Getting hiccups a lot: Hiccups – Symptoms and causes
How can I get rid of my newborn baby’s hiccups?
Hiccups are common in babies under a year old and are usually nothing to worry about. Many babies even get hiccups in the womb. If you felt a rhythmic jerking sensation during late pregnancy, it could well have been your baby hiccuping!
Frequent hiccups shouldn’t bother your baby, or cause him any problems. In fact, some babies have even been known to sleep straight through a bout of hiccups.
What causes hiccups in babies?
A hiccup happens when the muscle below your baby’s lungs (diaphragm) contracts. Experts aren’t sure exactly why this happens, but hiccups are sometimes linked to:
- eating and drinking, particularly if air is swallowed at the same time
- strong emotions, such as excitement or stress (for example, getting worked up before a feed)
In babies, persistent hiccups is sometimes associated with bringing up milk after a feed (reflux). Babies get reflux because the muscular valve at the end of the food pipe, which acts to keep food in the tummy, hasn’t developed properly yet.
This means that when your baby’s tummy is full, food and acid can come back up. This may cause him to hiccup and bring up small amounts of milk (possetting). Learn more about reflux.
What can I do to stop my baby getting hiccups?
There are a few things you can try to help prevent your baby getting hiccups so often:
- Try to feed your baby in a more upright position.
- Hold your baby upright for up to 20 minutes after each feed.
- Try giving your baby smaller feeds more often.
- If you bottle-feed your baby, try to minimise the amount of air he swallows. Tilt the bottle so that the milk completely fills the teat before offering it to your baby. You could also consider an anti-colic bottle.
If your baby gets hiccups a lot, or if they last for hours at a time, speak to your GP or health visitor. If your baby is bottle-fed and also has reflux, your GP may suggest a trial of thickened formula to see if this makes a difference. She’ll advise you on what type of thickener to use and how much to add to each feed. Don’t try to thicken your baby’s formula yourself without speaking to your GP or health visitor first.
Hiccups can also happen when you’re weaning your baby, especially if he’s eating too quickly, or swallowing air whilst chewing. Try not to rush your baby through his meal times. Take a relaxed approach and make sure that he’s sitting upright in his highchair when he’s eating.
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This article was written using the following source:
CKS/NICE. 2009. GORD in children. Clinical Knowledge Summaries/National institute for Health and Care Excellence. cks.nice.org.uk [Accessed February 2014]
Fetal hiccups won’t harm your baby – they’re totally normal! | Your Pregnancy Matters
What does the science say?
There are several problems with the study that suggests hiccups are associated with potentially dangerous umbilical cord compression. The researcher speculates that hiccups are a hyper-reactive response to reduce blood flow from a knotted or compressed umbilical cord.
Umbilical cord problems are always high on our radar. Patients worry about this, and we are always on top of the latest research and data on the topic. That said, I’ve never encountered any data that suggest fetal hiccups are associated with poor pregnancy outcomes – either in published research or anecdotally in the clinics at UT Southwestern.
When we see cord compression, it’s usually in the presence of other events, such as:
- When the patient’s water breaks early. Less fluid around the umbilical cord means there’s a chance the baby could roll onto it, reducing blood flow. We typically put patients in the hospital after their water breaks to monitor the fetal heart rate as an indicator of potential issues.
- Labor and delivery. This happens fairly often. When the uterus contracts, it can compress the umbilical cord. When the uterus relaxes, the compression usually goes away. This appears as variable decelerations on the fetal heart monitor and is no cause for alarm.
If we are to believe that hiccups are a result of cord compression, it would stand to reason that fetuses would develop hiccups in these instances. But I’ve never seen this reported from any institution, and I’ve never seen it happen in my many years as a clinician.
Fetal heart rate is a known marker of well-being, as is being able to feel the baby move. In a 2017 study published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 150 women who had stillbirths in the third trimester responded to a poll regarding their memories around fetal movement, including fetal hiccups. The researchers compared these women’s responses with those of 500 women who had live births or were still pregnant in the same timeframe.
Approximately 80 percent of women in both groups remembered experiencing fetal hiccups – there was no significant difference between the responses of either group of women, suggesting that fetal hiccups are not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. The same was true when the data were adjusted by maternal age, body mass index, smoking, or whether the patient felt daily or prolonged hiccups.
Slightly more women who had a stillbirth recalled daily fetal hiccups than those in the control group – 58% vs. 44% – but when this many report daily hiccups, it can’t be used as a marker for a fetal problem.
The mysterious science of hiccups: why we get them and how to stop them
Pretty much everyone has had a case of the hiccups at one point or another. They’re quite common and quite annoying, and your friends likely have different tips about how to make them go away. But is there any scientific data about what works and what doesn’t? And why do people hiccup, anyway?
Even scientists are a little bewildered by this. “We still don’t know what hiccups do, and our cure for them hasn’t improved since Plato,” says Robert Provine. He’s a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County who studies the evolution of behavior, and he researched hiccuping extensively for his book Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond.
One problem, Provine notes, is that hiccups have been difficult to study: “You can’t just go into the lab and ask someone to hiccup for you. ” That means the research that exists typically concerns people with problematic hiccups that have lasted days, weeks, or years.
But that doesn’t mean we know nothing.
1) The world record holder hiccuped for more than 60 years
Hiccups happen when the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles involuntarily contract, causing someone to rapidly inhale. Then about 35 milliseconds later, the vocal cords slam shut, causing the characteristic “hic” sound. It’s a precisely timed series of events.
Doctors also call hiccups singultus or synchronous diaphragmatic flutter.
Having hiccups for an hour or two can be a bother. But hiccups that don’t go away can be a sign that there’s something seriously wrong with you.
The person generally cited as the world record holder for hiccups is Charles Osborne, an Iowa farmer who had them for 68 straight years — from 1922 to 1990.
Although he was able to have a normal life, some people with intractable hiccups (generally categorized as for more than a month or two) experience insomnia, drastic weight loss, and exhaustion.
And for people with just persistent hiccups (more than 48 hours), it can be a sign of a serious underlying health problem, including nerve damage, a brain tumor, kidney failure, or a reaction caused by various drugs.
So if you’ve had hiccups for more than two days, it could be time to see a doctor.
2) Some weird potential cures: rectal massage and sex
Many so-called hiccup cures have existed for quite some time — drinking water, holding your breath, eating sugar, having someone scare you, and on and on. But doctors are still trying new things.
Two publications from 1988 and 1990 describe case studies of a doctor massaging a patient’s rectum to cure intractable hiccups. And in 2000, another group reported a case of someone who had hiccups for four days and then was cured after ejaculating during sex.
Both activities stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps control unconscious activity of the heart and digestive tract.
Francis Fesmire, the doctor who published the first rectal massage study, later said that he would recommend sex as a cure instead. “An orgasm results in incredible stimulation of the vagus nerve,” he told New Scientist in 2006. “From now on, I will be recommending sex — culminating with orgasm — as the cure-all for intractable hiccups.”
3) Increasing carbon dioxide might decrease hiccups
The few folk remedies that seem to be based on a reasonable scientific concept involve holding your breath or breathing into a paper bag.
At least for patients with intractable hiccups, increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide they breathe has been shown to decrease how often they hiccup.
Holding your breath does something similar: “You’re blocking the motor pattern as well as leading to a buildup of carbon dioxide,” Provine says. Breathing into a paper bag would also increase carbon dioxide in the body.
4) The overall evidence on hiccup cures is sorely lacking
Despite all these intriguing possibilities about how to cure hiccups, the medical literature usually stops with just a case study of one or two patients. And that doesn’t really say much.
To know if something actually works, doctors need to perform a controlled medical trial where half the people receive the treatment in question and half receive a placebo for comparison. And hiccups just haven’t been a hot area for such trials, which can also be fairly expensive to do.
One recent systematic review of previous medical studies concluded: “We searched for good quality studies that involved adult patients (18 or older) who had experienced hiccups for 48 hours or more. Our conclusion is that there is insufficient evidence to recommend a particular treatment for hiccups.”
So if you end up with seriously intractable hiccups that have gone on for a really long time, doctors will pretty much just try a bunch of random things.
