Hiccups may indicate  pregnancy

Hiccups which are more irritating and disturbing activities  are more common in women during pregnancy. There is a large number of women claiming that one of the first ways they can predict whether they are pregnant or not is by the presence of hiccups. Some researchers believed that it is the acid reflex which causes hiccups in pregnancy. But there is less scientific explanation about the cause of hiccups in pregnancy other than  more anxiety induced hiccups. Hiccups may also indicates other underlining medical conditions like brain tumour, stroke or nerve damage.it is advisable to see doctor or get advise from healthcare professional if the hiccups last more than 48 hrs which may not always an indicator of pregnancy.

Introduction and Symptoms

Your diaphragm is a muscle between the chest and the abdomen. Involuntary (uncontrollable) contractions of this muscle are called hiccups. Your vocal cords suddenly close immediately after each contraction, and thus the resulting “hic.” This well-known sound of a hiccup is the only evident symptom of the condition.

Risk factors or causes

Though there is no exact cause, a number of conditions can lead to hiccups. They include

-Eating too fast, thereby swallowing air.

-Smoking.

-Drinking too much alcohol.

-Brain tumors and strokes.

-Some medical disorders.

-Damage to certain nerves.

-Live problems that irritate the diaphragm.

-Certain medications.

-Stress and anxiety.

Treatments

Hiccups usually last for only a few minutes then go away by themselves. However, they could last for more than 48 hours (also called protracted or persistent hiccups) and even longer than a month (intractable hiccups). This can be very uncomfortable and disturbing, and treatment should be sought. Your healthcare practitioner may run some tests to identify any underlying causes. These tests may include:

-A chest X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scan, to observe your diaphragm.

-Blood tests.

-Liver tests.

-An endoscopy (using a thin tube with camera attached to observe your digestive tract).

Dealing with the related underlying medical issues will generally stop the hiccupping. If no causes can be determined, then one (or more) of several medications can be prescribed. These include benzodiazepines (tranquilizers), haloperidol and chlorpromazine (antipsychotics), Benadryl (antihistamine), baclofen (muscle relaxant), metoclopramide (for nausea), nifedipine (controls blood pressure), and seizure medications like gabapentin.

In some rare cases, more critical procedures could be employed, such as:

-Nasogastric intubation: which involves a tube being inserted through your nostril down into the stomach.

-Diaphragmatic pacemaker: which is a diaphragm-stimulating and breathing-regulating electronic device that is surgically implanted.

-Anaesthetic injection: primarily to block the phrenic nerve.

Self care

Though most hiccups will stop by themselves after a short while, there are several things you can do to expedite the process and bring relief. Many of these techniques have been proven to bring results, while some are still open for debate. The various self-help techniques include:

-Holding your breath for a little while.

-Gargling the back of your throat with water.

-Sipping ice-cold water slowly.

-Swallowing one tablespoon of sugar (for non-diabetics).

-Applying pressure gently on your diaphragm.

-Applying pressure gently on your nose while swallowing.

-Breathing into a paper (not plastic) bag.

-Bringing your knees to meet your chest.

-Compressing your chest by leaning forward.

-Tasting or licking vinegar.

-Chewing lemon.

-Using your hand to shut your mouth and nose, then exhaling forcefully.

-Using a spoon or other item to lift your uvula; the uvula being the fleshy tissue at the upper back of your throat. 

Drugs used in treating

Different classes of drugs help stop hiccups by one means or another. For example, anticonvulsants like phenytoin help control the body’s motor activity, which in turn controls diaphragm contractions that are responsible for the hiccupping. Other drug classes include antiemetic agents, anesthetics, muscle relaxants, analgesics, antipsychotic agents, and sedatives.