What Are Hiccups?

Hiccups are among some of the most annoying conditions that most people experience often. Hiccups cause a lot of discomfort that makes it really hard for those experiencing it to concentrate. Hiccups can be defined as repeated spasms that are involuntary and occur in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscular sheath that is located just right below the lungs. The condition is always accompanied by a distinct sound that is produced from the contraction of the diaphragm; and in the event that the diaphragm contracts, a small amount of air is drawn through the vocal cords leading to the production of the sound.

In most occasions, it is believed that hiccups take place in case there is an irritation of the nerves that are found in the diaphragm. In the event that the contraction has occurred, the sound is produced and accompanied by closing of the mouth. Even though most of the hiccups that face a variety of people do not necessarily last long, there are some that may occasionally last for even a period of up to two days.

There are three categories of hiccups that you also need to take note of including:

  • Short term hiccups: These can be experienced for just a few minutes.
  • Persistent hiccups: This one lasts for a duration that is longer than two days
  • Intractable hiccups: This type of hiccups can be experienced for more than one month.

What Are The Causes Of Hiccups?

In case you have not had an experience with this mild disorder, it is important that you are knowledgeable on the causes. This will ensure that you are able to avoid any of the conditions or activities that lead to the occurrence of hiccups. One thing that you need to note while looking at the causes of hiccups is that there are causes for short term hiccups while there are also causes for the persistent and intractable hiccups.

Short term hiccups are viewed to be normal and are experienced by various people from time to time. In fact, with them, there is no cause for alarm. However, below are some of the causes of short term hiccups:

  • Overconsumption of alcohol.
  • Bloat. A bloated stomach that results from eating or drinking too fast may also cause hiccups.
  • Excessive smoking
  • Sudden change in room temperature
  • Prolonged crying especially in young children below the age of one year.
  • Shock among others.

Hiccups that are persistent and contactable can be experienced as a result of a more serious health condition that may be underlying like GORD. However, it is also said that there are no ideal causes of hiccups that have been discovered so far. Some of the underlying causes that may lead to persistent or intractable hiccups include goiter, diabetes, gastroentiritis, laryngitis among others. It is also said that lower sugar or glucose levels in the blood is also another potential cause of hiccups.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hiccups?

To those who have experienced hiccups, you will agree that the most common and obvious symptoms of the disorder are a sudden contraction of the belly and the chest accompanied by a sound that is as a result of the contraction of the diaphragm. However, there are also other mild symptoms that can be experienced in the event that one is experiencing hiccups. You also need to take note that there are also certain hiccups that are not accompanied by sound. Besides, there are also hiccups whose sounds can be heard but not felt as compared to other forms of disorders, that a variety of people experience on a daily basis or occasionally, hiccups does not have a lot of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • A 'hiccup' sound
  • Quick involuntary tightening of the diaphragm that is felt on the chest or the abdomen area.

In certain instances, hiccups are often accompanied by serious health conditions that may be termed as emergencies. It is always advisable that whenever you are experiencing these serious symptoms, you need to immediately consult a doctor. Some of these serious symptoms include:

  • Lose of consciousness
  • Difficulty in breathing

Home Remedies For Hiccups

Even though hiccups are not regarded among medical emergencies, the condition causes a lot of discomfort and lack of concentration. As a result of this, it is important that you arm yourself with some of the remedies that you are able to apply against the disorder in case you are faced with it at any given time. Below are some of the remedies to hiccups that you can have at your disposal for application whenever you are experiencing the disorder: Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself!  Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.

