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Hiccups - How to get rid of them

Colin Dang

Hiccups - And How To Stop Them

 

Hiccups can be very annoying. We all know the old tricks of scaring someone suddenly or drinking a glass of water in an unusual position to try and stop them, but in this blog, we explore what they are, why you get them and some things you can try to stop or prevent hiccups. Luckily for most Hiccups does not affect your health.

So, just what are hiccups? Well, they’re sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle. As the muscle contracts repeatedly, the opening between the vocal cords snaps shut to check the inflow of air and makes the hiccup sound. Irritation of the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest can cause hiccups.Although associated with a variety of ailments (some can be serious such as pneumonia or when harmful substances build up in the blood for example from kidney failure), hiccups are not serious and have no clear reason for occurring.

 What causes hiccups? Irritation of the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest can cause hiccups. Many conditions are associated with hiccups, but none has been shown to be the cause of them. Here are a few ways you can get them:

  • If someone eats too fast, he or she can swallow air along with food and end up with the hiccups.
  • Smokingor chewing gum also can cause a person to swallow air and get hiccups.
  • Any other practices that might irritate the diaphragm such as eating too much (especially fatty foods) or drinking too much (alcoholor carbonated drinks) can make a person prone to having hiccups.
  • In these instances, the stomach, which sits underneath and adjacent to the diaphragm, is distended or stretched. As they occur in relation to eating and drinking, hiccups are sometimes thought to be a reflex to protect a person from choking.
  • Strokes or brain tumours involving the brain stem, and some chronic medical disorders (such as renal failure) are reported to cause hiccups; trauma to the brainmeningitis, and encephalitisalso may cause hiccups.
  • Noxious fumes can also trigger hiccup symptoms.
  • A baby may hiccup after crying or coughing. This is common in babies in the first year. In some instances, babies with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) could be more prone to hiccups.
  • Anxiety and stresscan induce both short and long-term hiccups

  Although many people find some of these tips on how to deal with hiccups useful, they may not work for everyone.

Do:

  • breathe into a paper bag (don't put it over your head!)
  • pull your knees up to your chest and lean forward
  • sip ice-cold water
  • swallow some granulated sugar
  • bite on a lemon or taste vinegar
  • hold your breath for a short time

Don’t

  • do not drink alcoholic, fizzy or hot drinks
  • do not chew gum or smoke – these can cause you to swallow air
  • do not eat spicy food
  • do not eat food very quickly
  • do not eat or drink something very cold immediately after something hot

 

Hiccups are rarely a cause for concern, but if hiccups become frequent, chronic and persistent (lasting more then 3 hours), if they afftect sleeping patterns, interfere with eating, cause reflux of food or vomiting, occur with severe abdominal pain, fever, shortness of breath, spitting up blood or feeling as if the throat is going to close up see a doctor. Your GP will want to find out if your hiccups are caused by a health condition or medication you're taking – treating the condition or changing your medicine should stop your hiccups.

If there's no obvious cause, they might be able to prescribe medicine to treat your hiccups. This doesn't work for everyone.

We hope you found this blog useful, please share it if you did - and look out for our vlog on hiccups coming to you soon!

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The Coda Team

 

 

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