This article is co-written by Shari Forschen, NP. Shari Forshen is a registered nurse at the Sanford Health Nonprofit Medical Organization in North Dakota. She received a master's degree in family paramedic from the University of North Dakota. Has been working as a nurse since 2003.
The number of sources used in this article is 29. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
Every person is familiar with hiccups. However, the causes and mechanism of hiccups are not completely known. Nevertheless, hiccups can very often occur after drinking. Unfortunately, there are no generally accepted methods of getting rid of sudden hiccups. However, there are many folk remedies that allow you to quickly and easily stop hiccups when you are drunk. Usually one or more of these methods is enough to stop the hiccups and you can continue the fun. In addition, you can try to prevent hiccups. To do this, avoid excessive consumption of food, alcoholic and carbonated drinks, sudden changes in temperature, strong and unexpected arousal, and emotional stress. In addition, you should stop drinking alcohol if you are trying to get rid of hiccups. Everyone knows that alcohol abuse can have negative and far-reaching health consequences. To avoid unpleasant consequences, remember the measure. Only in this case you can prevent the appearance of unpleasant symptoms, including hiccups.
Causes and danger of drunk hiccups
There are several varieties of drunk hiccups that differ from each other in the cause of vagus nerve irritation:
- toxic. If a person abuses alcohol, over time, the liver ceases to cope with the neutralization of toxins. It increases in volume and presses on the diaphragm,
- central, starting due to irritation of the nerve endings in the brain stem (due to alcoholic encephalopathy or a tumor),
- peripheral - a consequence of the effects of toxins on the peripheral nervous system, because of which alcoholic polyneuritis develops,
- reflected, arising from diseases of any organ along the vagus nerve (stomach, intestines, liver). The cause may be gastritis, enterocolitis, hepatitis, cirrhosis.
Thus, the occurrence of drunk hiccups is always a signal of disease. Sometimes it precedes a microinfarction. It is especially dangerous that others consider the patient’s poor health to be a consequence of intoxication and do not even suggest a heart problem until it is too late.
If the hiccups begin when pieces of food are in the esophagus, the person may choke, cough badly. Hiccups can provoke vomiting. If a hiccuping person is conscious, this is not so scary. But if hiccups begin in a dream, a drunk can suffocate due to vomit.
Prolonged uninterrupted hiccups in a drunk person are often accompanied by fecal and urinary incontinence.
Fight against drunk hiccups
Intensity and duration of hiccups are individual. If a person is only slightly drunk, and hiccups last only a few minutes, then getting rid of it is relatively easy using one of the popular methods:
- deeply inhale the air and hold it longer, mentally counting at least to 10. Then exhale as slowly as possible. Repeat the procedure several times,
- exhale in a plastic bag, and then slowly inhale from the same bag. Repeat 5-6 times. Inhaling the air from the bag, a person saturates the body with carbon dioxide, which is useful for hiccups,
- leave the room and breathe fresh air,
- if the hiccups began when a person chewed and swallowed food, it was necessary to spit out what was left in his mouth in a napkin. Then you should very slowly chew a piece of brown bread crust and swallow in several passes. The crumbs will clean the walls of the esophagus from pieces of food that irritate them,
- slowly, in small sips, drink a glass of still water at room temperature (carbonated drinks cannot be drunk with hiccups). Peppermint tea and boiled milk also help.
- in small sips, drink a glass of cabbage or cucumber pickle,
- put something with a sharp taste in your mouth: a slice of lemon, a slice of black bread, spread with mustard or horseradish, and chew slowly,
- put an ice in your mouth and wait until it dissolves,
- with a prolonged hiccup, put the drinker in bed and put a cold compress on his stomach. Change compresses every 5-10 minutes for an hour. Always be around and make sure that the hiccuping person does not choke,
- artificially induce vomiting (press on the root of the tongue with two fingers or the handle of a teaspoon, tickle with a feather).
After the hiccups pass, it is better not to drink alcohol until the end of the evening.
What can not be done if a hiccup is drunk
In order to get rid of the hiccups of a drunk person, you should never scare him: the drunker's nervous reactions are unpredictable, and a sudden fright can cause a faint, a heart attack, or even a microinfarction.
Often there are tips to perform physical exercises: to bend over and in this position drink liquid. But even for a little drinker, such an exercise is unsafe: with impaired coordination of movements, it is easy to break a glass or even fall. Therefore, all physical exercises, except for a normal walk, it is better to postpone the next day, when the hops disappear.
Medical care for drunk hiccups
Drunk hiccups are not as harmless as it seems: in addition to the fact that a person makes unpleasant sounds, causing hostility of others, his body is constantly tense and shakes, which is why the vessels experience an additional load. A hiccup drunk person is better not to be left alone until the hiccups pass.
If a drunk hiccups in a dream, you need to try to wake him or at least make sure that he does not start vomiting. If hiccups last more than 12 hours, it is better to consult a doctor.
