Hiccups occur once the diaphragm involuntarily contracts or spasm. It is important to note that the diaphragm is the muscle that assists with breathing. It is amidst the chest and abdomen. After an involuntary contraction, the vocal cords rapidly close. This is responsible for causing the sound that arises with hiccups.
Generally, hiccups only lasts for a few minutes or hours and not an issue for concern. Nevertheless, if it lasts longer than 2 days, it is chronic. The condition can last for years in some individuals and not a sign of a health issue. Take note that chronic hiccups is rare, but likely to occur among men than women.
What are the causes?
The cause of chronic hiccups is not usually known. Furthermore, the cause might take some time to be discovered.
Some of the possible causes include:
- General anesthesia
- Recent surgery
- Ailments affecting the liver, intestines or kidneys
- Brain lesions
- Brain stem seizures
- Irritation of the nerves that control breathing
Management of chronic hiccups
The treatment for chronic hiccups require more than just drinking water. In addition, consult a doctor to start the appropriate.
The treatment is based on the underlying cause and might include:
- Proper treatment of the condition responsible for hiccups
- Prescribed medications such as chlorpromazine, baclofen or metoclopramide
- Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve via an implanted device
- Anesthetic shot into the phrenic nerve
What is the outcome?
When it comes to chronic hiccups, it is difficult to treat. Consult a doctor if hiccups lasts more than 2 days since it might be a sign of a medical condition.