What Causes Hiccups?

Hiccups are spontaneous contractions of the diaphragm which usually cause due to drinking carbonated beverages, excessive consumption of alcohol, and emotional stress.

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Overview of Hiccups:

Hiccups are uncontrolled contractions of the diaphragm which is the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen and has an important role in breathing.

Hiccups are usually caused due to the large meal, carbonated beverages, alcoholic or sudden excitement.

In some cases, hiccups cause some leading medical condition.

Symptoms of Hiccups:

Hiccupping is a symptom which is accompanied by a small tightening sensation in chest, throat or abdomen.

Causes of Hiccups:

There are several common causes for hiccups that last less than 48 hours including;

  • Drinking excess alcohol
  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Overeating
  • Emotional stress or excitement
  • Sudden temperature changes
  • Swallowing air by sucking on candy or chewing gum.

Hiccups which last more than 48 hours may be caused due to the variety of factors including;

  • Nerve damage or irritation- It can be due to hair or something else in ear touching the eardrum, cyst or goiter in the neck, and gastroesophageal reflux.
  • Metabolic disorders and drugs- It may be due to multiple sclerosis, encephalitis, stroke, and tumors.
  • Central nervous system disorders- It may be due to anesthesia, alcoholism, diabetes, and kidney disease.

Risk Factors Associated With Hiccups:

There are several factors that are associated that enhance hiccups including;

Mental or emotional issues- Anxiety, excitement, and stress have been associated with some cases of short- and long-term hiccups.

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Surgery- Some people develop hiccups after procedures that involve abdominal organs or after undergoing general anesthesia.

Other Complications Associated With Hiccups:

Hiccups may interfere with;

  • Eating
  • Speech
  • Sleeping
  • Wound healing after surgery

Treatments for Hiccups:

Hiccups have no medical treatment and will go away after a few hours like 40-48 hours or a couple of days at the most.

Tips for getting rid of hiccups

According to Great Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), the following steps have been known to treat some patients with hiccups:

  • Sipping ice-cold water slowly.
  • Holding breath for a short time, breath out, then doing it again for more three or four times every day.
  • While swallowing, place gentle pressure on your nose.
  • Place gentle pressure on the diaphragm.
  • Gargle with very cold water.
  • The bite of a lemon.
  • Have a tiny bit of vinegar.
  • Breathe into a paper bag.
  • Lean forward so that the position provides gently compress the chest.

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