Hiccups can be a sign of a serious disease, and can eventually lead to death in some instances. Dr. Nooristani weighs in on what hiccups are, how to get rid of them, and red flags that you may be experiencing a serious condition.
Hiccups are continuous spasms of your diaphragm combined with the “hic” sound from the vocal cords closing. According to Dr. Nooristanti, the common causes of hiccups include:
- Eating too much or too quickly
- Swallowing air while sucking on candy
- Eating spicy food
- Chewing gum
- Drinking carbonated beverages
- Too much stress
- Alcohol consumption
It’s important to pay close attention to hiccups if they stretch beyond 48 hours. According to Clevelandclinic.org, hiccups that don’t go away within a few days are called “persistent.” While experiencing hiccups for a long duration of time, such as a couple of months, is rare, they can be exhausting and stressful.
Unraveling the Mysteries of Hiccups
“In some cases, the episodes can last for months. The cause is usually a nerve or nerves that are irritated either outside the brain (peripheral) or inside the brain (central). Diseases that can cause hiccups could be the ones that you currently have or could be a new disease that you have not been diagnosed with”, says Dr. Nooristani.
According to Webmd.com, these underlying conditions include diabetes, kidney failure, meningitis, and encephalitis. Additionally, many drugs that you are taking for various health conditions can cause hiccups.
Hiccups can be an extremely dangerous health condition that needs a complete workup by your healthcare provider. Severe and prolonged hiccups may lead to exhaustion, fatigue, malnutrition, weight loss, dehydration, and even death in extreme situations.
According to Dr. Nooristani, the following tried-and-true antidotes have been around for centuries with high success rates. While there is no affirmative scientific data to prove or disprove these practices, they are safe and easily done.
- Breath into a bag, or hold your breath for 20 seconds. Repeat several times.
- Perform the Valsalva maneuver
- Drink or gargle iced water
- Bite on a lemon
- If you are on some type of antibiotics, ask your healthcare provider to switch you to a different one.
- Acupuncture has shown improvement in certain types of hiccups.
- Eat peanut butter.
Also, there are certain medications that can be prescribed.
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