Hiccups

Last Updated on Sep 16, 2019
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Treatment

Most often hiccups go away on their own spontaneously. Most treatments are aimed at breaking the hiccup cycle by stimulating the nerves at the back of the throat or stimulating the diaphragmatic muscles.

"...hold your breath, and if after you have done so for some time the hiccup is no better, then gargle with a little water, and if it still continues, tickle your nose with something and sneeze, and if you sneeze once or twice, even the most violent hiccup is sure to go." --Eriximachus the physician to Aristophanes, in Plato's Symposium

Some of the other tips to stop the hiccups include:-

  • Placing a teaspoon of granulated sugar at the back of the tongue and swallow it
  • Slowly sipping a glass of water without pausing to take breath
  • Breathing into a paper bag.
  • Stimulating the back of mouth or mouth roof with finger
  • Pulling the tongue
  • Sit, lean forward and compress the chest and diaphragm against the knees

Hiccups last only a few minutes but in some medical conditions it may last for days or weeks. If the hiccups persist, a doctor may have to medically intervene to alleviate the problem. A tube is passed through the nose into the stomach to release the trapped air, simultaneously tapping the back of the throat.

Sometimes tranquilizers, muscle relaxants or anti -spasmodic medications are administered.

Serious hiccups can be complicated to treat and the underlying cause has to be detected.

Drugs used to hiccups include:

  • Chlorpromazine,
  • Baclofen,
  • Anticonvulsants

If hiccups last for 48 hours, a doctor must be consulted.

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