When your diaphragm keeps contracting involuntarily, you get persistent hiccups. The odd little ‘hic’ like sound is produced when your vocal cords close in the wake of the contraction. Are hiccups dangerous, or should you simply brush them off? And what can you do to suppress them? Read on to find out.
What are Hiccups?
There are nerves that run from your neck to the chest. Hiccups happen when these nerves are agitated. Here are some situations that can induce hiccups-
- Gobbling down your food too fast
- Swallowing air when you eat or drink
- Chewing gum
- Breathing in polluted air
- Stress and anxiety
If these innocuous reasons are behind hiccups, then you have nothing to worry about. It is nothing more than a mild annoyance.
Are Hiccups Serious?
Sometimes, a graver ailment can be the cause of hiccups. If you get hiccups all day, which refuses to subside and this goes on for more than 48 hours, you should head to a doctor’s clinic as soon as possible.
Continuous hiccups could be a sign of-
- Damage of the vagus or the phrenic nerve
- Tumour of the brain
- Gastroesophageal Reflux or GERD
- Liver damage
- Certain medication might cause hiccups as a side-effect
That is why, do not ignore continuous hiccupping, especially if it is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain and fever, blood in sputum, breathlessness, and splitting headaches.
Best Way to Get rid of Hiccups
There are plenty of home remedies for hiccups –
- Drink a glass of water
- Hold your breath for as long as possible
- Suck on a lemon
- Gargle with water
- Sniff smelling salts
These tricks usually work on hiccups. Even if they don’t, most hiccups go away on their own.
But if a health disorder is causing them, then your doctor will run diagnostic tests that will reveal the ailment and then you will be put on medication. Your hiccups will disappear as soon as the underlying disease is cured.
Hiccups may cause discomfort and social embarrassment. But they may be more sinister than they appear. So take the requisite actions.