Often experiencing hiccups is basically a normal thing, it can be experienced by anyone. Contractions that occur accidentally in the diaphragm and the muscles around the ribs are the main cause of frequent hiccups. The contraction is followed by closing the airway, so that a distinctive sound appears. These usually go away on their own, but there are several health conditions that cause frequent hiccups. Here we summarize some of the symptoms, causes and ways to deal with frequent hiccups.
What are hiccups?
A hiccup or in medical language is called a singultus is a condition when a person makes a hiccup, accidentally. Hiccup generally occurs around a few seconds even minutes. However, not a few people experience hiccups for more than 48 hours. Everyone must have experienced this condition, including babies.
In addition to the hiccups they make, hiccups create pressure on the chest, stomach and throat. If you experience hiccups for a long time and are accompanied by dizziness, feel faint, contact your doctor immediately.
Causes of hiccups
Hiccups can occur when the muscles that separate your stomach from your chest (diaphragm) are able to involuntarily contract. The diaphragm has an important role in the human respiratory system. This is because the body depends on the contraction and movement of the diaphragm, so that the breathing process can take place normally. When you inhale, the diaphragm muscles will contract and return to relaxation when you exhale.
When hiccuping, the diaphragm muscles will suddenly contract, causing air to enter the lungs too quickly. Therefore, the airway valve will close and cause a distinctive hic sound. This sudden contraction caused by the diaphragm of the muscle can be triggered by several conditions.
Conditions that can trigger include eating spicy food, drinking carbonated drinks and alcohol, and even eating too much and too fast. In addition, sudden changes in temperature, feeling nervous, overly excited, or experiencing stress can also trigger hiccups.
So what if the hiccups last longer, even for more than 2 days? Here’s the trigger.
- Disorders of the digestive system: stomach ulcers, gastritis, pancreatitis, stomach cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, inflammation of the liver and other conditions.
- Nerve disorders: inflammation of the airways, tumors, and cysts in the neck.
- Brain disorders: bleeding stroke, inflammation of the brain, brain infection.
- Disorders of the chest cavity: pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis, chest injuries, asthma and pulmonary embolism.
- Heart problems: heart attack and inflammation of the lining of the heart.
- Mental disorders: anorexia and schizophrenia.
Apart from the medical conditions described above, prolonged hiccups can also occur due to side effects of using drugs. As:
- Chemotherapy drugs
Diagnosis of hiccups
Temporary hiccups will go away on their own without further treatment and treatment. However, if the hiccups are prolonged, it requires further examination to find the exact cause. The first step, the doctor will perform a physical examination of the patient. Examination of nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, sensory nerves and vision is preferred.
Investigations are also very important to make a diagnosis. Following are the supporting examinations that were carried out.
- Blood test. This is done to see any signs of infection as a trigger for hiccups.
- Imaging test. This test is done to detect any abnormalities that can affect the nerves.
- Endoscopy is done to see the condition of the esophagus and airways.
- EKG is done to check heart conditions.
Also Read: Why Do We Hiccup? How to solve it?
How to get rid of hiccups
Some of the ways to get rid of hiccups are as follows:
- Drink warm water
- Consuming honey
- Hold breath
- Take a deep breath
- Consume fresh ginger
If the hiccups last any longer, special handling is necessary. The treatment given can be in the form of drug administration. However, if drug administration is not able to overcome the hiccups, the doctor will inject an anesthetic directly into the nerves that control the contraction of the diaphragm.
Complications of hiccups
Hiccups that occur if prolonged can lead to complications. Complications that can arise include:
- Lack of rest or sleep
- Difficulty consuming food
- Acid reflux disease
Habits that can trigger hiccups
Although hiccups are said to be normal, in some people they will be a bother. Especially if the hiccups occur at the wrong time or during activity. So, in order to avoid hiccups appearing at the wrong time, avoid the following habits:
Eating too much and too fast
The hiccups most often occur after a large meal. In fact, the risk of contracting the diaphragm triggers hiccups to be higher, when you are eating too fast with large portions. Eating too much quickly can cause the stomach to become bloated and distended, this is because a lot of air enters the stomach.
When the stomach is too full, it will compress and impact the diaphragm. The pressure generated from food occurs in the stomach down to the diaphragm, causing contractions that lead to hiccups.
Eating too spicy
The type of food consumed also turns out to be able to trigger hiccups. Foods that are too spicy, cold, and hot can increase the risk of hiccups. These foods can stimulate the nerves in the esophagus, so that they can trigger reflex spasms that occur in the diaphragm.
Excessive consumption of soft drinks
The habit of consuming excess soda can trigger hiccups. This can occur when the vagus nerve and esophagus experience interference. Disruption that occurs in that section can then trigger problems and contractions in the diaphragm.
Hiccups can occur not only because of dietary habits, but they can also be triggered by stress. Too much thought and stress can increase a person’s risk
of experiencing frequent hiccups.
It is better if you have the habit of consuming chewing gum to avoid it first. This is because this habit can trigger hiccups. Chewing and even sucking on gum causes a lot of air to enter into the stomach. This results in hiccups appearing.
Here are foods and drinks that can relieve hiccups
If you feel the hiccups are mild, you can consume the following foods and drinks to relieve them.
Drinking lots of water is one of the first aid that can be done. You can also apply an ice cube to your throat, so that the nerves that are experiencing contractions relax more.
Lemon and lime
The next way is to bite into a slice of lemon or lime. You can also drink the juice of the water. The content of vitamin C contained in this fruit is able to relieve disorders of the vagus nerve.
Apple cider vinegar
Like leom and lime, the acid content in apple cider vinegar can help relieve hiccups. It is recommended that you drink about half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Or you can mix it with warm water.
Sipping peanut butter is believed to relieve hiccups. The sticky texture of the peanut butter is useful for pushing the air in the throat.
Hope it is useful!!