Causes Of Hiccups - What Are Hiccups ?

What are hiccups?

The hiccup is a periodically occurring spontaneous involuntary contraction of the diaphragm during inhalation, followed by the sudden closing of the epiglottis which causes a characteristic sound. These contractions follow one another at an interval of one or several seconds. The hiccup is not rhythmic, frequency ranges from 2 to 60 times per minute. The phenomenon is common and is unpleasant, but usually harmless and short-lived. Hiccups is named for the sound that is created there.

 The hiccup is a periodically occurring spontaneous involuntary contraction of the diaphra Causes Of Hiccups - What Are Hiccups ?

What causes hiccups ?

Researchers from the University of Calgary set for the hiccup is an evolutionary remnant of our earlier amphibian respiration; amphibians like frogs swallow air and water through a simple motor reflex similar to our hiccups. Moreover, it appears that the nerves that allow hiccups already present in the early phase embriotische, before the neural pathways that regulate normal breathing. The hiccup is a history of complicated lung breathing. Fetal hiccups is a normal phenomenon, and occurs from the 8th week of pregnancy. The more mature the lungs of the baby, hiccups decreases. Premature babies hiccup relatively more, up to about 2.5% of the time, because their lungs at birth are less developed than those of a full-term newborn. Two important nerves that are involved in the hiccups, the phrenic nerve and vagus nerve. A number of treatment methods is aimed to interrupt the irritation of the nerves.

Hiccups can also be considered a myoclonus of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, followed by closure of the glottis (tuner).

Short-term hiccups
Usually lasts only a few minutes. Precipitating factors:
  • Strong filling of the stomach (fizzy drink or eat too fast)
  • Spicy food
  • Sudden temperature change
  • Smoking
  • Unrest
  • Alcohol
  • Laugh Convulsions
Chronic hiccups
If the hiccups persist for more than 48 hours, or often comes back is called chronic hiccups. This is more common in men than in women. Chronic hiccups is not only annoying, but also a threat to health: eating disorders, insomnia, weight loss, fatigue, heartburn (risk of aspiration of acidic stomach contents) and arrhythmia. A famous case is that of Charles Osborne, which for 68 years had the hiccups. With him was never clear what the cause of hiccups. causes:
  • Lung diseases (including pneumonia and lung cancer)
  • Cardiac disorders (such as after a heart attack)
  • Stomach disorders (including stomach cancer, peritoneal inflammation and gastritis)
  • Brain disorders (including brain damage and neoplasm)
  • Uraemia
  • Hyponatremia
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Addison's disease

Hiccups treatment

  • Chlorpromazine. Disadvantages associated with the use of chlorpromazine are drowsiness, emotional numbness and movement disorders (extrapyramidal symptoms). It has been since 2008 only to get as pharmacy preparation, before it was available in tablet form and as an injection under the trade name Largactil.
  • Baclofen, agent against spasticity, a GABA-B agonist.
  • Antipsychotic drugs, in particular haloperidol (Haldol) (off-label use).
  • Anti-epileptic drugs such as carbamazepine, phenytoin and gabapentin, in connection with the component of the myoclonic hiccups (off-label use).
Alternatives, as medicines do not help:
  • Vomit
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Acupuncture
If none of this helps, you can consider a surgical blockade of the phrenic nerve. This procedure can lead to breathing difficulties.


Some of these "home remedies" is also mentioned in the medical literature, but systematic examination was not carried forward. In chronic hiccups they usually do not help.

Interrupting the breathing rhythm
  • Breath (possibly while drinking a small amount of water)
  • Farmers
  • Breathing into a bag
  • The Valsalva maneuver: with mouth and nose to try to breathe out
  • Physical exercise in order to accelerate the breathing
  • Relax and breathe deeply several times
  • Drinking water, possibly with the head down
  • Talk
  • Quiet, regular breathing; through the nose, out through the mouth
  • Invoking a sneeze reflex, for example, by tickling in the nose with a tissue
  • Flattening the ears, through the left and right pushing on the tragus, and at the same time through a straw to drink a glass of water empty. This method is recommended by Ten Holter (see bibliography)
Irritate nasal pharynx and uvula
  • Pull the tongue
  • Pushing the uvula with a spoon up
  • Ice cream eating or gargling with ice water
Irritation of the vagus nerve
  • Putting pressure on the area above the eye sockets
  • Massaging the sinus carotidicus (this is not recommended)
  • "Dabben" in the internal or external auditory canal
  • As a diversion, for example by thinking about other things
  • Eating a slice of lemon
  • Putting pressure on the stomach (prone with pillow under the stomach, or leaning against the table)
  • Keeping the upper body limp

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