Q: Hello Doctor my dad is having hiccups and it’s really irritating because he can’t eat even if he drinks water it doesn’t stop. We went to different hospitals, no help. What can be the cause and its treatment?
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 and can affect any age group. They usually occur without provocation and last for a few minutes before disappearing. These episodes may be linked to:
- Bloating…which may be a factor in your case, given your belching.
- Eating or drinking too quickly (in which case a lot of gas/air is taken in. Again, this could be a factor in your case)
- Drinking alcohol
- Drinking fizzy or hot drinks
- Sucking on candy
However, sometimes hiccups may last for prolonged periods and in these cases are associated with underlying medical conditions:
- Neck tumours
Most cases of hiccups do not require treatment. However, some may persist requiring treatments with drugs, injection of medications and/or surgery depending on the underlying condition.
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.
So, 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.
Have a good night, people 😀