They might suction out your stomach or try various drugs. And they’ll hope something works. They’ll also look for underlying health problems that could be related to this hiccuping annoyance.
Some doctors, when less invasive treatments have failed, have attempted to stimulate the vagus nerve directly with an electrical implant or used an injection of an anesthetic to block the phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm. And they’ve reported a few cases where this has worked.
5) Scientists still aren’t sure why we hiccup
People have floated all kinds of ideas for why hiccuping exists, including some new ones in recent years. However, just because they’re newer doesn’t mean they’re better. Frankly, at this point, they’re all conjecture.
One published essay presents the hypothesis that it’s an evolutionary holdover from tadpole development. At a certain stage, tadpoles have both gills and lungs, which leads to some interesting breathing gymnastics.
Another is that hiccups are a burp-like reflex that used to help suckling baby mammals get rid of extra air in their stomachs.
And there are many others. Maybe someday someone will fund studies to get to the bottom of this, but it doesn’t seem to be high on the list of national priorities.
6) Fetuses get hiccups
Ultrasounds have detected hiccups in fetuses as young as 8 weeks old, and it’s one of the most common behaviors in the womb. At some points, a fetus is likely to hiccup every day, according to Provine.
Newborns also hiccup a fair amount, and the behavior then decreases with age.
This pattern suggests that hiccuping might have some sort of beneficial role in early development, but there’s no solid evidence as to what. For all we know, it might not.
Newborn Baby Hiccups: Causes, Cures and Prevention
From little coos to tiny yawns, babies do the most adorable things, but sometimes it’s hard to know if what they’re doing is a normal part of development. When your infant hiccups, it can sound cute and sweet, but you might be wondering—is it normal?
The short answer is yes. Baby and newborn hiccups are completely harmless and just one sign of baby’s growth and development. “Hiccups, which occur in the gastrointestinal tract, almost never indicate a problem in newborns or infants,” says Christal-Joy Forgenie, MD, a pediatrician with Soha Pediatrics in New York City. Still, they can be a little disturbing for you and your sweetheart. Wondering how to get rid of baby hiccups? Read on to learn possible causes and how long episodes may last—plus, how to stop baby hiccups or, better yet, prevent them altogether.
Why Do Babies Get Hiccups?
Just like in adults, infant hiccups are caused by spasms of baby’s tiny and developing diaphragm, the large muscle that runs across the bottom of the rib cage and moves up and down as we breathe. Though nobody knows for sure why we hiccup (it doesn’t seem to have any obvious, useful purpose), these spasms can be triggered by many things.
Newborn hiccups are most frequently caused by baby overfeeding, eating too quickly or swallowing a lot of air. “Any of these things can lead to stomach distention,” Forgenie says. When the stomach distends it actually pushes against the diaphragm, which causes it to spasm, and voilà—hiccups! Forgenie adds that it’s very common for newborn hiccups to set in after or even during a feeding.
Suffice to say, if baby starts hiccuping as you’re trying to offer more boob or bottle, consider it a hint to take a breather. Some experts believe baby hiccups can be the result of food and acid rising up from the stomach when baby is full. Baby hiccups can also be related to overeating or eating too quickly. To that end, you may be able prevent hiccups by feeding baby slowly and taking breaks for burping.
Baby hiccups can also be the result of sudden changes in stomach temperature. Say, for example, you give baby some cold milk and then a few minutes later feed them some warm rice cereal. According to Forgenie, this combination can actually trigger those baby hiccups.
In addition to feeding-related triggers, once in a while, a case of constant baby or newborn hiccups can be caused by something entirely different. The culprit is usually gastroesophageal reflux, or GER as it’s often called. When baby suffers from gastroesophageal reflux, partially digested food and acidic juices from the stomach flow back up into the esophagus causing burning and discomfort. Since the esophagus passes through the diaphragm, it can get irritated and lead to lots of baby hiccups. “It sounds intense, but it’s quite common and doesn’t always create problems for babies,” Forgenie says.
It’s important to note that hiccupping in and of itself isn’t a sign of reflux. Here are some other clues to look out for that could mean GER:
- Baby is crying more frequently
- Baby arches their back excessively during or after regular feedings
- Baby is spitting up more than normal
If you notice several of these symptoms and suspect those baby or newborn hiccups may be due to gastroesophageal reflux, speak to your pediatrician. The good news is the condition is easily treated.
How Long Do Baby Hiccups Last?
Babies can have hiccups multiple times a day, lasting for 10 minutes or longer. As a general rule, if baby acts happy and doesn’t seem uncomfortable, baby hiccups aren’t a cause for concern. “It can be worrisome, especially for new moms and dads, but hiccups tend to go away after a few minutes,” says Robin Jacobson, MD, a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone in New York City. You can just wait it out and allow the hiccups to resolve on their own. If the hiccups persist and seem to be causing baby distress, call your pediatrician to figure out the cause.
Can you put baby down with hiccups?
In most cases, it’s totally fine to put baby on their back when they have hiccups; those little diaphragm spasms don’t interfere with breathing so there’s no physical or medical reason not to. Of course, as you know, hiccups can be a pesky nuisance, and baby may find having a case annoying, disruptive or mildly uncomfortable, in which case, you may want to hold them upright until the hiccuping subsidies.
That said, babies who are hiccuping as a result of reflux may be prone to vomiting; if your little one seems to be having a painful GER episode, try keeping them upright. It’s always best to consult with your doctor if you have concerns.
How to Get Rid of Baby Hiccups
Now that you know why they can happen, you’re probably wondering: How do you get rid of baby hiccups? Even if baby hiccups are almost always harmless, it’s normal for you to want your child to get some relief from those incessant spasms. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the top tips for how to stop baby hiccups. (Hint: It has a lot to do with burping!)
Generally, if it seems baby or newborn hiccups are related to overfeeding, belly distention or reflux, “you can help alleviate hiccups by feeding baby smaller amounts more often, and remember to burp baby frequently,” says Karen Fratantoni, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at Children’s National Health System.
How to stop baby hiccups in breastfed babies
When offering baby your breast, be sure to mind these tips to help curb hiccups:
• Burp baby as you switch from one breast to the other.
• If swallowing air seems to be the main issue, it’s a good idea to reevaluate the latch. Make sure baby’s lips are sealed around the areola of your breast, not just the nipple.
How to stop baby hiccups in bottle-fed babies
Giving your little one a bottle? Here’s how to get rid of any resulting baby hiccups:
• Forgenie recommends stopping halfway through a bottle to burp baby and then complete the feeding after a 5- to 10-minute break. “Completing the feeding while baby is relaxed can actually end the hiccupping,” she says.
• Try repositioning the bottle so the air isn’t near the nipple, but is instead at the bottom of the bottle.
How to stop baby hiccups for bottle-fed or breastfed babies
Regardless of whether you’re giving baby the bottle or the breast, these tips can help to stop baby hiccups:
• Sit baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after each feeding.
• If there’s no identifiable cause of the hiccups, rubbing baby’s back or rocking them can also help.
What not to do for baby hiccups
While there are several ways to try and stop baby hiccups, there are a few things that should be avoided altogether:
• Never startle or scare baby to combat hiccups. “Really, none of that stuff works,” Jacobson says.
• Don’t put a wet cloth on their forehead, which doesn’t help either.
• Holding one’s breath is one remedy that should never be attempted on baby. It’s dangerous, plain and simple.
• Many people recommend pulling on baby’s tongue and pressing on their forehead or anterior fontanelle (the soft part of baby’s head), Forgenie says, but this can hurt baby. “Overall, the best thing to do is to wait it out and rest assured that the hiccups will resolve on their own,” she says.
How to Prevent Baby Hiccups
Of course, you may want to try a few tricks to prevent baby hiccups from happening in the first place. While there’s no guaranteed way to ward off hiccups, here are a few prevention tips to keep in mind:
• The key to preventing baby hiccups is to avoid overfeeding, Jacobson says. Take breaks during feedings to burp baby so the stomach doesn’t fill too much, too quickly.
• For bottle-fed babies, make sure to tip the bottle while feeding to limit the amount of air baby swallows.
• “Holding baby up for a few minutes after feedings before putting them down can help prevent baby hiccups,” Jacobson says, since how you position baby can impact any reflux.
