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Singultus Causes

A hiccup results from the unintentional contraction of the diaphragm making the vocal cords close very briefly producing the hiccup sound. Acute or transient hiccups however, do not have a clear cause but may be triggered by factors such as eating spicy food; eating a large meal, drinking carbonated beverages, or swallowing air; drinking alcohol; sudden temperature changes; using tobacco; and sudden excitement or emotional stress. Persistent and intractable hiccups may have been a result from an underlying medical condition such as nerve damage or irritation, central nervous system disorders, metabolic disorders, surgery complications, and mental or emotional triggers.

Singultus Definition

Singultus or hiccups sound like a person is catching his or her breath while sobbing

Singultus Diagnosis

Patients with hiccups that last for more than 48 hours, undergo a physical examination from a doctor. If an underlying medical condition is suspected as the cause, the doctor may recommend tests such as blood tests, chest X-ray, ear exam, and fluoroscopy. If the cause is still unclear, more tests may be conducted depending on the condition.

Singultus Symptoms and Signs

A hiccup is sometimes preceded by a small tightening sensation in the chest, abdomen, or throat. The duration of a hiccup episode determines the type of hiccups a person has, which may be transient or acute hiccups, rersistent hiccups, or intractable hiccups.

Singultus Treatment

Hiccups usually cease on their own, without medical treatment. However, if they are persistent or intractable, the doctor may recommend medications, carotid sinus massage, nasogastric tube, or a nerve block. In rare circumstances when the treatment are not effective, the patient may be injected with an anesthetic to block his or her phrenic nerve to stop hiccups.

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