Read about Home Remedies and Treatments for Hiccups
Most people have experienced hiccups at one time or another. While they usually tend to go away on their own within a few minutes, they can be quite annoying and interfere with eating and talking. There’s an endless list of tricks and home remedies to get rid of hiccups, from breathing into a paper bag to taking 10 sips of water in a short time.
Although there aren’t many studies about the effectiveness of different hiccup remedies, many of them are backed by centuries of anecdotal evidence. Note that some of the most popular remedies for hiccups stimulate the vagus or phrenic nerves that are connected to your diaphragm.
Continue reading to learn more about some of the most popular and effective ways to treat hiccups.
Most cases of hiccups go away in a few minutes or hours. However, if you regularly get hiccups and they last for more than two days, make sure you talk to your doctor. They could be a sign of underlying conditions such as stroke, GERD, multiple sclerosis, and others. Note that some cases of hiccups are more persistent than others. When this happens, a doctor usually prescribes medication to help them stop.
Common medications for chronic hiccups include benzonatate (Tessalon), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), baclofen (Gablofen), and metoclopramide (Reglan). Benzonatate, for example, not only helps people with the symptoms of hiccups but also coughs. It is available as a generic medication and is more popular than other comparable drugs. Make sure you look for a Benzonatate discount so you can purchase the medication at a good price in various pharmacies. Taken by mouth, the effects begin within 20 minutes and last up to 8 hours.
Keep in mind that some remedies may or may not work since the exact cause of hiccups is uncertain. Home remedies will not hurt you, so you can easily try them whenever you’re having hiccups. Some of them include:
- Drinking warm water – slowly sip warm water from a glass. This will help stimulate the activity of the vagus nerve, traveling from the brain to the stomach, reducing hiccups.
- Pat on the back – when you’re hiccupping uncontrollably, try to gently pat your back from behind your neck along your spine. This helps release the tension in the diaphragm and stops hiccups.
- Place sugar on your tongue – take about half a teaspoon of sugar and try to keep it at the far end of the back of your tongue. Hold it for about 2 minutes and then swallow the sugar.
- Hold your breath – holding your breath for a few seconds helps retain some carbon dioxide in your body. This will eliminate the spasms in the diaphragm and prevent hiccups.
Other remedies include biting a slice of lemon, gently pulling on your tongue, gagging, gargling water, etc. You can also use pressure points such as pressing on the diaphragm gently, placing gentle pressure on each side of the nose while swallowing, and others.
Hiccups occur as a result of your diaphragm beginning to spasm involuntarily. The diaphragm is a muscle under your ribcage, which separates your chest and stomach area. It is an important part of the breathing process, moving downward when you breathe in and upward when you breathe out. When you hiccup, your diaphragm pulls down between breaths and makes you suck in air. The space between the vocal cords (glottis) closes to stop more air from coming in. These actions make the ‘hic’ sound.
However, it is not quite clear why people get hiccups. There are many reasons hiccups might happen, including irritated nerves and low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. Mild hiccups usually happen when you eat and drink too quickly, experience stress, drink carbonated beverages or alcohol, go through chemotherapy, etc. Note that you can prevent hiccups from happening if you can control those things.
If your hiccups don’t go away within a few days, they’re called ‘persistent’, and if they last for a few months, they’re called ‘intractable’. Long-lasting hiccups are rare, and they can be part of a larger, underlying medical problem. Some of these underlying conditions include stroke, cancer and tumors, uremia, disorders of the stomach such as GERD, pneumonia, and many more.
For most people, hiccups resolve on their own within a short period, and they rarely require medical treatment. However, sometimes, they may persist and become a nuisance, affecting eating, sleeping, or everyday life. In that case, make sure you talk to your doctor so they can guide you in taking appropriate medication, and sometimes recommend some home remedies.
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