Doctors in such cases prescribe antipsychotic, enzyme, or antidepressant drugs. But after getting rid of hiccups, additional examinations will probably be needed: it is necessary to find out the reasons for such a long hiccups. Most likely, the patient will be diagnosed with diseases of the stomach, liver or cardiovascular system, you may need to undergo a course of treatment for alcoholism.
Reasons for the appearance
In ordinary people, hiccups occur due to involuntary contraction of the muscles of the larynx and diaphragm. During contraction, the vocal cords are compressed, which is why a characteristic sound arises. Usually, hiccups appear when the wrong air enters the stomach, contraction of the muscles of the diaphragm helps to remove it.
Alcoholic hiccups have their own specifics, and she is not so harmless. There are several types of it:
- toxic - occurs due to poisoning of the body with alcohol, its decay products,
- central - there is a problem of communication between the central part of the nervous system and the peripheral parts, as a result, the central nervous system is disrupted
- peripheral - the phrenic nerve and the vagus nerve (vagus) that connects the brain and abdominal cavity suffer
- reflected - violation of the gastrointestinal tract.
With alcoholism, the liver always suffers. Under the influence of ethanol, the cells of the organ are destroyed, cell metabolism is disrupted. There is a replacement of the destroyed sections of the liver with adipose tissue, the gland increases in size, presses on the diaphragm. As a result, the diaphragm contracts and hiccups occur. In addition, nerve cells are affected by alcohol, muscle weakening and atrophy, including the diaphragm, occur.
Alcoholic hiccups can last from a quarter of an hour to two days. It is dangerous in itself, and is also often a sign of serious pathologies in body which can be fatal. Therefore, it is important to know how to stop the attack, and in which cases it is worth seeking medical help.
The fastest way to get rid of hiccups
There are many methods for stopping spasm during intoxication, but the fastest is water use. It may seem that it is banal and obvious, but this method has been tested for years, it is effective and very simple. To remove hiccups, you need to take small sips, slowly, drink simple drinking water. All you need to do ten sips. Strengthen this method by drinking water while lying down. In this case, there is a change of one reflex to another, swallowing. There is also a variation of this method: you need to take ten small sips, then hold your breath and take ten more such sips.
You can get rid of hiccups that started at first at home. The very first thing to do is to stop drinking, to cleanse the body of toxins. To do this, induce vomiting, this will cleanse the gastrointestinal tract, stop further absorption of ethanol. After that, hiccups can go away on their own, as the body will switch to the gag reflex already.
If after these actions the hiccups did not go away, then it is worth using one or several popular home methods:
- Green tea. You need to drink freshly brewed green tea with the addition of chamomile or mint. Such a drink in itself is useful for a hangover, and it also helps to clean up the attack.
- Breath holding. You need to take a deep breath and hold your breath as long as possible. This should be done several times, one, as a rule, is not enough.
- Sweet. It is necessary to slowly dissolve a small amount of sugar in your mouth or half a teaspoon of honey. It is advisable not to swallow, but to allow the sweet mass to drain into the stomach on its own.
- Sour. You must also dissolve a quarter of a slice of lemon or a very sour apple in your mouth.
- Ice. You should put a piece of ice in your mouth and keep it there until it disappears completely.
- Stale bread. A piece of stale bread must be chewed very slowly, then swallowed. It should not be washed down with water.
- Exercises. Light exercise can help relax your diaphragm. These can be forward and backward bends, squats, forward bends with hands clasped behind the back of the lock. When performing exercises, it is important to monitor breathing: you need to squat or bend while exhaling, and straighten out when inhaling.
Use of medical methods should be when other methods have not helped, and the attack turned into a protracted one.
Prolonged hiccups may be a sign of a life-threatening condition for the patient, so you should definitely consult a doctor.
Depending on the results of the examination, doctors usually prescribe:
- antipsychotics - calm the nervous system, quickly relieve spasms,
- muscle relaxants - eliminate the increased tone of the muscles responsible for reducing the diaphragm,
- enzyme preparations - improve metabolism, improve the digestive tract.
You cannot prescribe medications yourself or another person. What kind of drugs and in what dosages to take, can only be determined by a specialist.
In some cases, they may prescribe medical procedures for treatment:
- carbon dioxide inhalation,
- gastric lavage,
- nasal catheter
- novocaine blockade.
What can not be done with hiccups
There are a number of actions that in no case should be performed to eliminate hiccups:
- Do not treat the problem with fear. Hiccups are neurological in nature, so fright can only aggravate an attack, provoke a nervous breakdown, cause a serious malfunction in breathing,
- Do not use new drinks of alcohol to stop the attack. This will only increase the intoxication of the body, and after a while spasms can begin with a new force,
- Do not drink any carbonated drinks, including water. They can cause bloating, further increasing pressure on the diaphragm,
- You should also not try to stifle hiccups with plenty of food. This will not help, but only exacerbate the problem.
If the attack is long and does not go away, you just need to see a doctor.
Alcoholic hiccups are a rather dangerous condition, do not underestimate it. Often it is a sign of extremely serious diseases and pathologies, in itself also dangerous:
- A drunk person cannot fully control himself and his reflexes. Strong hiccups can cause breathing problems. Also, in a dream, it can cause vomiting, resulting in the likelihood of suffocation.
