Hiccups refer to the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. Also known as singultus or synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, it may happen individually or in bouts. The rhythm or the time between hiccups is also relatively fixed. The following are some facts and remedies for hiccups.
Hiccups have several causes. According to Medicine Net, common causes of hiccups include eating too fast, eating or drinking too much, presence of disorders that irritate the nerves that control diaphragmatic movement, abdominal surgery, cerebrovascular accident or stroke, and presence of brain tumors.
As per Mayo Clinic, other triggers for hiccups that persist for less than 48 hours include drinking too much alcohol, sudden temperature changes, drinking carbonated beverages, eating too much, and swallowing air.
Hiccups present one sign and it is the characteristic sound, according to Mayo Clinic. As per the publication, the only symptom may be a mild tightening sensation in the throat, chest area, or abdomen, which comes before the sound.
While medical management with the physician can be done, home remedies can also be considered to manage hiccups.
Holding the Breath
One way to stop hiccups is by holding one’s breath. As per Medicine Net, this technique allows stimulation of the nasopharynx and the vagus nerve, which extends from the brain to the stomach. This way, hiccups will be reduced.
Swallowing Sweet or Sour
Consuming something sweet or something sour is another way to manage hiccups, according to Reader’s Digest. As per the publication, one can use a spoonful of sugar, since it could mildly irritate the esophagus, which causes the phrenic nerves to reset. While this seems to be effective, sufficient evidence is needed. A teaspoon of vinegar can be swallowed for the sour agent, since its sour taste is believed to stop hiccups, as per the publication.
Drinking Water Plugged Ears
According to Medical Daily, a person may also drink a glass of water with a straw while blocking both of his ears. As an option, he may ask a friend to plug his ears while he drinks. The publication explains that when a person hiccups, the phrenic or vagus nerves are either irritated or damaged; thus, stimulation is needed for them to function normally again. It is added that the vagus nerve branches connect into the auditory system, so putting the fingers in the ears can also stimulate the nerve endings and reset it.
A person may also perform a technique called Vasalva maneuver to relieve hiccups. According to Patient Info, it involves the person trying to push the breath out while he holds his throat and voice box closed. This is executed by inhaling deeply and then keeping the air inside the lungs while pushing the muscles to force the air out, as if he is straining on the toilet or pushing in during childbirth.
Peanut butter is considered a hiccup solution for children. According to Best Health Magazine, the process of chewing and getting the butter off the tongue and teeth changes the breathing patterns, which helps in relieving the hiccups.
It is vital to seek medical consult if the hiccups are associated with vomiting, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and fever.
Hiccups may not be as severe and life-threatening as asthma and tuberculosis. However, it may give discomfort to some people. Thus, knowledge of some facts and remedies for hiccups helps a person manage the condition.