General Infomation

Hiccups are a common condition that affects nearly everyone. Hiccups involve the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic "hic" sound.
Many people have home remedies for hiccups that they swear by, ranging from breathing into a paper bag to swallowing a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
Hiccups may result from a large meal, alcoholic beverages or sudden excitement. Rarely, hiccups may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. A bout of hiccups usually lasts only a few minutes. But in some people, about one in 100,000, hiccups may persist for months. This can result in malnutrition and exhaustion.


The characteristic sound of a hiccup, sometimes preceded by a slight tightening sensation in your chest, abdomen or throat, are the only signs and symptoms associated with hiccups. The number of hiccups a minute typically ranges between four and 60.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor if your hiccups last more than 48 hours or if they are so severe that they cause problems with eating or breathing.

Causes & Complication

The most common triggers for short-term hiccups include:
• Eating too much
• Drinking carbonated beverages
• Excessive consumption of alcohol
• Sudden temperature changes
• Excitement or emotional stress
Hiccups that last more than 48 hours may be caused by a variety of factors, which are generally grouped into the following categories:
Nerve damage or irritation
The most common cause of long-term hiccups is damage or irritation of the vagus nerves or phrenic nerves, which serve the diaphragm muscle. Factors that may cause damage or irritation to these nerves include:
• A hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum
• Sore throat or laryngitis
• A tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck
• Gastroesophageal reflux
Central nervous system disorders
A tumor or infection in your central nervous system or damage to your central nervous system as a result of trauma can disrupt your body's normal control of the hiccup reflex. Examples include:
• Stroke
• Multiple sclerosis
• Tumors
• Meningitis
• Encephalitis
• Traumatic brain injury
Metabolic disorders and drugs
• Alcoholism
• Anesthesia
• Barbiturates
• Diabetes
• Electrolyte imbalance
• Kidney failure
• Steroids
• Tranquilizers


Prolonged hiccups may interfere with:
• Speech
• Eating
• Sleeping
• Post-surgical wound healing

Tests and Diagnosis: 

If your doctor suspects an underlying medical condition may be causing your hiccups, he or she may recommend one or more of the following tests:
Laboratory tests
Samples of your blood may be checked for signs of:
• Infection
• Diabetes
• Kidney disease
Imaging tests
These types of tests may be able to detect anatomical abnormalities that may be affecting the vagus nerve, phrenic nerve or diaphragm. Imaging tests may include:
• Chest X-ray
• Computerized tomography (CT) scan
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Endoscopic tests
These procedures utilize a thin, flexible tube containing a tiny camera, which is passed down your throat to check for problems in your esophagus or windpipe.

Medication & Prevention
Treatments and Drugs: 

Most cases of hiccups go away on their own, without medical treatment. If an underlying medical condition is causing your hiccups, treatment of that illness may eliminate the hiccups. The following treatments may be considered for hiccups that have lasted longer than two days.
Drugs most commonly used to treat long-term hiccups include:
• Chlorpromazine, a powerful antipsychotic
• Metoclopramide (Reglan), an anti-nausea drug
• Baclofen (Lioresal), a muscle relaxant
Surgical and other procedures
• Nasogastric (NG) tube. If your stomach is distended, a thin, flexible tube inserted through your nose and into your stomach (nasogastric tube) may stop hiccups.
• Nerve block. If less invasive treatments aren't effective, your doctor may recommend an injection of an anesthetic to block your phrenic nerve to stop hiccups.
• Vagus nerve stimulation. A battery-operated device that's surgically implanted into your chest can be programmed to deliver mild electrical stimulation to your vagus nerve. This procedure is most commonly used to treat epilepsy, but has also helped control persistent hiccups.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies: 

Although there's no surefire way to stop hiccups, if you have a bout of hiccups that lasts longer than a few minutes, the following home remedies may provide relief:
• Swallow a teaspoon of sugar
• Breathe into a paper bag
• Gargle with ice water
• Hold your breath

Alternative Medicine: 

When long-term hiccups don't respond to other remedies, alternative treatments, such as hypnosis and acupuncture, may be helpful.


You may be able to decrease your frequency of short-term hiccups by avoiding common hiccup triggers, such as:


By Anonymous on 02 May 2011