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Hiccups: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

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.

How is the treatment done?

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.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

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.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

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.

Are there any side effects?

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.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

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.

How long does it take to recover?

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.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

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.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

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.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

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.

Popular Questions & Answers

Mujhe from last 2 din se hichki aur dakar aa Rahi hai aur right chest aur upper back main pain bhi ho Raha hai ,kya ye breast cancer ke symptom hai ya acidity ke pls suggest what to do.

This is not breast cancer, this is dyspepsia. Reduce spices, try antacids, improve your diet. Reduce sugar jaggery and alcohol, increase intake of traditional health foods like butter, nuts, eggs etc.
2 people found this helpful

I start burping as soon as I start exercising (especially stretching) or while I am getting a body massage, or when I am doing acupressure! Can you kindly explain the logic behind it? Note: I am dealing with SLE from 12 years, Fibromyalgia from 10 years and Sjogren's Syndrome from 5 years, and hence I generally feel pain and fatigue in my body. Burping after exercising/massage/acupressure relaxes my pain!

Burping is many a time result of anxiety. It is very brave of you to be dealing with quite a few problems at a very early age Please be under the care of your physician and if you feel stressed please talk to her /him Meditation, yoga & exercises ...
1 person found this helpful

I am suffering from continue hiccups since 3 days. Consulted a doctor and he injected Perinorm. He has normal dietetic condition, and he has been taking some medicine for stress and sleeplessness.

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 fr...
1 person found this helpful

I'm sanjay singh, 27 year, male, have problem with hiccups. Whenever I take anything including water or other food I get hiccups that sometimes cause vomiting. Help me doctor i'm dying with hiccups. I'm a teacher and facing difficulty in teaching.

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 fr...
1 person found this helpful

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Content Details
Written By
MBBS,MD(medicine),MD - Internal Medicine
General Physician
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