Q: Please Doc, What Causes Excessive Hiccup In New Born Babies And The Remedies? Thank you.
A: Hiccups refer to involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the thin muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. This is followed by sudden closure of the vocal chords with the resulting hiccup sound at the top of the windpipe.
Hiccups are quite common in babies under one year of age but can affect any age group. They usually occur without provocation and last for a few minutes before disappearing. These episodes in older age groups may be linked to:
- Eating or drinking too quickly (in which case a lot of gas/air is taken in)
- Drinking alcohol
- Drinking fizzy or hot drinks
- Sucking on candy
In babies, hiccups are usually due to feeding (breast feeding, formula or any other foods) and usually more of a nuisance to you, the parent than the baby. If the hiccups are uncontrollable though, especially if they occur with vomiting, please see your baby’s doctor as it could be due to a more serious problem.
In adults too, hiccups may last for prolonged periods and in these cases are associated with underlying medical conditions:
- Neck tumours
I am sure most of you may have tried many home remedies like
- Putting a thread on your head! This one is laughable and I do not know anyone it has helped.
- Sipping on cold water. Well, if it helps, why not?!
- Holding your breath for a bit. Again, if it helps, go for it.
Specifically in babies, to prevent hiccups, keep your baby in an upright position for about 20 to 30 minutes after a feed, do not bounce them around after a meal and try not to let your baby cry and fuss before a meal (this may lead the baby to suck in a lot of air while feeding). These may help.
For adults, I suggest that you note the triggers noted here (generally, things that make you gassy), stay away from them and see if that helps. The triggers for belching and hiccups are basically same…factors that cause you to swallow a lot of air. Don’t stay away from food completely….we need you alive 😀 I believe this will help. Be sure to also check in with your doctor for a proper diagnosis to be made, if this continues.
Most cases of hiccups do not require treatment. However, some may persist requiring treatments depending on the underlying condition.
Have a good night, people 😀