Nearly everyone has experienced hiccups, but what exactly are they? It used to be thought that a hiccup is just a simple muscle spasm of the diaphragm, but that was apparently disproven more than 40 years ago. Instead, hitches involve a complex, orchestrated decoration of muscle contractions. But, why?
Hiccups might be a leftover from the womb. During fetal life, “hiccups are universally present, their incidence peaking in the third trimester …[ This] advocate[ s] that glitches might represent a necessary and vital primitive reflex” that would permit in-the-womb training of the breathing muscles without choking on amniotic fluid.
In adulthood, nearly anything can trigger hiccups. Case in spot: A 19 -year-old woman presented with long-lasting setbacks. Her physical exam was normal except for an ant crawling on her eardrum. Once the ant was removed, her hiccups stopped.
There appear to be as numerous remedies for glitches as there are makes, as I discuss issues of my video How to Stop Hiccups. As the famous Dr. Mayo put it, the less we know about something, the more therapies we seem to have for it–and perhaps “there is no disease which has had more forms of treatments…than has prolonged hiccups.”
There are drugs, of course. There are always lots of drugs, from thorazine to apomorphine, but there are also a whole slew of non-pharmacological approaches–from breathing into a paper bag and boozing from the far line-up of a glass to smearing mustard on your tummy( as you can see at 1:24 in my video ). “Many of these’ remedies’ have not been tested and some appear to have been invented’ solely for the amusement of the patient’s friends’.” One method, “forcible traction of the tongue”( which intends pulling on someone’s tongue) was attributed to the great Dr. Osler, the first Chief Physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but the “therapy, nonetheless, is much older and( perhaps not surprisingly) of French origin.”
Another trick that might work to medicine glitches is “a modified Heimlich maneuver, ” consisting of simply three pokings and moderate persuade. In one speciman, it was so successful the patient’s “hiccups concluded immediately.” In general, nonetheless, “[ t] reatment is notably disappointing, as is evidenced by the hundreds of remedies have been tried , none of which have been regularly curative.” You know doctors are starting to get desperate when they indicate things like chilling the hearing lobe, and you know they are really getting desperate when they have to add prayer to the end of a sundry hitch antidotes list.
“Use of vinegar to relieve stubborn glitches in an advanced cancer patient” was the paper that started me down the glitch rabbit depression. I was reviewing the latest research on vinegar and stumbled across a situations where, “[ a] fter the failure of common medicines for hiccups, the patient was given a sip of vinegar and his glitches abated”–stopped after really a single sip. Patently, sour flavours, such as vinegar and lemon, have been used to treat setbacks since the 1930 s, but “nonpharmacological remedies such as vinegar…fell out of favor with the widespread implement of pharmacotherapy, ” that is, remedies. After all, how much can you charge for a swallow of vinegar?
If worse comes to worst, there is the “phrenic nerve crush” surgery, which is as bad as it voices. Before proceeding that street, though, you may find it “surprising how many patients with hitches respond to digital compression of the eyeballs.” Yes, we’re talking about digit as in finger, as in pushing your thumb into someone’s eyes as a counter-irritation measure. That will get their mind off their hitches!
If a thumb in the eye somehow doesn’t distract them enough, doctors can try “digital rectal massage.” A 27 -year-old man presented to the ER with “intractable hiccups.” Emergency staff tried massaging other residences and even tried the digital eyeball compressing, but good-for-nothing seemed to do it. So, deflect over. “Digital rectal massage was then aimed using a slow circumferential motion”–and it toiled! So, before sacrificing cases drugs, perhaps we would give them a rub. It’s “easy to perform” and may be less dangerous than remaining your thumbs into people’s eye sockets, which, if you’re in medical academy and have to memorize all these foolish reputations, is known as the Dagnini-Aschner Maneuver.( Medicine enjoys its eponyms .)
Speaking of tactics, how’s this for a pick-up line? “Hello.( Hic !) Want to help me( hic !) remedy my hiccups? ” In one case, on the fourth daylight of continual hiccuping, the patient’s hitches ultimately “suddenly and totally ceased, ” with some spousal assistance, at the point of climax. “It is unclear, ” the doctor wrote, “whether orgasm in women should contribute to a similar answer, an issue that could be investigated further.”
And it was, back in 1845. An infamous, disturbing contingency report that amounted to effectively bragging about forcible intercourse was published in what was to be become the New England Journal of Medicine. A young, religious woman with incurable hiccups fell into the entrusts of a Dr. George Dexter. He firstly aimed the best modern medicine could offer–bloodletting–but she continued to hiccup, until he pressed his hand on her genitals for a few minutes and that apparently operated. This went on for month after month, with the doctor often announcing in his colleagues to show them this “singular phenomena.”
Who was this chap? “Although his interaction with the young female patient would not meet today’s ethical standards”–you could say that again !– “his medical remark was valid…” Even though rectal massage and sex stimulant may facilitate, “this kind of recommendation is reserved for carefully adopted cases! ”
DO NOT drink vinegar straight. In this blog, I talked about taking a insignificant swallow , not full-on drinking it. If you do drink instead of sip, you can shape the problem worse, as I discuss issues of my video Vinegar Mechanisms and Side Effect. Vinegar can be great stuff, though. Check out my video serials to know why I include it in my own family’s daily diet 😛 TAGEND
There’s another way to treat hiccups–one that I’ve applied myself since I was a kid. Since then, I’ve never had more than one or two hitches because I can stop them in their racetracks. Learn my prank in my video How to Strengthen the Mind-Body Connection .
In health, Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live renditions 😛 TAGEND
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