On Treating Frequent Hiccups
Although most of us might get a bout of hiccups every so often, frequent hiccups are far more unusual and can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition. Before we begin however, we should get on the same page about what we mean by “frequent hiccups.” Generally, people don’t get a case of hiccups more than once year and many people go through much of their adult lives without having even a single bout. If, however, you are getting hiccups more than about once a month, we might consider this a significant problem. You might also consider how long your bouts last. If your hiccups last for more than a few minutes or seem to be lasting longer and longer, you might want to try to get down to the cause of the problem.
One of the most common causes of hiccups generally and frequent hiccups specifically are improper eating practices. People who eat very quickly, for example, will tend to swallow larger amounts of air and thus create the perfect condition for hiccups. The reason this condition occurs under these circumstances is that poorly chewed food has a greater chance of trapping pockets of food.
Similarly, gorging can also create the conditions for hiccups. Excessive eating can also trap air in the esophagus, thus leading to greater chances of hiccups.
Some people simply increase their chances of getting hiccups due to the manner in which they breathe. Often the reason for this kind of improper breathing has to due with other factors. An obese person or someone who is out of shape may find himself or herself gulping for air after a short climb of the stairs. This may thus cause that person to get more frequent bouts of hiccups—not to mention other problems associated with obesity or poor overall health.
Types of Foods and Drinks
There are also certain types of foods and drinks that can increase the chances of hiccups in some people. The classic examples of these are alcoholic beverages or carbonated sodas. Both are likely to increase the chances of frequent hiccups because they both act as irritants. If you are a frequent drinker of either and have a sensitivity to this condition, you are more likely to get hiccups—especially during meals. Spicy foods have also been known to cause such discomfort.
Sometimes it is not so much the actual content of food or drinks but the temperature at which you consume them. Just as the collision of hot and cold air in the sky can cause atmospheric disturbances, so can sudden temperature changes cause irritation in your digestive system. Thus, if you chase a hot meal down with a cold beverage and find that you get hiccups soon afterwards, this may be a sign that this is the cause.
Sometimes the cause of such bodily discomfort has more to do with the mind than any other kind of physical catalyst. If you have a great deal of stress in your life—such as those going through a divorce or looking for a job—your stress level may cause both a tightening of your muscles and an increase in irritating intestinal acids. Along with gas, changes in appetite, exhaustion and headaches, these bodily discomforts can also manifest as frequent hiccups.
More Serious Underlying Causes
Although most problems that cause hiccups are mild and can easily address them through simple changes in lifestyle, frequent hiccups may also result from a change in chemical levels in the body brought on by a more serious underlying condition such as diabetes. For this reason, the safest response to changes like this is to get them checked out with a doctor. You should especially seek a physician’s advice if your hiccup condition accompanies other symptoms, such as sudden weight loss or tiredness.