• Dr Kendra Clifford ND

Do you ever get the hiccups?

Have you ever gotten the hiccups and they just won't go away?

A few weeks ago I had the WORST case of hiccups I have ever had, they came and went over a period of a few HOURS. After the first hour I was just about willing to try anything to get rid of them (see picture above - drinking water upside down, as suggested by a family member). Following this episode I realized I didn't really know a whole lot about the hiccups, so here goes.

Hiccups are caused by a spasm of the diaphragm muscle, followed by the quick closing of the glottis (the opening between the vocal cords that closes to stop the flow of air to the lungs).

There are a number of reasons why you can get the hiccups.

Most commonly they are due to a decreased level of carbon dioxide in the blood. This can be triggered by laughing, talking, eating or drinking. Less commonly they can be caused by irritation of the diaphragm (caused by pneumonia, surgery, or high levels of certain waste products in the blood).

There are a number of home remedies that can be used to stop the hiccups! Most involve increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. These include:

- Holding your breath

- Breathing into a paper bag

- Stimulating the vagus nerve - this can be done by drinking water quickly, gently pulling on your tongue or gently rubbing  your eyeballs

So there is some science to the old remedies - I don't know whether or not I had to be upside down to drink the water quickly but it worked!

Thats all for now!

Dr Kendra Clifford ND

The information in this post is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice.



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