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Hiccups: causes and remedies

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The hiccups , known medically as singulto, is that inspiratory sound happens when the diaphragm contracts involuntarily. Hiccup attacks can be very annoying and uncomfortable and although they may not have an apparent cause, there are certain factors that can increase the chances of them appearing. Likewise, it is not always easy to make this condition disappear quickly and although it tends to disappear on its own, there are certain measures that can be carried out to speed up its elimination. At FastlyHealwe explain in detail what are the causes and natural remedies for hiccups.

Causes of hiccups

The hiccup occurs when the diaphragm , which is the muscle that is located at the base of the lungs, contracts sharply causing it to have to inspire strongly, which causes the two openings located between the vocal cords are closed and the characteristic hiccuping sound is emitted.

To better understand why hiccups occur, it is important to understand how the diaphragm works in the process of breathing. This muscle goes down when the person inhales to fill the lungs with air and, conversely, rises when they exhale to expel the air; and when this is altered and the diaphragm rises or falls faster than normal, a different breathing is produced that gives rise to the suffering of hiccups.

It is a disorder that, in general, is not dangerous to health, except in a small percentage of cases in which it becomes persistent, and that disappears spontaneously after a few minutes. The following factors have been reported to contribute to hiccups:

  • Eating too much or too quickly.
  • Consume alcoholic beverages in excess.
  • Eating spicy or highly seasoned foods.
  • Irritation of the diaphragm.
  • Go through a state of nervousness or excitement.
  • Stomach disorders.
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Taking any medication that causes hiccups as a side effect.

See a doctor if …

As noted in the previous section, hiccups are a common disorder that is not serious in most cases. However, if there is an exceptional case in which the hiccups become persistent and do not remit spontaneously, it will be essential to see a doctor immediately as it could be a symptom of a serious underlying disease or pathology. Thus, it is important to consult a specialist if:

  • Hiccups don’t go away on their own after a day or make it impossible to perform basic actions such as eating, drinking, or sleeping.
  • Difficulties in breathing properly.
  • Stomach bloating or inflammation is experienced.
  • In addition to hiccups, other symptoms occur.

In such situations, medical diagnosis is essential since hiccups could be an indicator of gastric, thoracic, metabolic or neurological problems. In some cases, it is a symptom of conditions such as stomach ulcers, esophagitis, or pancreatitis.

Breathing techniques and exercises

Although there are no scientifically proven measures to stop hiccups, there are some techniques and natural remedies that can be used to help eliminate hiccups earlier.

One of them is the performance of breathing techniques , as there is a theory that the cause of hiccups is a drop in carbon dioxide in the blood. For this, breathing exercises such as the following are recommended: hold your breath for a few seconds and then breathe slowly again, controlling the rhythm. Another simple measure is to breathe repeatedly and continuously into a paper bag; This should not be done more than 4 or 5 times as too much could cause dizziness.

On the other hand, you can try to stop hiccups through exercises that exercise the diaphragm and help calm it, since it is its sudden contraction that would give rise to this condition. The following movements can give good results.

  • Lie on your back in a comfortable and relaxed position, bring your knees to your chest supporting them with your hands and hold the posture for about two minutes.
  • Standing up, bend forward bending your back until you touch your toes. It is not advisable to strain the spine excessively in this movement.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds and stretch your arms up trying to touch the ceiling or keeping them supported by a door frame.

Natural remedies to remove hiccups

In addition to the above methods, there are other common suggestions that can help you naturally remove hiccups as well. It is important to note that the effectiveness of the following tricks is not proven and that there is a possibility that they will offer good results or not. Those that are carried out most frequently to stop this annoying condition are:

  • Drink a large glass of cold water quickly.
  • Eat a slice of lemon, to which you can add a little sugar to improve the flavor of that fruit.
  • Eat a tablespoon of honey, sugar, or poop butter. Leave it in the mouth for a few seconds and then swallow without chewing.
  • Suck on a piece of ginger.
  • Take some vinegar.
  • Cover your ears for 30 seconds.
  • Resort to laughter, as there are those who claim that the changes in breathing that occur while laughing can help solve the problem of hiccups.

Hiccups in babies

Hiccups can occur in people of all ages but is much more common in children, especially babies under six months due to the immaturity of the nervous and digestive systems. It usually appears when the baby ingests an excessive amount of milk, swallows air, retains gas or experiences sudden changes in temperature.

Natural remedies or home techniques such as those shown above should not be used to stop hiccups in babies, as they could be counterproductive to their health. It is important to wait for the hiccups to disappear spontaneously or to consult with the pediatrician if it is frequent or prolonged.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hiccup: causes and remedies , we recommend that you enter our Wellbeing category .

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