- Spasms of the diaphragm can provoke or be a sign of a developing microinfarction in a drunkard.
- Prolonged frequent cramping of the diaphragm may be a sign of the last stage of cirrhosis.
- Long hiccups are a symptom of alcoholic polyneuritis. If you do not start treating it in time, it will lead to death.
Be sure to consult a doctor if:
- hiccups are strong and long (two hours or more),
- seizures appear several times a day,
- seizures occur several times a week,
- Hiccups are accompanied by symptoms such as numbness of the limbs, chest pain, pain in the calf muscles, severe heartburn or difficulty swallowing, and a decrease in the sensitivity of the feet.
It is possible to completely overcome hiccups, as well as more serious pathologies, a sign of which it is, only in case of getting rid of alcohol dependence.
Alcohol abuse causes great harm to the whole body. The liver is one of the organs that suffers the most.
Hiccups in a drunk person more often arise precisely because of an enlarged liver, which presses on the diaphragm.
This leads to involuntary contractions of her muscles, and a compressed sound is heard due to a sharp closing of the throat gap. Such hiccups are long and more intense than normal. This is due to intoxication of the body.
"Drunk hiccups" and its danger
Persistent cramping of the diaphragm after drinking alcohol is likely to indicate toxic poisoning of the body, which adversely affects all systems.
During this disease, toxic damage to the nerve endings occurs, which subsequently leads to serious problems with memory, confusion, muscle atrophy.
Therefore, in addition to tiresome hiccups, the following symptoms should be addressed:
- numbness of the limbs
- calf soreness,
- sensitivity reduction step,
- sleep disturbance,
- fast fatiguability.
Remember that alcoholic polyneuritis without proper treatment can be fatal. Hiccups in themselves can be dangerous for a drunk person. He may choke on food or die from vomit.
Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of related diseases. So during a strong hiccup, a drunk person can have a microinfarction.
From the above it follows that hiccups after alcohol are a signal that you should be more attentive to your condition, and maybe it's time to think about getting rid of the addiction.
How to stop
In many cases, the drinker, like his loved ones, does not take hiccups seriously ...
But this position is absolutely wrong, because a drunk hiccup is evidence that the body is poisoned.
It is necessary to make every effort to cleanse it.
Be sure to empty the stomach, causing vomiting. To do this, just click on the root of the tongue. Thus, you will get rid of further blood poisoning with toxins that were in the stomach. There is a chance that the debilitating hiccups will stop due to the fact that the nervous system switches to the gag reflex.
Breathing exercises can be very helpful with alcoholic hiccups. It is done as follows:
- Take a deep breath.
- Hold your breath for 2-3 seconds.
The following simple exercise may help:
- Spread your legs wider.
- Take a breath.
- Raise your hands up.
- Lean forward and lower your hands
Repeat several times.
Well-proven food with a pronounced taste. You can eat a slice of lemon, a sour apple, bread with mustard or horseradish.
Do not forget about the traditional ways to get rid of hiccups:
- Consumption of large amounts of water.
- Distraction of hiccups. For example, you can be interested in his conversation.
Still, the best way to forget about hiccups after alcohol, as practice shows, is to stop drinking alcohol.
If it doesn’t go away for a long time
Fighting hiccups at home is, of course, better than nothing, but when it does not help, and moreover, hiccups last more than a day, the most appropriate solution would be to go to the hospital.
Usually, treatment for alcoholic hiccups involves special inhalations. They necessarily contain carbon dioxide. And we already know what effect it has.
In some cases, the following procedures are performed:
- stomach research methods (e.g., sounding),
- blockade of the nerves of the diaphragm,
- drug treatment through the use of various psychotropic drugs and anticonvulsants.
Тяжёлые ситуации могут требовать хирургического вмешательства.
We mentioned that traditional methods of dealing with hiccups can be effective, but the famous option with fright is not recommended.
The consequences of using fear on a person who is in a drinking bout are unpredictable.
At best, he will simply respond with aggression, at worst - he will have a heart attack. So it is preferable to resort to more gentle methods.
Never use carbonated drinks. This can lead to bloating, which creates additional pressure on the diaphragm.
Alcohol hiccups should not be “cured” by eating large quantities of food. No burden on the digestive system!
How to avoid
Exhausting hiccups can be prevented if:
- control alcohol consumption,
- have a bite to eat
- do not drink alcohol with carbonated drinks,
- make sure that your breathing is even.
During a “decent” feast, it is quite possible to follow these recommendations. Unfortunately, during a binge an inveterate alcoholic is unlikely to think about even breathing ...
It is impossible to ignore the hiccups that arose after alcohol, because it indicates an infection of the body with toxins.
First you need to induce vomiting and bring a person to fresh air. Recommended breathing exercises and exercise. The use of water and acidic foods, such as lemon, will not hurt.
Watch the video in which the specialist demonstrates interesting ways to get rid of hiccups: