All of us must have cured hiccups while laughing, talking or eating. Hiccups are the bane for children as well as adults. Caused by muscular contractions in the diaphragm that is often brought on by inadequate chewing or eating too fast, it often interferes with our eating, drinking, breathing or speaking. Hiccups can last from few seconds to sometimes hours at times.
Hiccups can occur due to wrong eating habits, medical conditions involving psychological (nervousness, smoking, etc.), metabolic factors (hyponatremia, uremia, etc.) and due various medications. Hiccups can also result due to stress related disorders, loss of consciousness due to heart complications, heart burn, weight loss, emotional distress and habitual intake of alcohol.
Hiccups can be annoying if they don’t stop fast. Here are few of the simple techniques to stop them:
• Holding the breath
• Inhaling rock salt
• Distracting oneself with some activity
• Taking deep breaths
• Taking a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water
• Eating small pieces of ginger
• Sipping/gulping water
• Drinking cold water quickly
Infants and small babies are very prone to frequent hiccups which often result in regurgitation i.e., vomiting, reflux. Hiccups in newborn babies can be cured by breastfeeding them or getting them take few sips from bottle or to suck on a pacifier. Some ways of treating hiccups in infants are:
• Changing the feeding position of the baby
• Keeping the baby upright while feeding and for 30 minutes after
• Giving small and frequent feeding to avoid reflux due to overfeeding
• Gently patting the baby’s back to induce burping.
Hiccups rarely require urgent medical attention except when they are persistent and are associated with malignancies, stomach pain, spitting up of blood and heart attacks. In rare cases, surgeries are required.