Hiccups are a sharp contraction of the diaphragm. It appears as an involuntary strong breath with a closed or narrowed glottis. This condition has various causes, does not pose a threat to human life, but it causes a lot of discomfort. Therefore, people are trying to find ways to get rid of it. For example, they drink water, squeeze out and pump the press. Such methods can help when hiccups have a physiological cause. If any disease affected the appearance of this condition, then you can get rid of hiccups only by curing the pathology.

Etiology of the phenomenon

To date, the exact causes of this condition have not been established. However, scientists suggest that this could be the beginning of hiccups. It is believed that this is a reflex of a living organism that has survived from the time when the creatures lived in the aquatic environment. It is also believed to be a skill that helped the embryo move fluid in the lungs during puberty. After birth, the manifestation of such a skill fades away, because it is not needed. Although under the influence of various stimuli, the phenomenon can still occur occasionally.

This condition is the release of the vagus nerve, which stabilizes the functioning of internal organs at the time of compression of the esophagus.

Hiccups in adults

In adults, this condition is physiological and pathological. Physiological is a phenomenon in which contractions rarely occur and pass on their own. This can happen when the body is uncomfortable, after eating cold or hot food, and also during stress, laughter or hypothermia. In this case, it is episodic and quickly passing.

If this happens due to any pathologies, then the hiccups can be long and not stop for several days.

By origin, it is different. Central - with diseases of the brain, both spinal and brain, with lesions of the central nervous system and with mental disorders.

Peripheral - with pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract and heart.

Reflected - is a type of peripheral hiccups. The causes are called infectious parasitic pathology and intestinal diseases.

Toxic - with the action of toxic substances on the body. For example, alcohol and drug poisoning. This can also happen in severe renal failure, when the kidneys cannot remove toxins from the body.

To get rid of the physiological hiccups, you do not need to carry out any manipulations, it will pass by itself. Although you can use folk methods, for example, drink water or do physical exercises. But, to eliminate the pathological hiccups, drug treatment of the root cause of this condition is required.

Hiccups during pregnancy

Hiccups can appear in both a woman and a fetus. The main reasons for this are as follows:

  1. The pressure of the growing uterus on the internal organs, which in turn press on the diaphragm, because of this, it begins to involuntarily contract.
  2. Pregnant's experiences: in this state, the diaphragm is stressed, which irritates the vagus nerve, and it causes her spasms.
  3. Hypothermia: provoking hiccups occurs in the same way as during the experience.
  4. Overeating or hasty eating: air and poorly chewed food also irritate the vagus nerve.
  5. Inconvenient body position: this is typical of many pregnant women for long periods. They cannot get comfortable, because of this there is pressure on the diaphragm, which causes its spasm.

There are several ways to get rid of hiccups during pregnancy. Drink water little by little, eat something bitter or sweet. It is not worth experiencing a cure with a fright, so as not to provoke a premature birth. As a prevention of hiccups after eating, you need to take food calmly, slowly.

From about 26 weeks, a woman can feel the baby's hiccups. It arises for such reasons. A child swallows amniotic fluid, which irritates the diaphragm. There is an opinion that this is a kind of communication between the baby and the mother.

Prolonged or frequent hiccups of a baby indicate oxygen starvation, but neonatologists say that this is a wrong judgment. On the contrary, it indicates that the nervous system is developing normally. Thus, the fetus develops the muscles of the body. You can find out what exactly is happening with the baby with the help of ultrasound, CTG and counting movements.

It is possible to calm the hiccups of the fetus by refusing sweets at bedtime, evening walk or changing body position.

Hiccups in men

Men suffer from hiccups more often than women. Sometimes the cause of the appearance is the use of alcohol, because it poisons the body and irritates the lining of the stomach and esophagus. In this situation, it can be prolonged and stop only after the poisoning has been eliminated.

The manifestation of a protracted hiccup has a negative effect on human health. Because of this, his heart rhythm is disturbed, insomnia, depression and neurosis occur.

If against the background of a protracted hiccup there is a violation of the phrenic nerve, then this condition is life-threatening, as a person may suffocate (the glottis closes and air supply to the lungs ceases). With a short-term hiccup, this is not scary, but with its regular manifestation, an asthma attack is possible.

Long hiccups must be treated with medication. For this, the doctor prescribes muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, antipsychotics, antiseptics. You can not carry out treatment on your own, because if used incorrectly, side effects are provoked that pose a threat to life. If the drugs do not help, then in this case, an operation is performed to remove the branches of the nerve endings leading to the diaphragm.

