Chronic Hiccups – Annoying or Dangerous?

Hiccups. Everyone gets them from time to time. Eat too fast and suddenly, hic, you make a very interesting sound and people start laughing. It repeats for a couple of times and people still laugh. A couple more times and it becomes annoying. Some people have been hiccuping for years. Are hiccups dangerous? Can they harm us? Are hiccups simply annoying and we are making a big deal out of it? Here is everything you need to know about hiccups.

How Hiccups Work

Hiccups, the strange sound which comes out of your mouth when you are breathing or doing nothing special, really. When you breathe, the diaphragm, the large muscle below your lungs, which is responsible for breathing, pulls down when you want to inhale, relaxing when you exhale. But, something happens and your diaphragm is irritated, so it spasms, forcing you to inhale air uncontrollably into your throat. That air hits you vocal cords and makes that funny noise.

Hiccups can be caused by a plethora of things such as too much stress, eating too fast, swallowing a lot of air, drinking far too many carbonated drinks or even alcohol, as well as a sudden change of temperature. Be mindful the next time you feel like overindulging in soda. 

Are Hiccups Dangerous?

Hiccups can be caused by any damage to the nerves, which might come from a sore throat, or even a simple thing as a hair touching your eardrum. Yes, your entire body is connected and almost anything can irritate another part of the body. More serious cases include tumors, cysts or goiters.

There are conditions like meningitis, encephalitis and diabetes which can also cause hiccups, long-term ones, not the short term ones which last for ten minutes or less.

If you get bleeding with your hiccups, or rather, coughing up blood, a shortness of breath, stomach pain or vomiting, you should see your doctor immediately. You should also talk to your doctor if your hiccups last more than two days.

Hiccup Treatments

Have your friend scare you and the hiccups will go away. That is a bad joke and it is untrue. So is the part about hanging upside down. Now you’ll have hiccups and be red like a cherry. All jokes aside, hiccups are believed to be cured by breathing into a paper bag or by holding your breath. This is because carbon dioxide builds up when you do either of these things, which is believed to relax the diaphragm. If everything else fails and your chronic hiccups persist, see your doctor and get medication which should make it go away.

Hiccups can be dangerous, depending on what is the cause and how severe they are.