Hiccups are a common occurrence. They are experienced by almost everyone including babies and elders. Although severe hiccups are more common in males than females, it is important that everyone knows about hiccups in detail, especially the severe types which require immediate medical attention.
What Do Hiccups Mean?
What Are Hiccups?
How Long Do Hiccups Last?
What Causes Hiccups?
How Do I Stop Hiccups? How Are They Treated?
Also called hiccough, a hiccup is an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm caused by a spasm. The diaphragm is the large muscle sheet that serves as a division between the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity. The contraction of the diaphragm along with the closure of the glottis and contraction of the larynx cause interruption of air inflow. These cause the sound and movement of hiccup.
According to severity, hiccups can be mild, persistent or intractable.
Hiccups can go away after a few minutes to a few hours without any treatment. These are mild cases of hiccups.
Some hiccups can last longer than two days and those are called persistent hiccups.
Even more serious than persistent hiccups are the intractable hiccups which can last longer than a month. These are rare but can take a toll on a person’s life, affecting his/her sleep quality and causing exhaustion and weight loss.
• Primary Cause: Full Stomach
The primary cause of hiccup is a full stomach, which can be brought about by:
- swallowing too much air
- eating food too quickly
- excessive intake of food
- drinking too much alcohol
- drinking carbonated beverages
• Other Causes
- It can also be due to sudden change in the temperature of the stomach like when you drink a hot beverage then a cold drink right after.
- Another possible cause is emotional stress or excitement.
• Underlying Causes For Severe Cases
Persistent and intractable hiccups may be a sign of an underlying disease. These must be checked by a doctor. Possible causes include:
- mental health problems
- decreased kidney function
- irritation of the nerves in the chest, neck or head
How Do I Stop Hiccups? How Are They Treated?
Mild hiccups can be relieved using home remedies that involve increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the blood such as:
- drinking water
- holding your breath for 10 seconds
- eating a teaspoon of honey or sugar
- breathing into a paper bag for a few seconds
There is no home remedy for the serious cases of hiccups; it is imperative to consult a doctor right away to have the underlying disease managed or treated.
Everyone experiences hiccups, gas or bloating once in a while. Unlike other health problems, these ones don’t require much attention as they tend to go away on their own. However, they can be very annoying especially if they catch you in an inconvenient timing or inappropriate place. To minimize such thing happens, you can make use these quick remedies.
Hiccups occur when there is a spasm contraction in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a large muscle sheet that serves as a division between the chest cavity and abdominal cavity. The spasm causes breath intake that is abruptly halted when the vocal cords close. This closure is what causes the hiccup sound. When you have a full stomach either from eating or drinking too much, you’re more prone to have hiccups. Other causes include drinking too much alcohol, smoking, swallowing too much air, sudden change in stomach temperature, emotional stress and excitement, and many others.
Some of the proven remedies include:
• Swallow one teaspoon of honey or dry granulate sugar. This remedy is tried and tested to be effective. However, you cannot use this if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
• Hold your breath for 10 seconds before exhaling.
• Breathe slowly into a paper bag for 20 to 30 seconds.
• Gulp down quickly a glass of cold water.
If your hiccups last longer such as for more than 48 hours, visit your doctor for a medical checkup. This can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. You should also seek medical attention if the hiccups are accompanied by other symptoms like heartburn, vomiting, constipation, and abdominal pain.
Gas and bloating are normal conditions that don’t usually need any treatment. Bloating is that uncomfortable feeling of fullness that you have in the abdomen from time to time. Releasing gas six to 20 times a day is actually normal. It doesn’t automatically mean that you have any serious condition. Common causes for both include too much swallowed air, some foods and beverages, constipation, some medications and nutritional supplements, medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, and change in hormonal levels.
Quick remedies for these are usually more of preventive measures to avoid worsening of the symptoms.
• Drink plenty of water. Don’t drink carbonated beverages or alcoholic drinks.
• Stay away from gas-producing foods such as bran, cabbage, broccoli and beans.
• Avoid swallowing air. One way to do this is not to rush through your meals. Doing that makes you swallow more air. Chew the food thoroughly before swallowing.
• Don’t use a straw for drinking.
• Avoid chewing gums.
• Stop smoking.
• Make sure your dentures are fitted properly by your dentist.
• Relax. Tension and stress cause you to swallow air and get even more bloated.
• Take antacids such as Di-Gel, Maalox Anti-Gas, and Mylanta Gas. These let the gas be released more easily.
It’s annoying and embarrassing to be bloated, hiccupping or releasing gas all the time. This is why, while these conditions don’t usually require medical attention, it’s a good idea to seek for quick remedies that work.