Hiccup in a child

In most cases, this condition has a physiological character. It does not pose a threat to the health and life of the baby. In infants, this condition indicates overeating, hunger, fright, or swallowing excess air. In this case, you can eliminate the hiccups by getting rid of the initial cause.

In very rare cases, it is a symptom of a pathology of the nervous system or anatomy. If the cause of the hiccups is not clear, you should consult a doctor, because such a condition can cause quite serious diseases. The doctor will help you figure it out.

Symptoms and diagnosis of contraction

During hiccups, there is a sharp contraction and relaxation of the muscles, which begin to twitch quickly. Symptoms of this condition are as follows:

  • unreasonable sharp contraction of the diaphragm with a parallel short breath (in this case, the abdomen protrudes);
  • a specific sound "ik" (his person makes because of the closure of the glottis and epiglottis);
  • spontaneous end of physiological hiccups after a short time.

Pathological hiccups can be quite long, sometimes up to several days. To begin treatment of this condition, it is necessary to diagnose the causes of its occurrence. To do this, the doctor conducts:

  1. Collection of an anamnesis of the disease: thus, it will be established what the patient suffered before. These can be pathologies such as diabetes mellitus, diseases of the digestive tract, pericarditis, alcoholism, neoplasms of a different nature, stroke, injuries and much more. Also, the patient needs to clarify which drugs he is taking, because they can also cause hiccups.
  2. Physical diagnostic methods include visual examination of the patient, palpation, tapping and listening. During this examination, the doctor should examine the abdomen, sternum, nasopharynx, eardrum, esophagus and stomach.
  3. Laboratory tests of blood and urine.
  4. X-ray of the sternum.
  5. Magnetic resonance imaging.
  6. CT scan.

Radiation diagnosis will help to establish why hiccups cannot be eliminated by simple methods, and what triggered its appearance. For example, one can recognize neoplasms that press on the diaphragm. If necessary, a consultation is prescribed with other narrow specialists, such as: surgeon, psychiatrist, gastroenterologist, neurologist.


As soon as the hiccups appear, she immediately wants to stop. Especially when this phenomenon occurs in the environment of strangers (they will definitely pay attention to specific sounds). Therefore, the question: "How to get rid of hiccups?" pretty relevant at this point. Many begin to advise to drink water, take air in your mouth and even push out. But, such methods can help if the cause is physiological. In this case, the hiccups will pass by itself in a short time. If a serious pathology affected the appearance, then the help of a qualified specialist is necessary. Then the treatment will be aimed at eliminating the pathology and its symptoms.

The doctor prescribes medications when: the patient complains of frequent hiccups; the attack lasts more than two days; in parallel with hiccups, chest pain and heartburn occur.

To eliminate such symptoms, apply: antispasmodics (will help relieve spasms and excitability of the diaphragm); antipsychotics (reduces spontaneous activity and reaction to the stimulus, and also reduces the tone of the skeleton muscles); drugs to stimulate contractile movements of the gastrointestinal tract (in addition, they contribute to rapid bowel movements); inhibitors; prokinetics.

In addition to drug treatment, inhalation with carbon dioxide and vagus nerve stimulation are prescribed.

Treatment of hiccups in infants

To get rid of hiccups, which arose due to the strong excitability of the nervous system, the following drugs are prescribed: antihistamines; antipsychotics; antispasmodics.

But, if such a condition is caused by fright, hypothermia, overeating, then medications will not be needed. You can use other methods.

To take the child in his arms in an upright position, turn his belly towards him and stroke the back - this will help the baby burp and remove excess air. As soon as this happens, the hiccups will soon end. So that during feeding the baby does not get into the stomach, the body position should be at an angle of 45 °.

Another effective way is to give the baby a chest (this will calm him, the muscles of the diaphragm relax).

When the baby is on artificial feeding, it is necessary to choose the right nipple so that the size of the hole is not too large, because a lot of air will be swallowed.

Possible complications and prevention

This condition in itself is not a disease and cannot provoke complications. But, the true causes of muscle contraction should be identified in time in order to start appropriate therapy in a timely manner. As already mentioned, such diseases can be: diabetes mellitus; cholecystitis; gastritis and many others.

As a preventive measure of pathological hiccups, it is necessary to timely treat the causes of its appearance, namely: stomach ulcers; encephalitis; neoplasms of the spinal cord and brain; meningitis.

So that physiological hiccups do not occur, alcohol should be abandoned and possible hypothermia should be avoided. It is imperative to abide by the rules of nutrition - you can not take food "on the go" and swallow large pieces.

Watch the video: Mayo Clinic Minute: What causes hiccups? (December 2019).