Baby hiccups tend to happen less frequently as kids mature. “Usually by 6 months hiccups decrease a bit, but it’s not worrisome if, say, a baby of 9 months has the hiccups,” Jacobson says.
At the end of the day, remember that baby or newborn hiccups are rarely a cause for concern. “They’re a very common, benign occurrence in infants,” Fratantoni says. “You can try these remedies or just wait it out—they’re normal and will go away on their own.”
Yes, some infants are just prone to frequent hiccuping; in fact, plenty of babies get them in the womb too! (If you ever felt your bump jump in a rhythmic pattern, baby hiccups were likely the culprit!) Hiccups can be a minor disturbance, but that doesn’t mean they’re harmful. Nevertheless, if baby doesn’t stop hiccuping after a long period of time, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician. In the meantime, if your infant has the occasional episode here or there, try to worry less and enjoy the adorable little high-pitched sound while it lasts…
Christal-Joy Forgenie, MD, is a pediatrician with SoHa Pediatrics in New York City. Before joining SoHa, Forgenie worked at Montefiore Medical Center and then went on to work in private practice in Washington Heights. She earned her medical degree from Stonybrook University School of Medicine in New York.
Karen Fratantoni, MD, MPH, is a pediatrician at Children’s National Health System and the medical director of the Complex Care Program. She earned her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Robin Jacobson, MD, is a pediatrician and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone in New York City. She earned her medical degree from Tufts University.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Plus, more from The Bump:
What to Do for a Gassy Baby
Colic 101: How to Help Soothe Your Colicky Baby
What to Know About Using Gripe Water for Colic and Tummy Troubles
Hiccups During Pregnancy (Are Hiccups a Pregnancy Symptom?)
Do you find yourself hiccuping a lot now that you’re pregnant? Are you wondering why that is and what it could mean for your baby?
We expect a lot of side effects during pregnancy. Constant hiccups are not usually one of them! Women expect aches and pains, nausea, and even acne. These “little” things can cause big stress. Let’s break down hiccups, so it isn’t one of these things.
What Causes Hiccups?
Hiccups are caused by involuntary contractions of your diaphragm. The diaphragm is a long muscular membrane that separates the thoracic cavity and abdominal cavity; it’s one of the main muscles of respiration. So hiccups are basically just a muscle spasm of your diaphragm (1).
Normally hiccups clear up on their own, but in rare cases they can go on for days, weeks, months, or even years in some rare cases.
Are Hiccups An Early Sign Of Pregnancy?
Hiccups can absolutely be a sign of early pregnancy, this is because many of the causes of hiccups are related to other pregnancy symptoms.
This is because many of the causes of hiccups are related to other pregnancy symptoms.
Here are some of the other reasons you might get hiccups:
- You’re short of breath.
- You feel sick.
- You have indigestion.
- You’re eating unusual foods.
- You’re stressed.
In other words, you might not notice you are craving unusual foods more often, or that you’re feeling a bit sick a few times a day, but your body does notice.
But because most women will notice a missed period, nausea, or breast tenderness first, hiccups aren’t a reliable sign. They’re just another one of those neat little early pregnancy symptoms that start making us aware of everything that’s going on.
Why Can’t I Stop Hiccuping?
Hiccups stop being a so-called neat symptom when they are constant. Some pregnant women find they are hiccuping all day and all night, waking up with hiccups, or having a random episode pretty much every day.
And if you have had an extended episode of hiccups before, you will know just how annoying it can be when they won’t go away.
In A Nutshell
The good news is pregnancy itself is not causing your hiccups. The bad news is not all pregnancy hiccups can be eliminated.
The biggest cause is nausea and indigestion. When we are not digesting our food well, when we have just vomited, or when we feel about to vomit, we can start hiccuping.
Although some of this can be avoided, if you are one of the unfortunate women who have persistent nausea throughout pregnancy, your hiccups might be just as persistent. But once your beautiful baby is born all of the symptoms disappear.
Emotional stress and excitement can make you hiccup too. Even if your hiccups are caused by indigestion, they might be made worse by being too overexcited.
Practicing meditation, has many benefits, for you and your baby. And taking the time to slow down and relax may allow those pesky hiccups to go away (2).
Can Hiccuping Too Much Hurt My Baby?
Some women suppress their hiccups, worried the pressure of the belly tensing might harm their babies.
But there’s no evidence at all that hiccups harm babies. And if you are worried about anything persistent always speak to your care provider.
I Can’t Eat Because Of Hiccups
Many women have difficulties with food during pregnancy. Morning sickness, worsened allergies, and food aversions are all common.
If hiccups are stopping you from eating, then you have double the problems — and all at a time when it is very important to eat well. It’s like our bodies are trying to get us not to eat.
If your hiccups are stopping you from eating, you might find it easier to carry some high carb, low sugar, low salt, low-fat snacks.
- Low salt crackers.
- Rice cakes or corn cakes.
- Unflavored popcorn.
- Dry cereal.
These are less likely to cause indigestion than other foods. And try to snack a little bit between hiccup episodes.
It might be tempting to have a huge feast as soon as the hiccups are gone, but this can make them start again. Even if you feel absolutely starving, try and pace yourself and snack on easy-to-digest foods.
Hiccups Are Keeping Me Up All Night
If your hiccups are stopping you from sleeping, then one of two things is likely happening, either your before-bed meal was too heavy or your stress level is elevated at night.
If you eat a large meal right before bed, snack in bed, or wake up in the night for snacks, you are probably not eating enough during the day.
- Try to eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day, when you are not so vulnerable to nausea or indigestion.
- Try to avoid fatty and protein-rich foods before bed.
- Limit acidic, spicy, and vinegary foods, these can increase acid reflux which indirectly may irritate your diaphragm which will cause more hiccups!
If your diet is not a trigger for your hiccups, or you don’t eat much before bed, and you still get them, it could be stress. The same way that anxiety at night can cause insomnia, it can cause hiccups.
In this case, you might want to talk to your doctor or a therapist about your concerns. This is when meditation can help you again, new apps are available like Expectful and Headspace to help you train your mind to relax.
How Can I Get Relief From My Hiccups?
We’ve already explored a few ways to prevent hiccups — eat a balanced diet to avoid indigestion and do not get too emotional or excited. Both of which are easier said than done normally but especially during pregnancy.
So what can we do when we inevitably don’t eat properly or when we inevitably do get excited? Here are a few tips to help eliminate hiccups:
- Have things that make you swallow. Drinking water, dissolving sugar in the mouth, or sucking on sour candy can all make us swallow, and that motion can help relax the diaphragm.
- Lie down to fight indigestion. If you have serious indigestion, lying down can help relax the diaphragm.
- Do breathing exercises. Practice deep breathing, slow your thoughts and in turn relax your muscles.
Although all these tips are worth a try, none are guaranteed to help. The only guaranteed cure for hiccups is time.
Is It Silly To See My Doctor About Hiccups?
Not at all! Chances are, if you want to see your doctor, you haven’t been having hiccups for just 2 to 5 minutes, right?
Normally by the time we consider seeing a doctor, we have had hiccups for a day, or we have had one or more episodes of hiccups every day for a week.
These are not normal hiccup patterns and are worth checking out, especially if you have had consistent hiccups for over 48 hours.
Hiccups that last this long are very rare and are often a symptom of a physical problem.
Illnesses that can cause persistent hiccups include:
- Breathing conditions such as asthma or pneumonia.
- Heart conditions such as pericarditis.
- Digestive conditions such as reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, or appendicitis.
- Nerve conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
- Metabolic conditions such as diabetes, or Addison’s disease.
- A hernia.
- An infection that is affecting the nerves in the gut.
- A bad reaction to certain medications or drugs.
Keep In Mind
It’s always a good idea to speak with a health professional for any concern during pregnancy.
Hiccups during pregnancy, most of the time, are nothing to worry about. They mean you are excited and nauseous, and they will go away on their own. They will not hurt you or your baby.
Unless you have hiccups for two or more days without relief, they’re just another annoying side effect of being pregnant.
Newborn hiccups: How to get rid of baby hiccups
Yes, hiccups are common in babies under a year old.
