups may interfere with:
- wound healing after surgery;
Hiccups result from numerous conditions that disinhibit or stimulate the limbs of its reflex arc or which act on the supraspinal hiccup center.
Possible causes include:
- stress, excitement, or other heightened emotion (such as a public speech);
- smoking cigarettes;
- sudden changes in temperature (a cold shower, very hot or cold drinks or food, etc)
- a stomach full of too much alcohol, fizzy drinks, food, or air.
If a bout lasts longer than two days, this is considered persistent, and the sufferer should see a healthcare provider. There are several medical conditions which have been linked to chronic hiccups, such as:
- conditions of the autonomic nervous system (a control system which acts largely unconsciously), that also affects heartbeat, sweating, breathing, and coughing;
- cancer, either as a side effect of treatment (like – chemotherapy) or as a result of damage caused by the condition;
- kidney and liver problems;
- conditions which affect metabolism, including hypoglycemia (when blood sugar decreases to below normal levels), hyperglycemia, or diabetes;
- psychological reactions, including excitement, grief, emotional stress, anxiety, or shock, hysterical behavior;
- conditions which irritate the vagus nerve (the longest of the 12 cranial nerves), like – pharyngitis, meningitis (an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord), or goiter;
- conditions which affect the central nervous system, including encephalitis (an acute inflammation of the brain), a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or a brain tumor;
- habitual and excessive intake of alcohol;
- respiratory conditions, like – pneumonia, pleurisy of the diaphragm (inflammation of the pleural covering of the diaphragm), or asthma;
- gastrointestinal conditions, such as – a small bowel obstruction, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Risk factors that may increase your risk of hiccups include:
- surgery – some individuals develop hiccups after medical procedures which involve abdominal organs or after undergoing general anesthesia;
- emotional problems – stress, anxiety, and excitement have been linked with some cases of hiccups.
The treatment for hiccups depends on the underlying cause. It may include:
- for individuals with a terminal illness, sedatives like – midazolam (marketed under the trade name Versed) can help reduce the stress levels and to control hiccups;
- injecting the phrenic nerve (a nerve which originates in the neck) with anesthetic;
- taking a medication called metoclopramide by IV;
- medications like – haloperidol (Haldol), chlorpromazine (an antipsychotic medication), and metoclopramide (Reglan);
- taking Ketamine (an intravenous anesthetic);
- electrically stimulating the vagus nerve with the help of an implanted device;
- gabapentin – it is a prescription-only medicine which can help to relax the nerve supply to the muscle under the lungs;
- having surgery;
- taking baclofen – a medicine which acts on the spinal cord nerves and helps to relax muscles;
- taking anti-acid medicines, like – ranitidine or omeprazole (sold under the brand names Losec and Prilosec).
Here Is A List Of 7 Essential Oils For Hiccups:
Due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties that relax the diaphragm muscle, ginger essential oil is an excellent natural remedy for hiccups.
Clary sage essential oil has a powerful effect on the hormonal system, which would be highly effective for people who have persistent hiccups.
According to a study that was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, individuals who inhaled 3 to 6 drops of lemongrass essential oil showed a reduction in their tension and anxiety levels immediately, therefore, reducing or stopping hiccups.
Lemon essential oil stimulates the nerves which are causing the spasm. Also, it helps to saturate the digestive tract and the mouth.
If your hiccups don’t stop after a certain period of time, take 1 tsp of castor oil and 1 tsp of honey, dip your finger in the paste and lick your finger. Do this procedure three times.
This essential oil can be used to get rid of hiccups since it stimulates belching by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter (a bundle of muscles at the low end of the esophagus).
#1 Valsalva Maneuver
It is a breathing technique during which you try to exhale while pinching the nose and keeping the mouth closed.
#2 Breath In A Paper Bag
Breathing in a paper bag will increase your CO2 (carbon dioxide) in your bloodstream and cause the body to lose the hiccup since it has to focus on preventing CO2 from accumulating.
Put 1 tsp of sugar stirred in warm water, on the back of the tongue, and swallow it.
Rinsing the mouth or drinking water (drink slowly and continuously) can cause interruption of the hiccups triggers.
#5 Hold Your Breath
Inhale a large gulp of air and hold it for about fifteen seconds, then breathe out slowly.
Avoiding these triggers can substantially reduce the risk of hiccups occurring. Common triggers include:
- swallowing air while chewing gum;
- drinking or eating too quickly;
- extreme emotions;
- drinking alcoholic beverages;
- a sudden change of temperature in the stomach caused by drinking or eating;
- smoking cigarettes;
- eating spicy foods.