If you can’t stop going Hic or that irritating hiccough just won’t stop, then you have landed on the right page! Most people find hiccoughs irritating at best. However, some forms of hiccoughs can last much longer and are indeed more severe.
So want to know how you can get rid of those pestering hiccoughs the easiest possible way? Give this post a thorough read!
Hiccups – What and How:
Hiccough or Hiccups is a temporary condition caused during eating or drinking. Hiccups usually occur when involuntary spasms contract the muscle (the diaphragm) that holds the lungs in place (1). The spasm results in a sharp intake of breath, which is stopped by the instantaneous closing of the glottis (vocal cord). This entire process causes the hiccough, and the sound created by the process is what gives the hiccough its signature sound (2).
Hiccups are a reaction to common digestive disorders or disturbances. When the digestive muscle experiences convulsions, it pulls on the stomach causing it to draw in air. As air is a foreign entity in the stomach, the body responds to this condition by closing the glottis, cover of the air tract, causing the characteristic ‘hic’ sound.
Causes Of Hiccups:
Hiccoughs can be caused by many reasons. Here we list some commonly known ones:
1. Eating Too Fast:
If you tend to gobble your food and don’t have the time to chew, you can easily swallow air with your food, which results in hiccoughs.
Overeating can increase your chances of contracting hiccups. Foods laced with fat, aerated drinks, sugar-laced drinks and even excess alcohol can trigger hiccoughs.
3. Reflex Action:
In some cases, the stomach is stretched. When you gobble too much food and air you tend to hiccough. This hiccough sometimes occurs as a reflex action to prevent choking.
4. Medical Disorders:
In many cases medical conditions like renal failure, encephalitis , brain trauma, stroke and brain tumor can lead to hiccoughs (3).
5. Nerve Damage:
Sometimes, damage to the phrenic or vagus nerve can lead to an especially long bout of hiccoughs.
6. Acid Reflux:
Acid reflux is one of the major causes of hiccoughs. Many medications that contain chemicals like Xanax, Valium and Ativan have been known to cause hiccoughs. Other medications that can lead to hiccoughs include levodopa, ondansetron and nicotine (4), (5), (6).
7. Toxic Fumes:
Toxic fumes and poisonous gases can also lead to hiccoughs.
8. GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux):
This is usually most common in infants who are under one year old. Babies who suffer from excessive GERD can suffer from hiccoughs.
Sometimes, Hiccoughs can also occur due to stress. Anxiety has been known to cause temporary hiccoughs, and in some cases hiccoughs were found to last much longer than usual.
Hiccoughs which continue for more than 48 hours are known as persistent hiccoughs. Sometimes, they can last up to a month; they are usually called intractable hiccoughs. Both kinds of hiccoughs present various associated health risks and should be examined by a doctor immediately.
Causes Of Persistent Or Intractable Hiccoughs:
1. Nervous System Disorders:
Sometimes, nervous system problems like cancer, stroke, injuries and other infections can lead to hiccoughs (7).
2. Metabolic Problems:
For those of you who suffer from low or high metabolic activity, hiccoughs can be a reasonably common occurrence. Other chemical problems like hyperventilation or reduced kidney functioning can lead to hiccoughs.
3. Mental Health Problems:
Hiccoughs can also occur in people who face persistent mental health issues like personality disorders, autism and in some cases even depression and anxiety.
Hiccups Remedies that Work:
If you find yourself hiccupping continuously, gulp down a tablespoon full of honey to ease the sensation. The swallowing action, coupled with the warmth of honey, will relieve you of the hiccups.
[ Read: Nutritional Facts Of Honey ]
Add a tablespoon of salt to a cup of yogurt and mix thoroughly to make a homogeneous mixture. Eat the yogurt slowly. Just a few spoons of this mixture – that’s all you need for instant relief from those spontaneous jerks.
[ WATCH VIDEO: How Yogurt Helps Hiccups ]
Cold water is believed to shock the digestive tract and cure hiccups immediately. Add a few cubes of ice to a glass of water and drink. An alternate solution is to wrap a few cubes of ice in a clean, thin cloth and apply it to the back of the neck. You might find yourself gasping, but this is nothing to be alarmed about. Take deep breaths to regain your normal breathing cycle. The hiccups will be gone in a jiffy!
Sugar is one of the oldest remedies for hiccups. Eat a teaspoon of sugar when you are hiccupping. Hold the sugar in your mouth for about thirty seconds while it dissolves, then chew, and swallow slowly. This leads to excess sweetness in the mouth that is believed to be a good cure for hiccups.
5. Cardamom Powder:
Powdered cardamom is known to offer relief from hiccups almost instantly. Boil 1 tsp of freshly ground cardamom powder in one and a half cups of water over low heat. Allow the liquid to cool and strain. Drink the resulting filtrate. Cardamom powder helps to relax the muscles of the diaphragm. One of the best ways to cure hiccups, this remedy works by flushing out excess alcohol from the system, relaxing the diaphragm muscles further.
[ Read: Health Benefits of Cardamom ]
While it is unclear how lemons work to cure hiccups, the widespread belief is that the sour taste of this fruit helps to saturate the mouth and the digestive tract. It stimulates the nerves with a sharp taste that helps to control the hiccups.
A simple yet highly effective home remedy for hiccups is by drinking a glass of water, slowly. The swallowing mechanism relaxes the muscles of the diaphragm and helps to relieve hiccups. Gulp down three to four glasses of cool water for a severe case of hiccups. This should help to lengthen the gap between each hiccup and eventually relieve you of the condition.
Ginger is a good
[ Read: Benefits Of Ginger For Health ]
An unconventional remedy, asafoetida is a powerful agent that relaxes the muscles of the diaphragm. Mix a teaspoon of asafoetida powder in a tablespoon of clarified butter and swallow. It is extremely potent and works really fast to provide rapid relief from hiccups.
10. Chamomile Tea:
Brew and drink chamomile tea as a remedy for hiccups. Chamomile is a natural muscle relaxant that soothes the muscles in the diaphragm to ease contractions and controls hiccups.
For persistent and intractable hiccoughs, the treatment can be different and usually depends on the source of the hiccough. You can use hypnosis or even acupuncture to treat persistent hiccoughs.
Foods to be Avoided:
Hiccups are not the result of a bad diet, eating habits, or lifestyle. While there is no specific diet plan for those who are frequently afflicted with hiccups, there are a few foods one can avoid while experiencing this condition. These foods aggravate the condition and can prolong hiccups.
- Avoid aerated drinks, including plain soda, as the gas causes belching, worsening the hiccups.
- Spicy foods also change the regular breathing pattern that can cause and increase hiccups.
- If you are hiccupping during a meal, it is best to stop eating until your hiccups have subsided completely, as this could worsen the situation by causing you to choke.
- Eating small portions prevents gas formation in the stomach, preventing hiccups from occurring.
Some Other Facts About Hiccups:
By now, you know how hiccoughs occur and how to treat them. Let’s look at some interesting facts about hiccoughs.
Hiccoughs can be treated in many ways like gulping water, pulling out the tongue, sucking on a lemon, and whiffing some smelling salt.
Doctors will usually refrain from prescribing you strong medications like haloperidol (Haldol), metoclopramide(Reglan) and chlorpromazine (Thorazine), even for persistent hiccoughs. Watch out for those doctors that do (8).
So the next time you get hiccoughs, try out these symptoms! Do you know of any other home remedies to treat hiccoughs? Share with us in the comments section below!
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