Babies even hiccup in the womb – as early as 21 weeks – which sometimes alarms pregnant moms but is totally normal.
Hiccups are usually harmless and don’t bother babies. “It’s a nuisance to parents, but not so much to the baby,” says Lynnette Mazur, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. “Unless the hiccups interfere with daily activities like sleeping or eating, there’s no need to see a healthcare provider.”
Still, there are some steps you can take to help get rid of your newborn’s hiccups if you find them bothersome.
Why do babies get hiccups?
Hiccups happen when the diaphragm (a muscle at the bottom of the rib cage) gets irritated or stimulated. The muscle contracts involuntarily – or spasms – causing air to be sucked into the throat. As the air comes in, the vocal cords quickly close in response, producing the telltale “hic!”
Experts aren’t sure why newborns tend to hiccup so much, but one hypothesis is that they may help babies get excess air out of their tummies.
While there’s no consensus on exactly what causes infant hiccups, possibilities include:
- Eating too much (breast milk, formula, or other food)
- Eating too quickly
- Swallowing too much air
How to get rid of baby hiccups
There are a lot of theories on how to deal with your baby’s hiccups. While there’s not much scientific evidence on what works best, here are tips that some parents find helpful:
- Wait for the hiccups to stop: While this may be frustrating, sometimes it’s all you can do. Hiccups will typically go away after a few minutes.
- Give your baby a pacifier: Sucking may help your baby relax her diaphragm. Mazur says this “won’t really hurt and might help, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”
- Burp your baby: To cut down on the amount of air in your baby’s tummy, while feeding her, take breaks to burp her. If you’re breastfeeding, you might burp your baby when you switch breasts. If your baby is formula-fed, pause every few ounces for burping.
- Rub your baby’s back and/or tummy: Again, helping baby relax her diaphragm might get rid of the hiccups.
- Feed your baby: Babies with reflux sometimes hiccup a lot. Short, frequent feedings and holding your baby upright after she eats can help.
Don’t try to cure hiccups by startling your baby, pressing on her eyeballs, pushing on her fontanel, or pulling her tongue, which are common folk remedies in some cultures. There’s no proof that any of these methods work, and you could hurt your baby.
Also, don’t give your baby water to get rid of the hiccups. Babies younger than 6 months should only drink breast milk or formula, and older babies should only be given very small sips of water when they’re thirsty.
How to prevent infant hiccups
You can’t always prevent your baby from getting hiccups, but these strategies to keep her from getting too much air in her tummy might help:
- Burp her during feedings.
- Keep her upright when you feed her. This will help the air rise so she can burp it out.
- Feed your baby as soon as she shows signs of hunger. Waiting until she’s very upset can make her swallow more air while feeding.
- Use the right size nipple, with a hole that’s not too big or too small for your baby. (If it’s too big, the formula or breast milk might flow out too quickly, and if it’s too small, he might gulp air when he doesn’t get enough milk.
- Make sure your breastfeeding baby has a good latch. If you’re not sure, talk with a lactation consultant.
- Don’t overfeed your baby. Overfilling her tummy can result in gas.
How long do baby hiccups last?
Usually, a baby will have the hiccups for only a few minutes. Try not to project your feelings about having the hiccups on your baby while you wait it out – she’s probably just fine with it!
Are hiccups bad for babies?
No, not usually. Most hiccups in babies are harmless, and will mostly go away once your baby is a year old.
However, frequent hiccups can be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease in babies. Also, in rare cases, hiccups that last an unusually long time can be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition.
Mention the hiccupping to your doctor if your baby:
Dog Hiccups: What You Need to Know
By Helen Anne Travis
Let’s be honest: It’s pretty adorable when our dogs get the hiccups. And when the hiccups happen to puppies? Don’t even get us started.
But could hiccups ever be a problem for pets? And do they bother our dogs as much as they bother us?
Our vet experts explain what causes the hiccups, how to help your dog, and when to call the veterinarian to make sure the hiccups aren’t a symptom of a more serious medical condition.
What Causes Hiccups in Dogs?
Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, says Dr. Audrey J. Wystrach, co-founder and chief operating officer of ZippiVet veterinary practice in Austin, Texas.
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped sheet of internal skeletal muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, she says. It’s the primary muscle involved in respiration. When a dog breathes in, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward, making more room in the chest cavity for the lungs to expand. When a dog breathes out, the diaphragm relaxes and moves up into the chest cavity. Normally, the movements of the diaphragm are smooth and regular, but when the muscle suddenly spasms, we call it a hiccup.
Involuntary diaphragmatic tics also cause hiccups in humans, says Dr. Stephanie Liff, a veterinarian and owner of Pure Paws Veterinary Care in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Hiccups can be brought on by eating or drinking too fast and swallowing too much air, she says.
Hiccups may also happen when dogs are excited or stressed, or when they inhale an irritant, Wystrach says. Energetic play and rapid breathing can also bring them on.
Reverse sneezes may sometimes be confused for hiccups, she says. But this is different. Reverse sneezes happen when a dog vigorously sucks in air through her nose.
How Common Are Dog Hiccups?
The condition is much more common in puppies than adult dogs, Liff says. Most dogs experience them at least once when they’re young, she adds.
Puppies are more prone to hiccups than adult dogs because of their high energy and excitement levels, Wystrach says. They’re more likely to eat or drink too fast, and are more prone to rapid bursts of energy, which may impact their breathing.
Their internal organs and systems are also less mature than those of adult dogs, Liff says, which may contribute to an increased chance of hiccups.
How Can You Help a Dog with Hiccups?
Most hiccup spells only last a few minutes, Liff says. In her experience, dogs don’t appear as agitated by the hiccups as they do by other symptoms, like vomiting or coughing.
Still, after getting over the adorableness of their dog’s hiccups, most owners want to do something to help their pets. “Many cures for dogs are quite similar to those used by their owners when hiccups strike,” Wystrach says.
These may include giving dogs something sweet or adding syrup, honey, or sugar to their water, she says. The sweetness can help distract your dog, which can change and hopefully relax her breathing pattern, Wystrach says. “You might want to try a little bit of honey, maple syrup, Karo syrup, or anything sweet in a liquid form.”
Since hiccups are involuntary and can be violent at times, you don’t want to give the dog anything solid that requires a lot of chewing, as this could lead to choking, she says. Make sure to also avoid anything sugar-free, because those products often contain xylitol which can be very dangerous for dogs.
You may try massaging your dog’s chest to help relax the diaphragm, or even gently startling your pet. Encouraging light exercise can also help change your dog’s breathing patterns, Wystrach says.
But don’t let the hiccups stop you from playing with your pup, Liff says. “You can still treat them like a normal dog.”
When Should You Call a Doctor?
Liff says she gets a lot of calls from pet owners concerned about a doggie hiccup attack. For the most part, she tells them it’s nothing to worry about.
But in very rare cases, hiccups could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem, such as respiratory defects, pneumonia, asthma, pericarditis, or heat stroke, Wystrach says. If the condition persists for more than a few hours, it’s time to call your veterinarian.
90,000 Hiccups in adults and children. How to stop hiccups – clinic “Dobrobut”
Causes of hiccups in adults and children, how to get rid of
Hiccups in children and adults are often perceived as normal. But you need to know that in some cases it can be a sign of serious pathological problems. With constant and prolonged hiccups, a doctor’s consultation is necessary. A pediatrician will help to understand the causes of this problem in a child.Adults are advised to consult a neurologist.
Causes of hiccups
If the problem touches the child and bothers him regularly, then it is necessary to exclude the pathology and only then look for the cause. Perhaps the child just overeat, but the hiccups in newborns may be associated with an imperfect connection between the diaphragm and the brain or swallowing air during feeding. The problem can begin with hypothermia, so babies need to be dressed somewhat warmer than an adult.
Hiccups in adults may occur against the background of:
- fits of laughter.
90,013 carbonated drinks reception;
90,013 hysteria and sobs;
Quite often hiccups also occur during pregnancy due to increased intra-abdominal pressure. In addition, the condition in question can arise as a manifestation of stress, drug poisoning, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Regardless of what causes hiccups, you need to know how to quickly stop an attack of convulsive contraction of the diaphragm muscles – this is how this problem is classified in medicine.
