What cures a hiccup?


What do you do when you get hiccups?

Possibly you use one of the many hundreds of different home remedies that people have found helpful.

But, whatever remedy you may use, it is not likely that your hiccups will last for very long.

However, there have been cases in which hiccuping has continued for several months and even years.

In some instances the spasms were so rapid that eating and sleeping were impossible, and the patients died from exhaustion.

Uninterrupted hiccuping took the life of J. McCormick Beeten within the space of only four and a half days.

Another man, Edward O’Connor, died after hiccuping for six months.

Fortunately, hiccuping does not usually become such a serious problem.

What causes hiccups?

Hiccuping often begins when the stomach is distended suddenly from overeating or over drinking of liquids, causing the stomach to disturb the action of the diaphragm.

This is a broad, flat muscle that stretches like a sheet between your chest and abdomen and is the principal muscle for breathing.

Any irritation of this muscle or the nerve that operates it can cause it to contract involuntarily.

This results in an abrupt intake of air into the lungs, but there is also an involuntary closing of the opening in the larynx, called the glottis, which cuts off the flow of air.

The result is the audible “hie.”

Overeating and over drinking are only two of many possible causes for hiccuping.

It can be started by gulping hot or cold liquids, by fatigue, by postoperative shock as well as by various diseases.

Even emotional stress, nervous strain and drugs can cause it.

One man became afflicted with chronic hiccups whenever he was given sulfonamide drugs for a bladder infection.

When they were discontinued, the hiccups improved immediately and stopped entirely a few days later.

Thus, with so many possible causes, it is often difficult to locate the reason for a chronic case of hiccups.

When hiccups begin during an operation or after an operation they can be especially troublesome. Imagine how difficult they could make the work of a surgeon during a delicate operation.

And if they come after the operation they might‘ rip open the incision.

What cures hiccups? 

There are a great number of simple remedies that people have found effective in stopping hiccups.

Taking several deep, regular breaths works for some persons.

Others stop them by merely holding their breath for a bit and perhaps drinking some water while doing so.

Breathing into a paper bag often works because it causes a person to re-breathe the carbon dioxide expelled from his lungs.

Cutting down on the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream by breathing carbon'dioxide tends to relax the nerves and muscles.

There is a danger however of fainting from lack of oxygen.

Under the supervision of a physician a mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen is usually used.

The juice of an orange is claimed by some to be a good remedy, and in bad cases of hiccups teaspoonful doses of onion' juice are supposed to be a good remedy.

Other home remedies are coughing, sneezing, swallowing crushed ice, taking vinegar, pulling the tongue, pressing the upper lip with the finger, and so forth.

There are about 300 basic “cures.”

A new technique that has proved very successful for doctors to use on patients, whether they are conscious or unconscious, is stimulation of that part of the throat called the pharynx.

This is done by inserting a catheter through the nose or through the mouth.

This is a tubular instrument that is designed to pass along mucous 'canals in the body.

When the technique was used on 150 anesthetized and conscious patients over a space of two years, it stopped hiccups in 148 of them.

In severe cases that refuse to respond to the usual forms of treatment a drug can be used to block the phrenic nerve that is being irritated.

This stops the hiccuping, and when the nerve recovers from the effects of the drug and begins functioning again several hours later, there is a good chance that the hiccups will not return.

If they do, a doctor may recommend crushing the nerve.

This drastic step finally brought relief to a woman who had tried numerous home remedies and had visited 100 doctors, all for about two years.

During that time she sometimes hiccuped at the rate of ninety times a minute.

As might be expected, she lost weight-forty pounds.

When the nerve was crushed, the hiccuping immediately stopped.

Crushing the nerve caused her to lose 25 percent of her breathing capacity, but her doctor expected the nerve to regenerate in eight to twelve months and to begin functioning again.

For some people hiccuping may become very trying, but for the majority it lasts for only five or ten minutes.

If your customary remedy should fail, there are many others you can try.

One will very likely stop that annoying hiccup.