What are home remedies for hiccups?
- Hold your breath
Techniques that stimulate the nasopharynx and the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the stomach, and can decrease hiccuping:
- Gargling with water
- Putting a cold compress on your face
- Breathing into a paper bag
- Blowing up a balloon
- Drink a glass of water quickly
- Have someone frighten you
- Pull hard on your tongue
- Bite on a lemon
- Gargle with water
- Drink from the far side of a glass
- Taking deep, slow breaths
- Sitting down and pulling your knees to your chest for one minute
- Use smelling salts
- Place one-half teaspoon of dry sugar on the back of your tongue. (This process can be repeated three times at two-minute intervals. Use corn syrup, not sugar, for young children.)
What is the treatment for hiccups?
Most hiccups will stop on their own. Home remedies are generally sufficient to resolve to hiccup.
For persistent hiccups (lasting more than three hours), treatment varies, and you may need to contact your doctor.
- A "hiccup bout" is an episode of hiccups that lasts up to 48 hours
- "Persistent hiccups" continue more than 48 hours, up to one month
- "Intractable hiccups" last longer than one month
Phrenic nerve surgery (the nerve that controls the diaphragm) is a treatment of last resort. This treatment rarely is performed and is used only in individuals with hiccups that do not respond to other treatments.
What are hiccups?
The main muscle that helps your lungs expand and contract to breathe is the diaphragm, which is in your abdomen and controls the volume of your chest cavity. Hiccups (also spelled hiccough) happen when this diaphragm muscle spasms. In response, your vocal cords snap shut, causing the “hic” sound you hear with hiccups. This condition is usually harmless and temporary, but prolonged cases may indicate some disease process or digestive problem that is causing the condition.
What kind of doctor treats hiccups?
Hiccups generally go away on their own and do not require medical treatment, however, if hiccups last more than three hours or disturb eating or sleeping, you may see your primary care providers (PCP) such as a family practitioner, internist, or a child’s pediatrician.
There may be many different specialists who treat hiccups depending on the underlying cause, for example:
- If the cause is a stroke or other neurological disorder, you may see a neurologist, a specialist in the nervous system and brain.
- If the cause is acid reflux, you may see a gastroenterologist, a specialist in disorders of the digestive system.
- If the cause is lung disease or pneumonia, you may see a pulmonologist, a specialist in disorders of the respiratory tract.
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