How to get rid of hiccups
Hiccups in a small child are not harmful to health, but every effort must be made to end the attack. In no case should you frighten the baby – the grandmother’s way of quickly getting rid of hiccups can provoke disorders of the nervous system, since it is not yet fully formed.The optimal solution would be boiled water – literally a few sips and after 10-30 seconds the diaphragm will stop convulsively contracting.
How to get rid of hiccups in adults and older children:
- Suck and chew / swallow a lemon circle slowly;
- Sip slowly a glass of water at room temperature;
- eat 1-2 teaspoons of sugar with water (it is better to dissolve 2 pieces of refined sugar).
How to quickly get rid of hiccups: take the deepest possible breath, opening your mouth wide. You need to hold your breath with your mouth open for a few seconds. Usually the attack stops immediately, but the technique can be repeated several times. If the problem is triggered by hypothermia, dress warmly, drink hot tea, or cover yourself with a blanket.
What to do in case of hiccups, which occur frequently and are characterized by a prolonged attack? There are specific medications:
- Cisapride – taken 1 tablet before meals and 1 tablet at night;
- Baclofen – an average of 10 mg 3 times a day;
- Chlorpromazine – 25 mg intramuscularly 4 times a day.
Such prescriptions are made by a doctor, since self-administration of drugs is fraught with undesirable consequences, severe side effects.
About how to stop hiccups on your own and what will help the child, you can find out at an appointment with a neurologist or pediatrician. And you can sign up for a consultation with specialists on our website dobrobut.com
Causes of hiccups in infants – GBUZ “Perinatal center of the city of Armavir” MH KK
The first year of a baby’s life is a wonderful time full of love, tenderness and unexpected discoveries.But during this joyful period, alarming situations arise. For example, many parents are concerned that their infant has frequent hiccups. Let’s figure out why this happens and what to do.
Hiccups are an absolutely normal phenomenon that accompanies a person throughout his life. Why does it arise? The mechanism is simple: under the influence of certain factors, the diaphragm contracts with a simultaneous sharp closure of the airways. A state resembles short-term suffocation and is accompanied by a characteristic stifled sound. Such painless but unpleasant convulsive tremors are repeated several times in a row.
Babies encounter hiccups much more often than adults, because all their organs and systems are in the process of maturation. Normally, seizures can occur several times a day and last 10-30 minutes.
Why does the baby hiccup? The reasons are as follows:
- feeding errors leading to overeating, air swallowing (aerophagia) and flatulence
Let’s consider each factor in detail and find out what to do in order to help the baby.
In infancy, hiccups often occur after meals: the stomach fills with milk or formula, presses on the diaphragm, and it begins to contract. There is only one way to prevent this situation – to control the amount eaten by the crumbs.
When breastfeeding, pediatricians advise observing the intervals between meals of 1.5-2 hours and interrupting sucking if the baby eats for more than 15-20 minutes. With artificial nutrition, it is worth strictly observing the dosage of the mixture and the intervals between meals.
It is important not to go to the other extreme of taking too long breaks. In this case, the baby will greedily swallow milk during the long-awaited feeding and will definitely overeat. In addition, hunger and thirst can provoke hiccups as a result of reflex irritation of the walls of the stomach and diaphragm. In an infant over 6 months of age who is already consuming solid foods, cramping may result from eating too fast or eating dry foods.
If in the process of sucking the baby swallows a lot of air, then a bubble forms in the stomach, which gradually moves up and affects the respiratory muscles.Recommended for the prevention of aerophagia:
- Apply correctly to the chest. It is necessary for the child to grasp the entire areola of the nipple with his mouth. If milk is flowing abundantly, you can express it a little before feeding. The position of the crumbs during the meal should be almost vertical
- Choose the right nipple and bottle. Swallowing air during formula feeding is possible if the opening is too wide in the teat. Ideally, turning the bottle over should produce a few drops of milk per second.During feeding, you need to hold it so that the nipple is constantly filled with liquid. It is advisable to use anti-colic bottle
- After a meal, the child should be held upright for 5-10 minutes, pressing his tummy to his chest. Excess air bubbles will come out naturally. The same must be done with an attack of hiccups
Gases that accumulate in the upper intestines press on the stomach and displace the diaphragm. Prevention of flatulence in a baby is adherence to a nursing mother’s diet. Whole milk, corn, pulses, brown bread, fresh baked goods, carbonated drinks, fresh vegetables and fruits can cause increased gas formation. If the tummy is swollen after the mixture, then it should be changed in consultation with the pediatrician.
In case of flatulence, abdominal massage and carminative herbal preparations (with fennel, anise, dill, caraway seeds) or simethicone help.
Hypothermia and stress
Why does the baby still hiccup? Other reasons are related to the functioning of the nervous system.It’s about hypothermia and stress. In these situations, irritation of the vagus nerve, passing from the thoracic to the abdominal, and spasm of the diaphragm occur.
A crumb can freeze on a walk or in a cold room. He must be dressed warmer, covered with another blanket, or picked up and warmed.
Harsh sounds, bright lights, strangers, sudden change of scenery and so on can cause stress in a baby. What to do in this case? Remove the annoying factor, hug the child, stroke him, sing a song, attach to the breast.A grown up baby can be occupied with an interesting game or fairy tale.
Watch a short video about hiccups and how to deal with it. Do not forget to read the article to the end 90 140
Would you like to drink or not?
Drinking is an effective help during hiccups. But up to 6 months, many breastfed babies receive only milk. It is believed that they do not need additional fluid. If the baby hiccups, then this rule can be broken and give him some warm water from a spoon.This is important if the attack occurred after feeding, because in this case, additional attachment to the breast will only aggravate the problem.
A debilitating hiccup in an infant that does not subside for several hours or days may indicate a pathology, especially if it is supplemented:
- frequent and profuse regurgitation
- nervousness, fussiness
- incessant cough
Such symptoms are the reason for immediate medical attention.Why can they arise? There are a lot of serious diseases against the background of which abnormal hiccups appear. Among them:
- infections that can provoke inflammation of the brain – measles, rubella, toxoplasmosis and others
- craniocerebral trauma
- brain and lung tumors
- gastroesophageal reflux
- neuritis – damage to the diaphragm and so on
Algorithm of actions
What should parents do if a baby hiccups? Don’t panic and try to help him.Here are some tips:
- After feeding, pick up the baby in your arms in an upright position
- Give him some warm water
- Put the baby to the breast, if the cause of the hiccups is not overeating
- Warm it up in case of hypothermia
- Provide a calm atmosphere, entertain with a game or book
- Consult a doctor if the attack does not go away for more than an hour, and there are other signs of trouble
Hiccups in a baby after a meal or as a result of fright is a physiological reflex.In the first months of life, the baby’s body is actively developing, which is why it reacts so violently to external stimuli. With age, the frequency of seizures decreases markedly. Parents, on the other hand, should protect the peace of the baby, monitor his nutrition and respond in time to changes in the weather. The main thing during hiccups is not to create unnecessary fuss, because in fact, diaphragm spasms do not cause much discomfort to the child.
Doctors named a new non-obvious symptom COVID-19
Photo from archive
February 11, Minsk / Corr.BELTA /. Prolonged hiccups can be one of the rare signs of COVID-19, according to RIA Novosti.
The publication describes several cases from medical practice. The patients experienced hiccups, while their coronavirus tests were positive, and the results of the computed tomography also confirmed the diagnosis. It is also noted that the hiccups passed along with the first signs of recovery.
The National Health Service of Great Britain confirmed that the coronavirus really affects the diaphragm, as a result of which the patient can hiccup for a long time.
However, doctors warn that hiccups often occur for no reason and last for several minutes. It can be stress, intense emotional distress, or the body’s reaction to food or drink. In their opinion, a person should see a doctor only if he has hiccups for more than two days or if hiccups recur regularly.
90,000 Frequent belching of air – reasons and how to get rid of
Absolutely every person is familiar with the phenomenon of belching since childhood.Physiological belching is a normal process, which is a consequence of swallowing a small amount of air while eating (by the way, this is necessary in order to maintain intragastric pressure at an optimal level). However, what to do if belching hurts you often, while delivering discomfort – and this happens not only after eating? Let’s figure this out.
