Hiccups are an involuntary reflex characterized by the vibration of the vocal cords. The known origin of hiccups is the distension of the nerves in the diaphragm, which results in an oesophageal nervous spasm. The frequency of hiccup fits varies from one individual to another and according to the source of stimulation of the phrenic nerves. Several existing causes of hiccups share one thing in common; they are controlled by a few cervical vertebrae which act as a hiccup centre. In most cases, hiccups are caused by a hearty meal, excessive consumption of soft or alcoholic drinks, a sudden change in temperature, smoking, mood swings and stress.
Hiccups manifest themselves by spasms, of which the duration and frequency are variable. In the case of benign hiccups, the spasm can be jerky and short. But the hiccups are said to be persistent when they last one or two full days and when the fits recur repeatedly.
When hiccups result in insomnia and other physiological disorders like weight loss, lasts more than a month or even over a year, they are referred to as intractable hiccups. In this case, the hiccups are linked to various symptoms of diaphragm-related diseases.
When the hiccups are benign or if the fits occur at regular intervals, homoeopathy mainly recommends Cyclamen-europaeum-based and Cuprum-based remedies to stop them. The latter can be combined with Hyoscyamus niger or Nux vomica if the hiccup fit occurs fairly frequently after meals. Nausea, vomiting, stomach bloating and fatigue are among the many ailments that occur during pregnancy and create some frustration among pregnant women. Cuprum arsenicosum is a basic treatment that is used in many cases of hiccups.
In regard to hiccup fits that seem to drag on forever with repetitive fits that last long enough, it is advisable to take Kali bromatum, which is a homoeopathic solution of proven effectiveness. But if the contraction is difficult to stop, you can resort to Ranunculus bulbosus in order to alleviate the spasmodic hiccup fit. It should be stressed that in order to alleviate irritation of the phrenic nerve, which is the main cause of intractable hiccups, the intake of remedies must be renewed.
In babies, hiccups may occur without warning and a fit can last for ages if it is not properly dealt with. In general, a few grains of Cuprum, Hyoscyamus or of Stramonium are more than sufficient for stopping a fit. But if the hiccups occur in a timely manner after feeding, it is advised to take Teucrium Marum. This remedy is also indicated for cases of hiccups that affect young gluttons. If the fits alternate with yawning, Ignatia amara can also be taken in combination with the other remedies mentioned above.
In general, hiccups occur and disappear naturally. However, it is important to consult a doctor if the hiccups last for an abnormal period of time or regularly recurs during the day. A medical consultation is also mandatory if the hiccup fits result in burns or visceral pain.
• Cuprum Metallicum
• Hyoscyamus Niger
• Kalium Bromatum
• Magnesia Phosphorica
Good to know: Certain types of intractable hiccups require a surgical operation or a prolonged use of medication. Thus, homoeopathy seems to be the most appropriate therapeutic method to deal with hiccups without needing to resort to heavy medical treatment.