Hiccups or hiccough is a condition of the human body when the diaphragm (muscular partition between chest and abdomen) causes contraction of chest cavity and closure of larynx (voice box). Although no real cause has been established, it is believed by experts that the gastrointestinal tract may be a reason. Normally it may persist from a few minutes to a few days, but if the problem extends more than that a chronic condition results. It is important to find the root of the problem and cure it. There are many ways to cure both, normal and chronic hiccups.
According to ayurveda, there are five types of hiccoughs. The first three are simple problems caused by flatulence or constipation and can be treated easily. But there are two types of conditions which are serious and need attention. These can continue for months or keep recurring at short intervals. Chronic hicupps are indication of a bigger problem and are associated with other diseases. This may include pleurisy of the diaphragm, uremia (urine in bloodstream), hyponatremia (low level of sodium in blood), hypokalemia (low level of potassium in blood), stomach or oesophagus problems, bowel diseases, pneumonia, alcoholism, etc. Sometimes it may also be the indication of pancreatitis, liver cancer, hepatitis, tumours or may be associated with chronic renal dysfunction, uncontrolled diabetes and pregnancy. If hiccups persist for more than 48 hours, it is advisable to consult a doctor and get proper diagnosis of the root cause.
Treatment of Hiccups
Hiccups that are short lived can be easily treated with the help of a few tricks mentioned below:
- Have someone shock you or take your by surprise to divert your attention
- Drink one glass of water in fast gulps with ears and nose closed
- Eating something spicy and pungent also helps
- Sudden jerking of the chest and neck can stop hiccough
- In children, a spoonful of honey or sweet curd gives fast relief
- Another remedy that is useful for children is to drink water with sugar kept under the tongue.
If the problem persists for a longer period the following home remedies can be given a try:
- Black pepper powder when inhaled causes a person to sneeze, in turn stopping
- Half teaspoon of powdered cardamom should be boiled with one cup water till the water reduces to half the original quantity. This should be then filtered and consumed.
- A tablespoon of mustard seeds should be consumed with some ghee to stimulate the nerves in the throat area, in turn bringing some relief.
If hiccups persist for a long time doctors attempt therapies like gastric lavage (stomach pumping) or carotid simus massage (rubbing carotid artery). Once it has been established that there is no associative disease and that chronic hiccoughs are not indicative of any other medical conditions, doctors may prescribe medication for relief. Most of the times, one of the above remedies will help in curing the problem of hiccups. Yet you must ensure, through proper tests that there is no underlying medical situation.
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