How to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy belching?
Normally, belching can happen 1-2 times immediately after eating; it does not have an unpleasant odor, food does not come out with belching.Eructation of this type does not indicate the presence of any pathologies and should not cause concern.
To reduce the incidence of physiological (“healthy”) belching, you can:
– try to speak less while eating;
– reduce the rate of food consumption;
– Chew food more thoroughly;
– give up chewing gum and gummy candies;
– reduce the consumption of carbonated drinks, cabbage, legumes.
More serious measures should be taken if, in addition to belching, you are worried about: bad breath, stomach pain, heaviness, nausea, throwing stomach contents into the oral cavity. If at least one of the above symptoms is present, contact your gastroenterologist for an examination.
How to cure unhealthy belching?
There is no remedy that would help to completely get rid of belching caused by this or that pathology.Remember that belching is only a symptom of the disease, i.e. – its consequence. Get examined by a doctor – maybe gastritis, or gastroesophageal reflux, or pinching of the vertebrae caused the belching (yes, this happens, and quite often!). Remember that there is also such a phenomenon as “nervous burping”, which can only be dealt with by consulting a psychologist.
Consultations of gastroenterologists, psychologists, as well as specialists in gastroscopy can be obtained at the Belsono Medical Center.If you need a gastroenterologist in Gomel – you’ve come to the right place! You can make an appointment by calling our center, as well as using the online registration form on the website. Be healthy!
ARE YOU CONCERNED WITH IKOTA?
Hiccups, which seem to be an insignificant reaction of the human body, can appear at the most crucial moment and significantly complicate life.
It is difficult, for example, to negotiate with a client if the person is constantly hiccuping…
Interesting fact about hiccups:
B Most people who have hiccups for more than a month begin to suffer from insomnia and exhaustion.
The causes of hiccups lie in the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. Within 35 milliseconds, the vocal cords collapse, causing a characteristic hiccup. Doctors call this sound synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF).
An interesting fact – the sound “ik” is international, in the spelling of the word “hiccups” in one language or another, the sound “ik” is easily guessed:
• Hıçkırık – in Turkish;
• Gikavka – in Ukrainian;
• Hicka – in Swedish;
• Hikka – in Finnish;
• Hiccup – in English;
• Hıçqırıq – in Azerbaijani;
• Yktytuu – in Kyrgyz.
But in German the word “hiccup” sounds like “Schluckauf”.
An interesting fact about the longest hiccups.
The record holder for the duration of hiccups was a farmer from Iowa, Charles Osborne, who hiccuped for 68 years (from 1922 to 1990).Osborne was able to adapt and lead a relatively normal life, managing to create a prosperous family. Throughout his life, Osborne hiccupped 430 million times, the frequency of hiccups reached 40 times per minute.
Doctors say that the methods of treating hiccups have not changed since the time of Plato. American neuroscientist Robert Provine wrote the book “Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccups”, in which he notes that one of the problems of studying hiccups is the inability to consciously call it for examination of a person.The researcher cannot tell the subject that now he should start hiccuping, the instruments are connected, and the experiment can be carried out. For this reason, studies are being conducted on people suffering from persistent, incessant hiccups, usually lasting several days or months. The results of these studies have revealed a number of interesting facts about hiccups.
An interesting fact about the treatment of hiccups: a short eye massage helps to get rid of hiccups.When massaging, you should close your eyes and massage the eyelids in the pupil area with smooth movements of the fingertips.
Traditional treatments for hiccups are still in use. Every person from childhood remembers that when hiccupping, you should drink water, hold your breath, eat a piece of sugar, or ask someone to cause severe fear. A scientific explanation has been found for these methods of treating hiccups: when you hold your breath, the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, which reduces the frequency of hiccups.You can breathe in a paper bag – this will lead to an increase in carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide) in the body.
New unusual treatments for hiccups are randomly identified. Hiccups are not the most common pathology that requires the allocation of time and money. The study is complicated by the lack of sufficient adults suffering from hiccups for 48 hours.
If hiccups occur, doctors offer a variety of treatments:
injections with phrenic nerve blocking anesthetic.
Under any circumstances, before starting treatment, a medical examination should be carried out to identify the hidden causes of prolonged hiccups.
Interesting fact about hiccups : in 50% of cases, persistent hiccups result from gastroesophageal reflux. Modern medicine recommends antacid (acid neutralizing) medications to combat this condition.
Traditional Chinese medicine widely practices massage.By massaging the point located behind the earlobe, you can get rid of not only hiccups, but also toothache.
90,000 Laughter in a child’s life – Family Doctor clinic.
Laughter, as a physiological feature given to each person, is an indicator of positive emotions and good mood. A person laughs at a joke he has heard or the realization that the situation is comical; in the same way, by laughing, a person shows a benevolent disposition towards the interlocutor or a desire to get closer to a person.Laughter is one of the methods of communication that is understandable to all people and does not have a speech barrier.
Laughter is a complex motor act consisting of contraction of the diaphragm muscles and accompanied by the work of the vocal apparatus. The center of laughter is localized in the brain stem, and the cerebellum, midbrain, and hypothalamus are involved in organizing laughter.
By the time of birth, the child does not know how to laugh, and his only means of communicating with the world is screaming.He shows them his needs and, up to a certain age, satisfies the emerging needs.
A newborn baby may smile, but it happens involuntarily. The smile of a newborn is not a positive emotion, but a spontaneous contraction of the facial nerves, as a result of the formation and development of the nervous system.
Only a peaceful environment, a feeling of comfort and safety can contribute to the further development of pleasant sensations. Consciously, the child begins to smile by the age of two months, he copies his mother’s smile and thus expresses his pleasure.
An energetic smile is a harbinger of laughter in an infant. The first attempts to laugh in a child appear as early as 2-2.5 months, they often resemble clucking, so they go unnoticed. And only from 3-4 months sonorous children’s laughter appears. Children laugh in response to being tickled, stroking their tummy or thrown into the air, and when a child hears unusual noises from an adult.
Laughter is the main evidence of a baby’s mental health and harmonious development. No one will be left indifferent by the bubbly and sincere laugh of the baby. Babies who have not even learned how to speak laugh especially touchingly.
The baby grows up, accumulates impressions while awake, and this can be expressed in laughter in a dream. There is no need to be surprised and afraid of this, such laughter is a kind of stage in the formation of the child’s mental and emotional development.
With the first laugh, parents have not only joy, but also questions.So, mothers often note that after laughing, the child begins to hiccup. This is quite normal, because during laughter, the respiratory organs are involved. A weak children’s diaphragm experiences previously unusual spasms, which lead to hiccups after laughing.
A kind smile of a mother, playing together with a child, carrying a baby in her arms, reading rhymes, pleasant music, bright and beautiful pictures, singing songs cause the manifestation of joyful emotions, form a contented smile and cause ringing laughter.
Smile, laugh with your children and be happy!
Information for you has been prepared by:
Lyalikova Yulia Viktorovna – pediatrician, gastroenterologist.Leads a reception in the Children’s Corps on Usacheva.
Hiccups – causes, diagnosis and treatment
A sudden attack of hiccups may be preceded by overeating, fast food with poor chewing of solid and dry foods, swallowing air, drinking heavily carbonated and alcoholic beverages. In young children and sometimes in adults, hiccuping is triggered by hypothermia. Some patients begin to hiccup after taking muscle relaxants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and other medications.Often, the symptom appears for no reason and goes away on its own within a few minutes.
At the time of an attack, a person experiences jerky contractions of the muscles in the epigastric region, accompanied by a protrusion of the anterior abdominal wall and a stifled sound. Due to the occlusion of the glottis for a short period of time, breath holding occurs. A feature of hiccups is the impossibility of its conscious control. With intense hiccups, moderate pain is sometimes noted behind the sternum, in the lower parts of the chest.For an attack of hiccups, rhythmic muscle contractions are characteristic at approximately equal intervals.
Prolonged, especially pathological hiccups often have a debilitating effect, can be accompanied by irritability, emotional instability, increasing asthenia, vegetative manifestations – sweating of the palms, pale or reddening of the skin, a decrease in the temperature of the skin of the distal extremities. With episodes that recur several times a day or several days a week, lasting more than an hour and combined with other disorders (heartburn, pain, shortness of breath, etc.)), you need to seek medical attention.
