Most of us have experienced an uncomfortable hiccup for a short time. It is normal, and usually, it will go on its own. But there are also cases where hiccups persist for a long time and can signal a serious underlying disease.
Hiccups are sudden and involuntary contractions of your diaphragm and intercostal muscles, also known as a spasm. The abrupt closure of the glottis follows after the contraction, which causes the “hic” sound that comes with hiccups. Hiccup’s medical term Singultus is derived from the Latin word “singult,” meaning to catch one’s breath while sobbing.
How long do hiccups last?
The common types of hiccups are classified by the length of each attack.
Acute Hiccups last for less than 48 hours. It can be caused by strong stomach distension, sudden temperature changes, chemical substances such as alcohol and smoking, and psychogenic alterations. This type of hiccup only lasts for a short time and is self-limiting.
Persistent Hiccups last for more than 48 hours. It can indicate several different abnormal processes in the reflex arc and is essential to perform comprehensive diagnostics. It may cause too much stress for the patient and result in sleep disturbances, depression, and exhaustion.
Intractable hiccupspersist longer than a month. It can be due to the medulla’s structural or functional disturbances, afferent or efferent nerves to the respiratory muscles or metabolic and endocrine disorders, drugs, general anesthesia, and emotional problems. This type of hiccup may result in dehydration, insomnia, depression, acid reflux, and even death.
Get Rid of Hiccups Fast Using These 5 Home Remedies
Try to stop your hiccups using these simple home remedies. They are easy to find and very affordable. These remedies are not hazardous to give them a try, but their effectiveness is uncertain. Please be reminded that these tips may not apply to people with medical conditions. It is best to consult your doctors for advice.
1. Eat sugar.
A spoonful of sugar may help get rid of your hiccups. This remedy has long been recommended to treat hiccups. Place some sugar on your tongue, then keep it there for about 5 – 10 seconds before swallowing.
2. Eat peanut butter.
Eating a spoonful of peanut butter is another remedy for hiccups. The process of chewing the peanut butter interrupts your breathing pattern and opens up your diaphragm that eliminates hiccups.
3. Gargle ice water.
Gargling ice water may stimulate the vagus nerve and end the hiccups. The vagus nerve is responsible for carrying signals from your digestive system and organs to the brain, and vice versa. Ice water may also cause the diaphragm to contract which might stop spasming.
4. Swallow honey.
Putting a teaspoon of honey at the back of your tongue and swallowing it may soothe the vagus nerve that will cause the elimination of hiccups. Honey is also famous for relieving cough, fighting infections, and healing wounds.
5. Suck on a lemon.
Biting or sucking on a lemon wedge may also help get rid of hiccups. The acid content from the lemon may disrupt the vagus nerve and may stop your hiccups.
How to prevent hiccups?
1. Avoid spicy foods.
The chemical compound called capsaicin from chili, which makes the chili spicy, can activate neurons in the diaphragm that causes hiccups. Spicy foods may also cause heartburn and indigestion.
2. Eat slowly.
There are many health benefits from eating slowly, including the prevention of hiccups from happening. It will limit you from swallowing air that may cause your diaphragm to contract and have hiccups.
3. Avoid carbonated drinks.
Drinking carbonated drinks like champagne or beer will cause the stomach to expand because of carbonation. That expansion will irritate your diaphragm and cause your diaphragm to contract voluntarily.
4. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
Drinking too much alcohol may cause acid reflux, and that could be irritating to the esophagus. If the esophagus is irritated, it may also irritate the diaphragm that causes hiccups.
5. Manage stress or extreme emotions.
Stress or extreme emotions have been associated with hiccups. These emotions may cause you to hyperventilate that disturbs your diaphragm and causing hiccups. It is also the reason why a sudden shock can sometimes stop the hiccups.
Acute hiccups are common and self-limiting, meaning it can resolve on its own without treatment. If you feel disturbed by your hiccups, you can try the above home remedies. But the results can be uncertain and may vary depending on the severity of your hiccups. Please seek medical advice if you have hiccups that last more than two days or occur more frequently. They could be a symptom of a severe medical condition.