  • Holding of breath- There are lots of home care remedies that can be applied on hiccups. One of the most common procedures for hiccups self care at home is holding breath. It is believed that when you hold your breath, there will be a stop to the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood.
  • Drinking water quickly- Drinking water is also another self care procedure that you can use at home. The main reason why it is believed that drinking water is able to alleviate hiccups is that water stimulates the vague nerve that runs from the stomach to the brain.
  • Try This- Frightening or surprising the person experiencing hiccups.
  • Smelling Salts- Using smelling salts. You can leak small bits of smelling salts when you are having hiccups in order to stop it.
  • Dry sugar- Dry sugar is also one of the effective remedies for hiccups and so, when using dry sugar, put a half teaspoon of dry sugar on the back of the tongue repeatedly three times at intervals of two minutes. However, for young children, it is advisable that you use corn syrup instead of sugar.
  • Pull the Tounge- Pulling the tongue.
  • Water- Take water frequently. It helps to prevent and treat hiccups. You can gaggle water when hiccups occur. More importantly, take your water slowly to avoid choking.
  • Yogurt- it is vital to take yogurt (natural and flavored yogurt) and a pinch of salt. It is quite effective in treatment of hiccups. It also helps to prevent the disease
  • Fresh ginger- it is very effective in the treatment of hiccups. Suck a fresh ginger piece whenever you have hiccups. Alternatively, add ginger to your tea or to hot water and drink 2 to 3 cups a day for effective treatment of hiccups.
  • Ice cubes-suck ice cubes when hiccups occur. It helps to prevent breathing problems and treat hiccups.
  • Deep breath- hiccups occur as a result of involuntary contractions in the diaphragm. Therefore, it is essential to take a deep breath to get rid of hiccups.
  • Peanut butter- Take a teaspoon of peanut butter when hiccups occur. It is very effective in the treatment of the disease and it also helps to prevent hiccups in small children especially when taking their meals.
  • Laugh loud- it is believed that hiccups can be treated effectively by laughing loudly. It stops the problem in an instant.
  • Sugar-it helps to stop hiccups. Suck a cube of sugar to prevent and treat hiccups both in children and in adults. You can also take a pinch of sugar when hiccups occur.
  • Try to avoid thinking about it- Since hiccups are considered a psychological problem, it is vital to divert your mind to other things whenever it occurs. It helps to prevent breathing problems and treats hiccups efficiently. These remedies are very effective but it is always essential to identify the root cause of the problem to treat hiccups completely

Apart from just the above mentioned, there are other several remedies that can also be applied in addressing hiccups. However, it is always advisable that you seek advice on the best remedy that may be applicable to you as an individual since each and every person is different. You may find out that there are certain remedies that do not work with you. However, in case you are experiencing some of the serious symptoms, it is advisable that you seek medical advice before suing any of the remedies.

The remedies to hiccups should be looked at very sparingly since not all of them are fit for just any kind of person. This is because there are certain remedies that may lead to complications when used on elderly persons with problems in swallowing and certain health problems. Besides, some remedies are also not very safe for use in young children.

Diet For Hiccups

Dieting is an important aspect of in dealing with hiccups. However, you have to note that there are certain foods that are recommended to those who are faced with hiccups while there are also others that need to be avoided. Those foods that are recommended to people faced with hiccups are believed to help in curing the disorder. Some of the foods that are recommended to those who are frequently faced with hiccups include:

  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Lemon
  • Ginger.

One of the causes of hiccups is eating too fast and so it is advisable that you also adopt proper eating habits. In most occasions, it gets so hard to predict the kind of food that will cause hiccups on you. However, it is said that foods that lead to irritation and even digestive problems are agent of hiccups. The varieties of foods that you need to try as much to avoid whenever you are faced with hiccups include:

  • Spicy and hot foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Foods with gas like carbonated drinks

Prevention Of Hiccups

It is said that prevention is always better than cure. That is indeed very true considering the discomfort and annoyance that you are able to go through when faced with hiccups. Even though it cannot be properly established why some people experience hiccups while others do not, there are several measures that can be taken in order to prevent the occurrence of the disorder.

Below are some of the preventive measures that can be taken against hiccups:

  1. Avoiding over consumption of alcohol.
  2. Reducing or stopping smoking
  3. Avoiding activities or conditions that lead to over excitement like stress, shock or intense emotions.
  4. Avoid areas that often depict sudden temperature changes.
  5. Eating slowly at a moderate pace.

Going by the preventive measures that are indicated above, you are able to tell that you only need to avoid the habits or conditions that trigger hiccups in case you do not wish to experience the disorder. Besides, you also need to avoid the foods that are deemed to cause hiccups like carbonated drinks among others. This should not be understood to mean that you should not use the foods that are listed as agents of hiccups. You can as well eat the foods but very sparingly. However, in case the hiccups begin to occur to you at a time that you are consuming any of the foods that trigger hiccups, it is advisable that you immediately stop and look for the remedy that you are comfortable using.