The main criteria used in the systematization of variants of hiccups are its relationship with pathological conditions, development mechanisms, duration. In most cases, hiccups are physiological in nature and are not associated with any disease. Diaphragmatic myoclonus arising against the background of various diseases and presented by such forms as:
- Central hiccup .It is mainly caused by disorders of the cerebral regulation of diaphragmatic contractions. It is observed in inflammation, tumors and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Perhaps the development of hiccups in functional disorders of the central nervous system.
- Peripheral hiccups . It is associated with damage to various parts of the phrenic and vagus nerves. Typical for volumetric processes of the mediastinum, diseases of the chest and abdominal cavity adjacent to the diaphragm.
- Reflected hiccups .It is provoked by pathological conditions in organs located outside the innervation zone of the vagus and phrenic nerve. It can be noted against the background of enteritis, colitis, helminthic invasions and diseases of the female reproductive sphere.
- Toxic hiccups . It becomes a consequence of the poisoning of the nervous system with endo- and exotoxins. It is detected in case of poisoning with mushroom poisons, alcohol and medicines (anesthetics, drugs), uremia, diabetic coma, terminal conditions.
Physiological hiccups are usually short-lived. With pathological contractions of the diaphragm, episodes of transient hiccups are distinguished (from several minutes to several hours), persistent hiccups lasting more than 2 days, and long-lasting (from a month or more). Although usually prolonged hiccuping indicates the presence of pathological prerequisites, in rare cases it can be observed in a healthy person.
Causes of hiccups
Hiccups in physiological conditions
Most often, hiccups are associated with improper eating habits: fast food, insufficient chewing, eating dry food, smoking on an empty stomach.Hiccups are also triggered by overeating and drinking heavily carbonated drinks, which leads to distension of the stomach, irritation of the vagal receptors. With a forced position of the body, fright, the passage of large pieces of solid food in the esophageal opening of the diaphragm, the vagus nerve can be impaired. In such cases, hiccuping is protective in nature and is aimed at restoring normal innervation.
In childhood, less often in adulthood, hiccups are the result of autonomic dysfunction caused by general hypothermia.During pregnancy, an increase in the frequency of hiccups episodes is potentiated by a complex of changes occurring in the woman’s body. The leading cause is the enlargement of the uterus, which is accompanied by an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and displacement of internal organs to the diaphragm. An additional factor is the increased emotionality of the pregnant woman.
Hiccups with brain damage
Hiccups in patients with cerebral pathology are usually caused by irritation of structures that directly or indirectly stimulate diaphragmatic contractions.Most often, attacks of hiccups are observed in pathological formations and processes in the posterior cranial fossa. However, the onset of a symptom is possible with a different localization of damage. The identification of often recurrent and persistent hiccups may indicate the development of diseases such as:
- Cerebrovascular accidents . Hiccuping attacks are characteristic of various types of stroke, especially hemorrhages in the ventricles of the brain. The addition of incessant hiccups serves as a prognostically unfavorable sign and is often a sign of deep destruction of the brain tissue with damage to the subcortical structures.
- Inflammatory processes . Hiccups develop as part of viral encephalitis in rubella, herpes simplex, poliomyelitis, and other inflammations caused by neutrotropic viruses (tick-borne, Japanese mosquito, lethargic encephalitis, etc.). Irritation of the areas of the brain that provoke hiccuping is observed in meningococcal, tuberculous, fungal and other meningitis.
- Cerebral volumetric neoplasms . Pathological efferentation, which potentiates hiccups, occurs with cysts and other volumetric processes that compress brain tissue.The symptom is more typical for brain stem tumors. In primary and metastatic malignant neoplasms, the situation is aggravated by the irritation of neurons during the germination of the neoplasm.
- Brain Injury . The causes of hiccups in patients with traumatic brain injury are edema of the brain tissue and irritation of the stem neurostructures due to intracranial hypertension. An additional factor is functional disorders of neuronal metabolism, provoked by traumatic injuries and causing pathological impulses.
- Epileptic disease . It is extremely rare for hiccups to become a manifestation of simple motor paroxysm in focal epilepsy. Diaphragm myoclonus in these patients is the result of pathological activity of the epileptogenic focus. Often, such hiccups are combined with other types of paroxysms, preceded by a developed seizure in the form of an aura, and is a manifestation of hyperkinesis.
- Functional disorders . Hiccups can be caused by dysfunction of the reticular formation, impaired secretion of certain mediators or their interaction with neuronal receptors.Such conditions are typical for patients with neuroses, somatoform dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, Birke’s syndrome. Hiccuping sometimes develops during a panic attack in children.
Hiccups for spinal pathology
Since the reflex arc, which causes myoclonic contractions of the diaphragm, is closed in the cervical segments of the spinal cord, hiccuping is associated with damage to the spinal tissue. Inflammation, trauma and volumetric processes are sometimes accompanied by increased activity of motor neurons, from the processes of which the phrenic nerve is formed.If persistent hiccups are present, exclude:
- Spinal column injuries . Damage to the gray and white matter of the spinal cord, provoking an uncontrolled contraction of the muscle fibers of the diaphragm, is observed in spinal bruises and compression fractures in the cervical spine. In spinal cord injuries, the appearance of continuous hiccups is considered an unfavorable sign.
- Spinal neoplasms . Pathological hiccups occur with ependymomas and other intramedullary tumors, in which segmental symptoms develop with irritation of spinal motor neurons in the zone of the volumetric process.The situation is aggravated by metabolic and destructive disorders in the damaged area.
- Myelitis . Hiccups, combined with shortness of breath, impaired urination and pain sensitivity, spastic paralysis of the extremities, is detected in infectious myelopathy and spinal epidural abscess with damage to the upper cervical region. The causative agents of inflammation that cause spinal injury are often HIV, syphilis, and coccal flora.
Hiccups for peripheral neuritis and neuropathies
The reflex development of pathological hiccups is observed with lesions of the roots of the spinal nerves, nerve plexuses and nerves connecting the diaphragm with the upper segments of the cervical brain.As an independent symptom, hiccups are rarely observed in patients. Often this manifestation is combined with other focal neurological symptoms within the framework of such pathological conditions as:
- Radicular syndrome . In osteochondrosis, spondylosis, intervertebral hernias, violent contractions of the diaphragm occur due to compression of the spinal roots at the level of II-VII cervical segments, from which the phrenic nerve is formed. In addition to hiccups, patients complain of decreased sensitivity, pain in the back of the head, neck and above the collarbone, violation of tilting and turning the head, lifting the shoulder.With tumors that compress the root, hypotrophy of the muscles of the neck, scapula, and shoulder girdle is often revealed.
- Inflammation of the cervical plexus . The combination of hiccups with severe pain, impaired sensitivity in the ears, back of the head, neck and upper chest, difficulty speaking, turning and tilting the head is characteristic of cervical plexitis. Such a pathological condition can be observed with angina, flu, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. The provoking factor is also the compression of the plexus by enlarged lymph nodes with lymphadenitis, lymphogranulomatosis and the development of tumors in the cervical region.
Hiccups with diaphragm pathology
The immediate cause of hiccups is contraction of the diaphragmatic fibers, respectively, this symptom can be found in inflammatory, traumatic and other injuries of the muscular septum separating the chest and abdominal cavities. The prerequisites for starting an attack of reflex hiccups depend on the characteristics of the pathological process:
- Diaphragm paralysis . Leading in the development of the symptom is vagal afferentation caused by irritation of the receptors against the background of displacement of the stomach and other organs of the abdominal cavity, kink of the esophagus.In addition to recurrent episodes of hiccups, patients with relaxation of the diaphragm complain of breathing problems, chest pain and weakness after eating, and sometimes dyspepsia.
- Traumatic injuries . Often, intractable hiccups further aggravate the symptoms of closed and open injuries of the diaphragm, exacerbating the already existing breathing disorders. Hiccup usually develops due to intense irritation of the receptors of the sensory fibers of the phrenic nerve in violation of the integrity of the muscular septum.
