Hiccups Treatment in Jeannette, PA
What Are Hiccups?
Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm—the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen—followed immediately by the glottis—the opening of the vocal cords—rapidly shutting. The diaphragm's spasm and the rapid closing of the glottis creates a "hic" sound and can also cause a slight tightening sensation in the chest, abdomen, or throat.
Hiccups are very common ailments and will usually only last a few minutes. However, recurrent hiccups, also known as chronic hiccups, may last in excess of a month, and be a sign of an underlying issue. Untreated chronic hiccups which last longer than 48 hours can cause medical concern, potentially affecting your speech, eating habits, and sleeping patterns. Luckily, chronic hiccups can be treated with at-home remedies, medication, or surgery.
If you are experiencing frequent hiccups, it is important to meet with a healthcare practitioner who can identify the root cause of the occurrence. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Jeannette who specializes in hiccups treatment, call (724) 915-1049 or contact Martin Gallagher online.
Causes of Hiccups
The most common cause of short-term hiccups is a full stomach, which can be caused by:
- Eating too much food too quickly
- Swallowing too much air
- Consuming alcohol or smoking
- Drinking carbonated drinks like soda
- Stress or excitement
- Drinking a hot or cold liquid, causing a change in stomach temperature
In rare instances, hiccups can last longer than 48 hours and indicate an underlying condition is driving your symptoms, including:
- A cyst or goiter in your neck
- Laryngitis, or other cause of a sore throat
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in infants
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Cancer or tumors
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Brain injury or stroke
- Infections like pneumonia
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Kidney disease
Hiccups can also result as a side effect of certain medications, including steroids, barbiturates, tranquilizers, or anesthesia. In certain chronic hiccup cases, the underlying cause is unknown.
Men have a higher likelihood of developing chronic hiccups than women do. Other risk factors include individuals who:
- Are pregnant
- Abuse alcohol
- Have mental health issues
- Have recently had abdominal surgeries
- Have a disease affecting their bowels, stomach, or diaphragm
Hiccups Diagnosis and Treatment
While the symptoms of hiccups may be easy to identify, the driving force behind them may not. Fortunately, there are various tests that your healthcare provider can utilize to diagnose frequent hiccups and determine its underlying cause. These tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Neurological tests
- Imaging tests, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI
Short-Term Hiccup Treatment
Treating short-term hiccups usually begins with home remedies. These home remedies can include breathing methods, modifying eating and drinking habits, and utilizing pressure points.
The purpose of breathing methods is to raise the blood's carbon dioxide level. Breathing methods can include:
- Breathing into a paper bag
- Breathing in, holding your breath for about 10 seconds, then breathing out slowly
- Hugging your knees to your chest for 2 minutes, or other methods of gentle chest compressions
The following eating and drinking habits can also be used to cure hiccups:
- Burping, especially in infants
- Sucking on a thin slice of lemon
- Gargling ice water or sipping cold water slowly
- Drinking a glass of warm water without breathing
- Placing a few drops of vinegar in the mouth or granulated sugar on the tongue
If hiccups occur in a baby during feeding, and burping, calming, or changing the baby's position does not make the hiccups go away after 5-10 minutes, resume feeding.
Touching various pressure points on the body can also help to resolve short-term hiccups, including pulling on the tongue, gently touching the diaphragm, and gently putting pressure on each side of the nose while swallowing.
Chronic Hiccup Treatment
Persistent hiccups treatment involves addressing the underlying condition and may require medication or surgery. Hypnosis and acupuncture may also be helpful in relieving symptoms.
Medications that can be used to treat long-term hiccups are usually prescribed if you are not eating properly, losing too much weight, have abnormal sleeping, or are showing signs of depression. The job of these medications can be to reduce acid reflux, relax the stomach muscles, or calm the phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm. Meds for hiccups can include baclofen or chlorpromazine to relax the diaphragm, as well as gabapentin, haloperidol, and metoclopramide.
If home remedies and medication do not eliminate your chronic hiccups, surgery may be necessary. Surgery may involve an injection of an anesthetic into the phrenic nerve to stop your hiccups. Another surgical treatment, used to treat epilepsy, may also be used for chronic hiccups. It uses a surgically-implanted, battery-operated device to deliver mild electrical stimulation to your vagus nerve.
Although hiccups can happen to anyone, there are various ways that one can reduce their likelihood of occurring. Methods to prevent hiccups include:
- Eating slowly
- Reducing stress
- Avoid chewing gum
- Feeding a baby when they are calm
- Avoiding alcohol, spicy foods, and smoking
- Avoiding eating hot or cold foods, one immediately after the other
- Managing stress to prevent extreme changes in your emotions
Frequent hiccups can cause a lot of discomfort and negatively affect your quality of life. To make an appointment with a healthcare practitioner in Jeannette who can help find the right hiccups solution for you, call (724) 915-1049 or contact Martin Gallagher online.
Medical Wellness Associates
Jeannette, PA 15644
8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm