Hiccups can be defined as the involuntary contractions of diaphragm. Diaphragm is the muscle that separate your chest form the abdomen. It also has a marked role in breathing. Each contraction results in sudden closure of vocal cords which produces a characteristic “hic” sound.
On a general note, hiccups usually occurs due to change in food patterns or excessive food intake. In some cases, the underlying diseases can result in triggering hiccoughs. For most individuals, hiccups occurs for few minutes and disappear. If it persists more than few days’ medical care should be approached. If it continues for long time, it can result in weight loss and exhaustion.
Hiccups can be resulted due to various reasons.
- Eating the food too fast
If the food intake is too fast and not properly chewed, the air tends to swallow along with food and results in Hiccups.
Overeating can increase the risk of getting Hiccups. Food laced with fat, carbonated drinks, sugar rich beverages and even excess consumption of alcohol can also trigger the chances of hiccups.
- Reflex actions
In few cases the stomach is stretched and when excess amount of food reaches the stomach, air tends to hiccups. It can also happen as a reflex action to prevent choking.
- Medical Disorders
Rarely hiccups can occur as a symptom in many diseases like renal failure, encephalitis, brain trauma, stroke, and brain tumour.
- Nerve Damage
Damage to phrenic or vagus nerve leads to unusual long bouts of hiccups.
- Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is one among the foremost reasons in causing hiccups. Some medications such as Valium, Ativan, etc. are known to trigger the issue of hiccups. Long-time usage of medicines like levodopa and nicotine can also result in hiccups.
- Toxic Fumes
Inhalation of toxic fumes or any poisonous gases can result in hiccups.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux)
People who suffer from GERD are more likely to get hiccups.
Hiccups can also be a result of stress. Anxiety is a known cause that results in hiccups.
Hiccups that occurs for more than 48hours is called as persistent hiccups. In rare cases, this can last up to one month which is called as intractable hiccups. Both the kinds of hiccups are associated with health risks.
What are the causes of persistent or intractable hiccups?
- Nervous System Disorders
Sometimes, nervous system problems like stroke, nerve injuries, cancer, and other infections can lead to hiccups.
- Metabolic Problems
People with high or low metabolic rate are more likely to suffer from hiccups. Other situations like hyperventilation or reduced kidney function can also lead to hiccups.
- Mental Health Problems
Individuals facing mental health issues like autism, obsessive compulsive disorders, anxiety, depression etc. pave a path towards hiccups.
Hiccupping is the symptom. In most of the cases, there occurs a slight tightening sensation in the chest, abdomen and throat region.
Prolonged hiccups may interfere with:
• Wound healing after surgery
There are no particular diet recommendations for hiccups. A balanced diet is ideal to consume for maintaining good health.