Hiccups occur when the diaphragm contracts involuntary. Diaphragm is the muscle that not only a separates our chest from the abdomen but is also crucial for breathing process. So whenever it contracts involuntary, it cause our vocal cords to close suddenly thus making the sound “hic”. Hiccups are not that common and whenever they occurs, we might get concerned and wonder How Long Hiccups Last? Continue reading till the end to learn all about the hiccups, why they are cause, when they will stop and what to do just incase they continue for a long time.
How Long Hiccups Last?
Hiccups usually last for a few minutes, however, it may last for days, months, or even years in some people. It occurs when the diaphragm (main muscle involved in respiration that separates abdomen and chest) repeatedly contracts without control. As the diaphragm contracts without control, it causes the sudden closure of the vocal cord that then produces a special sound of “hic”. Hiccups usually resolve themselves after a few minutes. However, medical care should be sought if someone experiences hiccups for more than 48 hours.
What causes hiccups?
Hiccups that last for less than two days are triggered by the following factors:
- Carbonated beverages
- Excessive alcoholism
- Eating too much food
- Emotional stress or sudden excitement
- Sudden changes in temperature
- Swallowing air with smoking, sucking on candy, or chewing gum
How Long Is Too Long For Hiccup?
For most people, hiccups last for only a few minutes. However, some people also experience it for more than two days. Such hiccups are chronic and a medical concern. Hiccups that last for days but end within a month are known as persistent hiccups. If someone experiences recurring episodes of hiccups that do not go away in a few months, then it is known as long-lasting hiccups or intractable hiccups. The recorded longest hiccups lasted for a period of 60 years.
Long lasting hiccups is a rare condition and men tend to experience it more than women. Some people experience it for years. Long lasting hiccups can be a sign of an underlying health issue that may not go away until the problem is treated. Such long lasting hiccups can also cause a health problem themselves. It can disturb night sleep and can cause exhaustion and stress. It can also affect appetite and lead to severe weight loss. It can also interfere with speaking and healing of wounds after surgery.
People with the following medical problems may have a high risk to experience chronic or long lasting hiccups:
- People who underwent general anesthesia in recent time
- Have anxiety or other mental health problem
- Did any surgery in the abdomen area
- Have a problem in the liver, stomach, bowel, or diaphragm
- Have diabetes
- Have kidney disease
- Nervous system disorder, such as meningitis, encephalitis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumor, traumatic brain injury
- Drugs like barbiturates, steroids, and tranquilizers
- Excessive alcoholism
How Do You Stop The Hiccups?
The following things are helpful to stop hiccups by yourself, however, there is no evidence that these things are helpful for everyone:
- Breathing in a paper bag may be helpful, however, you should not put it over head
- Pulling knees towards the chest and then leaning in the forward direction may also be helpful
- Briefly hold your breath
- Teste vinegar or lemon
- Slowly drink ice-cold water
- Directly swallow some granulated sugar, but don’t crush it before swallowing
To prevent hiccups, you should avoid the following things:
- Drinking alcohol, carbonated drink, or something very hot
- Smoking or chewing gum or other things with which air could swallow
- Eating very fast
- Eating spicy foods
- Drinking or eating things very cold soon after something very hot