Hiccups are 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.
Many conditions can cause this irritation and result in hiccups, including eating too fast and swallowing air, chewing gum, smoking, eating or drinking too much, strokes, brain tumors, damage to the vagus or phrenic nerve, some medications, noxious fumes, anxiety and stress, and in babies, hiccups may be associated with crying, coughing, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder.
Hiccups are rarely a cause for concern, but if hiccups become frequent, chronic, and persistent (lasting more than 3 hours), if they affect 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, then you need to consult a doctor.
There are numerous home remedies to get rid of hiccups, including holding your breath, drinking a glass of water quickly, having someone frighten or surprise you, using smelling salts, pulling hard on your tongue, and others.
For severe or chronic hiccups that are not cured with home treatment, medical treatments include medications, anesthesia to block the phrenic nerve, and surgical implantation of an electronic stimulator to the vagus nerve. Surgery to disable the phrenic nerve is a treatment of last resort.
Most cases of hiccups generally go away on their own without any need for treatment. There are numerous home remedies to get rid of hiccups, including holding your breath, drinking a glass of water quickly, having someone frighten or surprise you, using smelling salts, pulling hard on your tongue, and others. A big spoonful of peanut butter is a classic cure if you're pondering how to get rid of hiccups. In the process of chewing and getting it off your tongue and teeth, your swallowing and breathing patterns are interrupted. This stops the hiccups before you even know it.
If an underlying medical condition is causing your hiccups, treatment of that illness may eliminate the hiccups. If that is the case, then your doctor will perform a few tests such as neurological tests, blood tests and imaging tests, and will then prescribe medication that you can take.
If less invasive treatments aren't effective, your doctor may recommend an injection of an anesthetic to block your phrenic nerve to stop hiccups. Another option is to surgically implant a battery-operated device to deliver mild electrical stimulation to your vagus nerve. This procedure is most commonly used to treat epilepsy, but it has also helped control persistent hiccups.
Hiccups are generally not a cause for concern, and they generally go away on their own in a short while. However, if hiccups become chronic, or are accompanied by vomiting, shortness of breath and fever, then it is necessary to see a doctor.
Hiccups are a very common phenomenon, and are generally not a cause for concern. Hiccups are usually not serious, and if they go away on their own in a short while, then there is no need to consult a doctor or get any kind of treatment.
Hiccups don’t generally have any side effects, except for causing annoyance and discomfort. In case the hiccups last for an extended period of time, then you might experience some shortness of breath and tightness in the throat. These side effects are not very common, and even if they do occur, they should go away on their own along with the hiccups, within a short period of time. Hiccups itself don’t cause any other side effects, but they are often thought to be a side effect of some underlying disease, especially if the hiccups are chronic, or if they refuse to go away.
Once the hiccups go away, they probably won’t come back again for quite some time, unless there is some underlying condition or disease that needs to be treated properly. So there is no fixed set of guidelines that you need to follow once your hiccups have gone.
Hiccups usually stop within a few minutes to a few hours. Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours are called persistent hiccups. Hiccups that last longer than a month are called intractable hiccups. While very rare, intractable hiccups can cause exhaustion, lack of sleep, and weight loss.
There is no fixed rate for the treatment of hiccups, as they are generally cured without any medical intervention. However, in case there is need for medical intervention, it is generally to treat some other underlying condition which is causing the hiccups, so in that case, the cost of treatment will vary depending on the diagnosis.
Once your hiccups go away, they can often come back if you exposed to the same conditions that triggered them the last time. Hiccups generally come and go, and there is no need to worry over them, unless they becomes chronic and last for over 2 days.
Hiccups usually go away on their own without any treatment. However, in case the hiccups last for over a period of 48 hours, then there are a few treatments that can be tried without opting for taking medication. These include acupuncture, hypnotherapy and a device similar to a pacemaker which has an effect on the phrenic nerve that controls the diaphragm muscle.