Posted on 15 Comments

Hiccups —A few ways to manage it.

Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash

Hiccups —They often appear out of the blue and are transient in nature — yet sometimes they decide to stay past their welcome.Now we are tasked with evicting an unwelcome guest!

A hiccup is a powerful and involuntary spasm of the muscle at the base of the lungs known as your diaphragm, this is then followed by the rapid closure of your vocal cords.

Hiccups may last for a few hours, occasionally a day or two, and pose no more issue than being a nuisance. Hiccups That continuously occurs for more than two days and less than a month are known as persistent hiccups.

On rare occasions, hiccups persist even longer than a month or recur frequently over an extended period of time, these are known as intractable hiccups.

Why do we get the hiccups?

The etiology and pathophysiology of hiccups remain fluid and elusive. The National Institute of Health (NCBI) states that hiccups are caused by; gastric distention, spicy foods, and neural dysfunction that often resolve themselves without any treatment. Also implicated are chewing gum, smoking, alcohol, ingesting very hot substances soon after ingesting very cold, medications, and many other disease processes. Hiccups associated with certain diseases or those that occur as a consequence of surgery, or, are life-restricting should be treated.

 

The cause of hiccups should be quickly determined so the appropriate treatment can be administered.

The best treatment for persistent or intractable hiccups should be directed toward the specific known cause. If the hiccup is due to an infection, that can be treated, if due to brainstem lesions, or biochemical abnormalities they may all respond to treatment. Problems with inhalation and exhalation and the phrenic and vagus nerves may be implicated intractable hiccups.

Interesting fact: males are affected with issues of chronic hiccups than females.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

How is a diagnosis made?

Hiccups are usually diagnosed based on your verbal account of their presence, chest X-rays, electrocardiogram (EKG), lab tests, and radiology tests.

Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash

Some treatments are:

  1. Holding your breath
  2. Being purposely frightened
  3. Drinking a glass of water continuously without pausing to breathe
  4. Inhaling pepper to induce sneezing
  5. Eating a lemon
  6. Breathing into a paper bag
  7. Splashing your face with cold water
  8. Peppermint (relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter)
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Medical management:

  1. Anti-inflammatories
  2. Anti-psychotics
  3. Proton-pump inhibitors
  4. Steroids (in some instances only)
  5. Radiation (in the case of tumors for e.g.)

What can I do to prevent future attacks?

There is not much you can do to prevent suffering from hiccups in the future. If you are on a medical management program, continue management under the guidance of your care provider. For transient attacks of hiccups, try the home/anecdotal remedies listed above.

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Conclusion:

Everyone gets hiccups sometimes. They annoy us briefly and pass quickly. When they persist they severely pose an issue to our activities of daily living impacting our lives negatively. Chronic hiccups can leave us; fatigued, with sleep disorders, dehydration, and depressed. Post-surgically, hiccuping can lead to poor wound healing due to constant pressure on the surgical site.

Often, persistent/intractable hiccups have no known etiology, therefore medical management is on a trial basis of wait and see. If they are persistent and bothersome, many medications as well as anecdotal options may provide relief or at best a respite.

References:

  1. https://www.nlm.nih.gov
  2. https://rarediseases.org
  3. https://www.nlm.nih.gov

Be Safe!

15 thoughts on “Hiccups —A few ways to manage it.

  1. Pene, I thoruoghly enjoyed reading your article. This is a topic that seems not to be addressed very often, but most of us have suffered from it. I hope you are feeling better. Have a great day! Cheryl

    1. Thank you for your input. My husband has had it for a while, so that prompted me to go searching for answers.
      I am much much better… still get tired easily and a few bits, but I am grateful.
      I appreciate you. Have a great and blessed day.

  2. Quite informative! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Goodbye
    to hiccups
    you do offer
    I see…

    1. I love the poem.

  4. A few years ago I read that eating a little peanut butter can help hiccups. Both my daughter and I have tried it, and it works for us.

    Glad you’re doing better. Hoping and praying for your full recovery.

    1. Good for you both I read that too. Never actually tried it. Mune never lasts long enough to be a bother.

  5. Great information and solutions, thanks! 👍

  6. Neat!

  7. Thank you for sharing this sis. 🤗
    I often engage in 1 and 3. The 1 works better for a lot. 😊

  8. Interesting blog post, Pene. I can’t imagine having hiccups for a month or more. Also, I hope you’re feeling better.

    1. The post was inspired because my husband had a bout of chronic hiccups so i decided to write this one.
      Thank you for checking, I actually returned to work today, the headaches remain, so I continue to believe God for complete healing.

  9. Very informative post. I will try some of these treatments that you have.
    I have nominated you for the Author’s recognition Award. The link is below.
    https://becomingtheoilandwine.com/2020/08/01/the-authors-recognition-award/

    1. Thank you, I appreciate the honor and I will be honored to participate.

      1. You are welcome. I am looking forward to your response.

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