Far from being a problem that's easily solved by standing on your head, the ailment's cause and cure remain elusive. It happens in the blink of an eye: your breathing muscles contract, your vocal cords clamp shut and out comes that unmistakable sound: "hic".
We all get hiccups from time to time. So do cats, rats and human foetuses. Perhaps you ate too quickly, got too excited or drank something carbonated. Or you are coming out of anaesthesia after an operation. But often there's no clear trigger. Doctors don't know what purpose they serve, nor do they know how to make them go away.
In other words, the humble hiccup remains largely a mystery. And just as theories abound…
•diagnose and treat cause
•medication: all have poor efficacy (e.g. chlorpromazine, haloperidol, phenytoin, carbamazepine)
•physical stimulation of posterior pharynx by NGT may interrupt reflex arc
•if persistent and fatiguing phrenic nerve block has been tried
Here's what the science says about a few of the most common techniques.
Type "cure for the hiccups" into Google and you'll get 1.4 million results. And some of the remedies—an ice-cold butter knife applied to the forehead—are downright wacky. Although the exact cause of hiccups is somewhat of a mystery, scientists know what goes on: A stimulus in the brain tells the diaphragm to suddenly contract.
These spasms of your diaphragm muscle are not harmful, but until you find a hiccups cure, they can drive you nuts. So when you're desperate to know how to stop hiccups, try these 9 tricks.
There are many remedies to transient hiccups. Some are believed to work because they build up carbon dioxide in your blood. These include breathing into a paper bag. If you stimulate the nerve between your brain and stomach, you can relieve hiccups. Drinking water stimulates the nerve.
Here are some popular techniques...
How do you solve this problem? Well, says Hank, it's simple - you've gotta get your diaphragm to calm down and relax. And just like rebooting a computer that's lost the plot, you have to basically 'reset' the part of your central nervous system that controls your diaphragm to get this done. And there are two ways to do this...
Hiccups are common in health and illness. Simple nonpharmacologic techniques are often effective. Persistent hiccups greatly affect quality of life and can be difficult to manage.
One of the most perplexing and vexing of mild human afflictions is the hiccup, or as it is medically known, the singultus.
When the patient became lightheaded after the second dose of Thorazine, Steve Ferrante, the physician assistant handling the case, knew that a drop in blood pressure is a common side effect of this medication. And the uncontrollable movements of the patient’s arms and legs were consistent with a condition known as akathisia, a usually transient disorder that also is a common side effect of Thorazine and other antipsychotic medicines.
However, that sudden drop in blood pressure could also suggest other, more serious diseases as well...
Everyone gets hiccups in their life. The majority of the time they are completely harmless and are more of an irritant than a symptom of an underlying condition, but, if you experience hiccups that last more than 48 hours this could potentially signal serious health complications.
If a person gets hiccups and wants to know what has set them off, there is a long list of medical or physiological disorders that are associated with hiccups and seem to cause them. The most common by far is distension or expansion of the stomach and movement of stomach acid into the esophagus.
To unravel the mystery of why we hiccup — which serve no obvious useful purpose — scientists are looking into our evolutionary past for clues among our distant relatives. One promising candidate: amphibians, in particular tadpoles.
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?
Far from being a problem that's easily solved by standing on your head, the ailment's cause and cure remain elusive.
To date, there has been no standard of care for clinically-significant Hiccups.
Physicians have practiced trial-and-error with off-label usage of 29 different prescription drugs amongst a host of non-drug remedies in attempts to treat clinically-significant Hiccups. One drug, Thorazine (an antipsychotic), was indicated for the Hiccups in 1954, but subsequently had that approval withdrawn. Baclofen and Reglan are two of the most commonly-prescribed drugs, though clinical data to support their efficacy is sparse, with no data from randomized controlled trials in cancer. For many patients, the potential risks of side effects and of drug-drug interactions are too severe to support the unapproved usage of these drugs.