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Are You Getting Frequent Hiccups? Acid Reflux May Be Why

Apr 12, 2008
If you are experiencing hiccups, acid reflux could be a contributory factor and you may need to find a remedy to find relief from this non-serious, yet distressing symptom.

Hiccups, also called hiccoughs, result when the diaphragm suddenly contracts. The diaphragm is the thin muscle located under the heart and lungs that separates the chest from the abdomen and assists with inhaling. After the diaphragm contracts, the top portion of the windpipe known as the glottis, immediately closes which creates the characteristic "hic" sound of hiccups.

A hiccup is a reflex you have no control over and can be hard to stop. That being said, the interesting fact about hiccups is that unlike other reflexes (I.E. sneezing, coughing, etc.), a hiccup does not appear to have a useful purpose.

What is the hiccups acid reflux connection? Most people have a case of the hiccups every once in a while, and in many of these instances, the spell of hiccups is brief, and there is no apparent reason why it was experienced. However, if hiccups are related to acid reflux, it is not uncommon for hiccups to be persistent and last for hours, this could be because of:

- Temporary swollen stomach - This could be caused by eating too quickly, overeating, drinking carbonated beverages, swallowing air.

- Alcohol - This is more common with fizzy alcohol drinks such as beer, sparkling wine, and mixed drinks. Too much air may also be swallowed while drinking alcohol.

- Excessive smoking - taking in too much air

- Emotional stress - when stressed many people tend to overeat, eat too fast, drink alcohol, smoke excessively, and are more prone to gulping air.

How can you treat hiccups? In many cases, there is no need for treatment because hiccups will typically disappear as quickly as they occurred. However, the following are some remedies you can try to treat mild hiccups:

- Drink a full glass of water
- Sip ice water
- Suck on an ice cube
- Hold your breath for 30 seconds
- Breath rapidly
- Breath into a paper bag
- Pull your knees into your chest
- Gasping from sudden fright
- Distract your mind from thinking about the hiccups

The above hiccup remedies will usually only work with short bouts of hiccups, and will not cure persistent hiccups that last for longer than 24 hours, or hiccups that recur frequently throughout the day. If you have persistent hiccups, they could be the cause of acid reflux, in which case you should be experiencing other acid reflux symptoms aside from the hiccups including heartburn, belching, regurgitation, coughing, etc. Therefore, try the following to remedy your acid reflux hiccups:

- Avoid drinking alcohol and carbonated beverages
- Stop smoking
- Eat and drink slowly. You should also eat small portions of food to prevent overeating.
- Reduce stress. Find ways to relax or release bottled up energy through exercise, meditation, or taking part in activities you enjoy.

If you try the above remedies and they do not work, you should see your doctor to discover what the underlying cause of your hiccups are. You may discover that your hiccups and acid reflux are not related. The reason is because there are more than 100 conditions that can cause hiccups. Usually when the underlying cause is identified, persistent hiccups can be cured.
About the Author
Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker's brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you discover more about why hiccups and acid reflux are related and what you can do about it.
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