Hiccough(singultus) in general:
Hiccough is due to sudden and involuntary (not in person's control) contraction of diaphragm(which is a muscular partition between chest and abdomen) that causes sudden in drawing of air that is associated with closure of glottis which stops in drawing of air and the air already taken in strike the glottis to produce 'hic' sound so called as hiccup. Hiccough are most rhythmic(with pattern). Fetus start to hiccup at around third completed month of pregnancy.
There is no particular reason of having hiccoughs intermittently.
Hiccough are totally harmless if occur intermittently and should not be bothered about . However the mostly the cause are:
1) over distention/filling of stomach or too quick eating or excess spicy food.
2) carbonated drinks
3) sudden gasping leading to air swallowing/ intake(aerophagia)
4) sudden excitement and stress(associated with decreased oxygen levels)
5) acid reflex from stomach to upper feeding tube(food passage)
hiccough as such may range from 4-60/minute(can be less than 4 with variation in intensity and loudness) but if lasting more than 48hours are persistent hiccough and considered intractable if for more than a month.Frequent episodes of hiccough that are even distressing must be checked with doctor.
Most of the time only one half of diaphragm is involved and besides that reason of ordinary hiccough is not known exactly it involves a reflex system by with it occurs
a)nerves b)center for hiccough c) muscles of diaphragm,chest area and glottis(upper part of windpipe)
If hiccough are persistent or intractable then basic blood test , electrolyte level , chest X-ray and other necessary investigation for particular underlying condition must be done.
Main Causes of Persistent hiccough:
1) anything or substance or condition that irritates the diaphragm or its nerves like abdominal surgery, Hiatal hernis(hernia through diaphragm) or even percarditis(infection of heart sac), pneumonia and lung issues
2) certain drugs
3) certain electrolyte deficiency like hypocalcemia(decreased calcium) or excess of toxin like uremia
4) Acid peptic disease or acid reflux and other gastrointestinal tract problem like inflammation of gut.
5) Problem in brain vessels or tumor etc.
Most o the time hiccough resolve on their own and have no problems associated however persistent hiccough may cause mental irritation, lack of sleep or poor apetite. Also even if a normal hiccough is associated with severe abdominal pain or vomiting it must be given proper attention.
If persistent or intractable hiccough besides finding the underlying cause proper medication must be done.
Anything that will relax the muscles of diaphragm will relief hiccough may it be a) taking a deep breath b)holding breath for few seconds c) having few sips of water (most widely practiced) d) gargles e) pulling hard on tounge to lift the uvula that is the soft tissue hanging at roof of mouth.
Acidic Burps with hiccough :
if you are having acidic burps then its most likely you are having acid reflux.Besides other causes of acidic refux a life style modification may help you cure acidic burps.
1) take small and frequent meals
2)use more milk and milk products
3)avoid spicy , oily and greasy food
4)take meal minimum 2hours before night's sleep
5)walk daily around 30-45min
6)sleep with head a bit elevated or pillows under head.
7)if still not relieved then consult a doctor and take acid suppressant drugs.
Hiccough During Pregnancy:
Mostly its that during pregnancy hiccough are rare due to some un-explained reason. But even if it occurs its a usual/normal thing.Also increasing belly size and uterus size with upward pushing of diaphragm and increased heartburn may be a factor.