Hiccups are contractions of the diaphragm that are not voluntary. There is a muscle that separates your chest and your abdomen. This muscle plays a big part in breathing. So, after each contraction of the diaphragm, an instant closure of the vocal cords follows, which produces a “hic” sound characteristic. They should not last for more than 48 hours. If they do, you should seek medical advice since sometimes the hiccups may be followed by a slight tightening of your chest, throat, and abdomen. It May result in problems with eating, sleeping, and, breathing. There are several causes of hiccups in babies and adults that are discussed below.
What are the main causes of hiccups in babies and adults?
The most common triggers for short term or hiccups that last for less than 48 hours are;
- Taking too much alcohol
- Taking carbonated drinks.
- Feeding with too much food.
- Being too excited or stressed.
- A sudden change in your body temperature.
- Swallowing air either though chewing gums.
Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours may be a result of injury or irritation to your valgus or phrenic nerve, which controls the movement of your diaphragm. This may be due to the following to the nerves;
- Stomach acid backs up into the esophagus.
- Irritation or soreness of your throat.
- Irritation of your eardrum.
Some hiccups may also involve the Central Nervous System CNS, which consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The CNS damage that may lead to persistent hiccups includes;
Stroke, meningitis, head trauma, and accumulation of liquid fluid in your brain.
What causes hiccups in babies.
Hiccups occur most of the time in newborns because of overfeeding, feeding quickly, and swallowing a lot of air while sucking. Hiccups in children may come as a result of stomach temperatures changing abruptly. For instance, you may feed the baby with some cold milk and sometime later feed it with warm porridge. The combination of warm and cold meals may trigger hiccups. Other times hiccups in babies can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux. This is when food that is digested and acid juices flow back to the esophagus, causing burning and discomfort. The irritation of the esophagus which passes through the diaphragm leads to hiccups. Therefore, if the baby expresses in ways of;
- Crying frequently.
- Baby arching their back when feeding.
- Baby spitting more than usual.
You should seek pediatricians’ help for treatment.
How to stop hiccups.
For a baby to stop hiccupping, you should;
- Rub their back to help them relax.
- Feed them with gripe water.
- Take a break to burp the baby while sacking or feeding.
- Use a pacifier for the baby to suck and help the diaphragm relax.