Any person from time to time begins to hiccup, absolutely anyone. A person who has never hiccupped in his life, probably should be shown on the evening news. What are the main causes of hiccups, why does hiccups arise after eating and how to get rid of hiccups?
Hiccups are usually completely harmless, albeit terribly annoying. The causes of hiccups may be different and some of them may indicate serious health problems.
What happens during hiccups? Hiccup occurs due to irritation of the diaphragm. Most of the time, our diaphragm works quietly, while breathing in, going down to let air into the lungs, and rising again to push air from the lungs when a person exhales. If the diaphragm is irritated, it starts moving in spurts, causing a sharp stream of air to enter the throat. When this happens, air enters the vocal cords, which causes a characteristic sound.
Common causes of hiccups are drinking carbonated drinks, eating too much lunch or dinner (that is, over-eating in general), excessive drinking, emotional stress , anxiety, and sudden changes in temperature. Ordinary hiccups pass very quickly – within five to twenty minutes. Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours can be a sign of a serious illness. The cause of such hiccups can be irritation or damage to the vagus or phrenic nerve or a disease like laryngitis. The cause of long-term hiccups can also be a side effect of drugs, metabolic disorders such as diabetes. and central nervous system disorders, such as traumatic brain injury or meningitis.
How is the diagnosis of the causes of long-term hiccups?
If the hiccups continue for several days, you need to consult a doctor to eliminate the possibility of damage to the body due to serious diseases. The doctor prescribes a series of tests to the patient. For example, laboratory tests check a patient’s blood for kidney disease, infection or diabetes. Using endoscopic tests look for possible problems in the respiratory throat or esophagus, using a special camera located at the end of a flexible, thin tube that is lowered through the throat into the esophagus. With the help of fluoroscopy, you can detect possible problems in the diaphragm, as well as damage to the vagus and phrenic nerves. These tests include computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and chest x-rays.
As we have already mentioned, frequent hiccups can occur as a result of damage or irritation of the nerves that affect the muscles of the diaphragm. Nerve damage can occur as a result of pleurisy or pneumonia. Pleurisy is a disease in which the mucous membranes of the lungs and chest become infected and inflamed, which makes breathing very difficult. And pneumonia develops when bacteria and viruses enter the lungs through the nasal or oral cavity. Symptoms of pneumonia include fever, chills, and cough, in which green or yellow mucus is secreted, in which there may sometimes be droplets of blood.
Frequent hiccups can occur as a result of disruption of the central nervous system. When the central nervous system is damaged as a result of a tumor, an infection, or an injury, our “icing” reflex also fails. What diseases can affect the nervous system so that it causes chronic hiccups?
- Stroke ;
- Multiple sclerosis;
- Encephalitis, Traumatic brain injury and some others.
Familiar names, nothing exotic. Meningitis, for example, also called spinal meningitis, causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of meningitis include mainly severe headaches, neck pain, high fever. And encephalitis causes swelling of the brain, and its symptoms are similar to signs of a cold or flu.
Frequent hiccups, among other things, can be caused by chemotherapy. Cancer patients who have gone through several stages of chemotherapy often begin to hiccup due to the fact that their body is exposed to several strongest drugs at once. Over 30 percent of cancer patients experience frequent hiccups during chemotherapy. One of the reasons causing hiccups during chemotherapy is the effect of the drug dexamethasone. In addition to frequent hiccups, dexamethasone also causes nausea, vomiting and muscle weakness.
The risk of frequent hiccups is also increased by surgery and exposure to anesthesia. After the surgeon inserts breathing tubes into the trachea to perform procedures on the abdominal cavity, and also shifts the internal organs during surgery, the risk of frequent hiccups increases significantly. Hiccup overtakes a person after abdominal surgery due to accumulation of air and gases in the internal cavities.
How to get rid of hiccups
There are several very effective home remedies that help get rid of hiccups for both children and adults.
The first remedy to help get rid of hiccups is to swallow a tablespoon of sugar. This remedy was popular in the middle of the 20th century and is often used to treat hiccups in children. It is not yet known why sugar helps in the treatment of hiccups, but it does help.
Another popular way to get rid of hiccups is to hold your breath. Holding your breath, you need to try to squeeze the diaphragm with your chest muscles as much as possible. The longer you can hold the diaphragm in this position, the more chances you have to stop the hiccups. When you press it in this way, it relaxes and stops contracting.
Another tip is to drink water in small sips, while healing the nose. You have to do the pharynx again and again, without interruption, until you feel that water can soon begin to come out of your nose. After about 25 sips, the hiccups usually stop.
Advice is not for everyone – try to stand on your hands. Or just lie on the bed so that your head is very low. The idea is that your head is below the level of the diaphragm. This often stops the hiccups.
Finally, another popular remedy that helps get rid of hiccups is chamomile tea. The drink must be brewed for at least half an hour. The substances contained in chamomile, have the properties of muscle relaxant, they can also stop the contraction of the diaphragm, which are the cause of hiccups.
Hiccups after eating
There are two reasons why we get hiccups after eating. We either eat too fast or too much.
When we eat in a hurry, the diaphragm is irritated and we begin to hiccup. Hiccups after eating are especially common when we quickly eat dry foods – bread, bagels and buns.
Overeating, we also earn our hiccups. The fact is that when we eat too much, the swollen stomach touches the diaphragm, causing irritation. Therefore, in order not to hiccup, as soon as we feel that the stomach is full, we need to stop eating.