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Herbal remedies for Hiccups

Hiccups (uk - spelt hicoughs) refer to an involuntary movement of the diaphragm muscle that causes a sudden intake of air followed by a rapid closure of the epiglottis, making the "hic" sound through the vocal cords. They often begin for no apparent reason and disappear again after a few minutes. Most of the time they are only a harmless annoyance. Chronic, or intractable hicups, are rare. This form can last for months or even years. Most occurrences however are benign. Babies even have them in the womb to help strengthen the diaphragm and prepare the baby for breathing air.


Symptoms may include a sharp spasm of the diaphragm muscle that is felt just below the sternum, or breastbone, air being involuntarily sucked into the throat and the closing of the epiglottis that results in a "hic" sound.


Most cases occur due to unknown causes. At other times, a bout may be caused by spicy or hot food, carbonated drinks like soda, nervousness, intense emotions, sudden laughter, fumes, or cold air or water. Intractable hiccups can be caused by indigestion, a brain tumor that affects the breathing center of the brain, liver or kidney problems, a stroke, asthma, abdominal surgery, pneumonia, excessive consumption of alcohol, or the side effects of medications like muscle relaxants. They sometimes occur after tickling, smoking, swallowing air, hyperventilation, talking or laughing or a rapid change in body temperature. Some also say that they may be caused by alcohol abuse, a misalignment of the neck vertebrae, reflux, low sodium in the body, irritation of the diaphragm or other neurological problems.


While rare, intractable hiccups do happen occasionally. If yours persists for longer than two days, see a professional as other serious problems can occur as a result of prolonged symptoms. Cardiac hicups happen in people with congestive heart failure and uremic hiccups happen due to renal failure, while cerebral hiccups are due to problems in the brain. Both these types do require immediate medical attention.

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