- Diaphragmatic hernia . Most often, hiccups are caused by compression of the vaginal nerve at the site of its transition from the chest to the abdominal cavity. In the presence of a hiatal hernia, the vagus can be compressed by the cardia and the fundus of the stomach, which prolapse into the mediastinum. Hiccups are often combined with retrosternal or girdle pain after eating, dysphagia, heartburn.
Hiccups for diseases of the esophagus
A symptom of frequent or prolonged hiccups is observed in esophageal pathology, in which the vagus nerve is compressed.The immediate cause of hiccups is pathological afferentation aimed at implementing a protective reflex and restoring normal nerve conduction. Hiccuping in combination with pathognomonic symptoms may manifest:
- Increase in organ volume . The development of prolonged bouts of intractable hiccuping in patients suffering from enlargement of the esophagus with achalasia of the cardia, its benign tumors or cancer is due to the anatomical proximity of the organ to the vagus nerve.In addition to pathological hiccups, dysphagia, chest pains are usually observed.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease . Constant reflux of gastric contents onto the esophageal mucosa leads to the appearance of erosions of the esophagus, aggravated by inflammatory processes. An increase in afferentation along the sensitive fibers of the vagus against the background of irritation of the nerve endings in the esophageal membranes stimulates the hiccup reflex.
- Ruptures of the esophageal mucosa .A sudden, intractable attack of hiccups is sometimes provoked by mucosal injuries in the cardioesophageal zone in Mallory-Weiss syndrome, launching an appropriate reflex arc through the fibers of the vagus nerve. In this case, hiccuping is combined with bloody vomiting, sharp chest pain.
Hiccups in diseases of the abdominal organs
In some patients, hiccupping is one of the manifestations of the pathology of the digestive tract, which is associated with the peculiarities of the passage of the phrenic-abdominal branches of the phrenic nerves and their anastomosis with the sympathetic plexus of the diaphragm.An additional role is played by the possible irritation of the vagus during abdominal pathological processes. An attack of hiccups can be complicated by both chronic gastrointestinal diseases (atrophic gastritis, pancreatitis) and acute pathology (intestinal obstruction when inguinal, umbilical and femoral hernias are infringed).
Hiccuping episodes are possible with pathological processes in the right hypochondrium: subphrenic abscesses, attacks of cholecystitis, biliary colic. A feature of such conditions, in addition to signs of organ damage, is the identification of a phrenicus symptom, indicating irritation (irritation) of the phrenic nerve.Sometimes hiccups occur with abdominal injuries and during abdominal operations, which is mainly associated with vagal effects. For enteritis, colitis, giardiasis and helminthiasis, the so-called reflected hiccup is characteristic.
Hiccups for thoracic pathology
Symptoms in people with cardiac, bronchopulmonary, and mediastinal diseases are usually caused by irritation of the vagus nerve passing in the mediastinum near the esophagus. With the localization of the pathological focus in the area of the diaphragm, it is possible to stimulate the diaphragmatic receptors that trigger hiccups.The combination of attacks of hiccups with pain radiating to the shoulder girdle and neck is characteristic of mediastinal teratomas, which compress the vagus.
Hiccups occurring with dry diaphragmatic pleurisy often complicate the diagnostic search. Its combination with flatulence, abdominal tension, pain in the hypochondrium and abdominal cavity is often mistakenly interpreted as an additional sign of an acute abdomen. A similar situation is observed in the leading abdominal syndrome in patients with pulmonary embolism and severe dyspeptic symptoms in pulmonary infarction.In sporadic cases, hiccuping against a background of dull pain in the chest and signs of heart failure is manifested in postcardiotomy syndrome.
Hiccups for gynecological diseases
Reflected hiccups are sometimes observed in pathology of the uterus and appendages (endometritis, adnexitis, benign and malignant tumors). The mechanism of its occurrence is still unclear, although the role of complex regulatory interactions with the involvement of sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers of the visceral nervous system is not excluded.In addition, autonomic dysfunction causes the development of hiccups in algodismenorrhea. Patients also have functional disorders of many systems: dyspepsia, fainting, palpitations, etc.
Hiccups in case of intoxication
The appearance of agonal hiccups is a formidable sign of an unfavorable course of serious diseases and terminal conditions. Usually, the development of a symptom indicates gross metabolic disorders in the brain tissue, dysfunction of the nuclei of the medulla oblongata and subcortical structures.Hiccuping of central genesis is observed in severe metabolic disorders caused by functional insufficiency of various organs and systems – hepatic, uremic and diabetic coma. Intoxication hiccups are possible with burn disease, cancer cachexia.
The most common causes of exogenous intoxication with hiccups are poisoning with various substances: alcohol, drugs of muscle relaxant, sedative and anesthetic action, some hormonal agents.The probable cause of the onset of the symptom is considered to be cerebral dysfunction with a disturbance in the balance of excitatory and inhibitory influences, a change in the metabolism of neurons, and the formation of foci of pathological activity.
A diagnostic search aimed at clarifying the causes of hiccups is carried out when it is combined with other symptoms, frequent occurrence, duration of attacks more than 60 minutes. The examination plan is drawn up taking into account the history and concomitant symptoms.Most often, the primary diagnosis is carried out by a gastroenterologist, who, according to indications, involves other specialists in examining the patient. Depending on the alleged cause of the onset of the symptom for the purpose of express diagnostics, the following are used:
- Endoscopic examinations . Gastroscopy is the most informative method that allows you to quickly objectify pathological changes in the esophagus and stomach. If masses, erosions and ulcers are detected during endoscopy, a biopsy is performed for histological analysis of the material.
- X-ray methods . Abdominal X-ray, chest X-ray are carried out in order to detect gastrointestinal pathology, relaxation of the diaphragm, pleurisy, mediastinal tumors and other possible causes of hiccups. Further, RCPG and other X-ray contrast techniques are used.
- Ultrasound examinations . Abdominal sonography is performed to assess the echo structure of the main parenchymal organs and to identify free fluid; if indicated, it is supplemented with ultrasound of the gallbladder and liver.If pleurisy is suspected, mediastinal tumors are indicated by ultrasound of the pleural cavity and mediastinum.
- Tomography . With insufficient information content of radiography and sonography, CT, MSCT and MRI of the abdominal or thoracic cavities, individual organs are performed. MRI of the head and spine are highly accurate in the diagnosis of cerebral and spinal pathology. In difficult cases, a full-body MRI is performed.
- Electro-functional studies .After excluding abdominal and thoracic causes of hiccups, electroencephalography is recommended. The method identifies foci of pathological activity in the brain. To clarify the level of lesions of the nervous system, electroneurography and electromyography are also performed.
- Complete blood count . With high leukocytosis, shift of the leukocyte formula to the left, increased ESR, further diagnostic search is aimed at identifying inflammatory and neoplastic processes.The analysis is often supplemented with the study of enzymes (ALT, AST), determination of the level of C-reactive protein.
Upon receipt of preliminary information about a possible disease that provoked hiccups, further examination is performed according to the appropriate protocol and may include a wide range of laboratory and instrumental methods. Differential diagnosis is carried out between various pathological processes in which hiccups may develop.
In case of hiccups, it is recommended to drink water in small sips
Episodes of physiological hiccups resolve on their own in 2-10 minutes.Sometimes, for their faster relief, it is enough to distract yourself, take a deep breath 2-3 times, hold your breath for a while, or drink a couple of sips of water. If the attack continues, despite the distracting and reflex methods being undertaken, taking into account the patient’s condition, it is recommended to contact the local or family doctor, who will prescribe a further examination, or call an ambulance if the patient’s condition quickly worsens.
Before hospitalization and examination, to stop the hiccups, a healthcare professional can stimulate some reflexogenic zones in the face and phrenic nerve exit points, intranasally insert a catheter to a depth of 12 cm.Sometimes intravenous infusion of calcium preparations has a stopping effect. With a probable central and especially psychogenic genesis of hiccups, sedative herbal preparations, tranquilizers and antipsychotics are used.
Attention (this is important)!
Uncontrolled hiccups lasting more than an hour may indicate intoxication or severe brain pathology. In such cases, delay in hospitalization significantly worsens the prognosis of the underlying disease, leads to the need to prescribe more complex drug regimens and conduct emergency invasive interventions.