Hiccups can often crop up when you least expect them. Continuous hiccups can turn out to be annoying and drive the sufferer to try out various recommended methods to get rid of them. Hiccups occur when our diaphragm contracts and in turn, closes our vocal cords or larynx, leading to the hiccup noise. Hiccups can be caused due to various reasons, ranging from overeating or drinking aerated drinks to serious health issues. Medically known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter or singultus, they are rhythmic and occur individually or in bouts.
The three most common types of hiccups:
1. Acute hiccups: It lasts less than 48 hours 2. Persistent hiccups: It continues for more than two days 3. Intractable hiccups: It persists for longer than one month
Signs & symptoms of hiccups include:
– Slight tightening sensation in your chest, abdomen or throat – Aerophagia i.e. swallowing too much air – Excessive consumption of alcohol – Emotional stress or sudden excitement
How can you avoid hiccups?
– Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle. Prolonged hiccups can disturb your sleeping and eating patterns which leads to dehydration and weight loss – Avoiding sudden changes in temperature – Gargle with very cold water – Eating moderately and not too quickly
What causes hiccups?
– Drinking carbonated beverages – Drinking too much alcohol – Diseases of the oesophagus or intestines – Drinking carbonated beverages, such as sodas – Diseases that irritate the nerves that control the diaphragm can also cause hiccups reflex – Gas in the stomach that presses against the diaphragm
Natural home remedies for hiccups:
– Drinking a glass of water – small gulps in quick succession – quickly as it helps in stopping the irritation caused in the diaphragm – Swallowing a spoonful of sugar is probably the most commonly prescribed hiccup cure because it stimulates the vagus nerve and makes the body forget all about the hiccups – Lemon juice is acidic and it may facilitate neutralise the acid in your abdomen – Put a drop of vinegar on your tongue because its sour taste could stop a hiccup in its tracks – Breathe in a slow and controlled manner and repeat three or four times – Holding your breath can have a direct inhibitory effect on diaphragmatic contractility – Compress your chest by leaning forward as you exhale – Breathing and posture techniques such as holding breath, measured breathing, and compress your chest
There is no true cure for hiccups, but there are several natural home remedies that actually work. Prolonged hiccups can lead to complications such as fatigue, dehydration, weight loss, insomnia, oesophageal reflux, and depression. Hiccups are treated medically only in severe conditions. Preventative measures and a healthy diet plan can easily reduce the risk of hiccups. If hiccups are associated with warning signs such as shortness of breath, vomiting, coughing up blood, fever and abdominal pain then consult a doctor immediately.