How To Deal With Chronic Hiccups
There always seems to be confusion around the cause of chronic hiccups. While many people hear the term and assume that it means a case that lasts a few hours, there are actually episodes recorded lasting for 60 years.
What Is A Hiccup?
Aside from the fact that hiccups remain a mystery to medical professionals, they do know that they are a spasmodic, involuntary contraction. This contraction is derived at the diaphragm which is essentially the base of your lungs. It is then rapidly followed by a closure of your vocal chords.
Traditionally, hiccups will last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Episodes that last weeks, months or years that leave and continuously return are referred to as chronic hiccups.
What Causes Hiccups?
There is a long list of speculations of what experts believe could be the cause of hiccups however, chronic cases are still unclear. It is suggested that persistent hiccups are often an indication of some other medical issue that is present. Some examples include uremia, pneumonia, stomach or esophagus disorders, alcoholism, bowel diseases, bladder irritation, pregnancy, pancreatitis, hepatitis, liver cancer, lesions, tumors and surgery.
Getting Rid Of Hiccups
Quite often, if you leave hiccups alone, they will go away at least temporarily by themselves. Chronic hiccups may require a visit the doctor and hypnosis, acupuncture or other alternative therapies may need to be explored. Below are the remedies you can try yourself before pursuing a more extreme option.
- Burp – While burping is often frowned upon, sometimes it is the only way to deal with hiccups. Experts suggest that in some people, hiccups can be the result of swallowing too much air. Therefore, if you have a recurring case of them perhaps when you eat, drink or speak, you are ingesting too much air which a good burp can remedy.
- Get Surprised – Many people insist that if you have someone surprise or frighten you, the hiccups are somehow scared away. It's worth a try anyway! If anything, you will at least get a good laugh out of it.
- Hold Your Breath – This is one of the most common cures because it is highly effective. All you do is hold your breath for as long as you can until the hiccups go away. You may have to do this more than once for it to work but if you have chronic hiccups, it's an easy remedy to relieve your symptoms at least for a little while.
- Cotton Swab – Doctors often recommend massaging the back, upper area in your mouth with the end of a cotton swab. It subdues diaphragm spasms by stimulating the vagus nerve. Alternatively, you can pull on your tongue. It may seem awkward but it actually works.
- Cold Water – Down the hatch! Drink a full glass of cold water as quickly as you can. Swallowing stimulates your vagus nerve and the water increases the levels of carbon dioxide in your blood. Alternatively you can gargle with ice water. One way or another, at least you get hydrated!
- Sugar – In 1971, The Journal of Medicine in New England reported that eating a spoonful of sugar will get rid of hiccups. Simply place it on the back area of your tongue and enjoy! Honey and peanut butter have also been proven effective. However, if you have chronic hiccups, this really is a lot of additional calories to continuously consume.
- Paper Bag – Breath in and out into a paper bag for one to two minutes. It disrupts your breathing pattern and alters your carbon dioxide/oxygen ratio in your blood. This results in calmed muscle spasms.