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Chronic hiccups - a common side-effect of having a stroke

by , 30 October 2013

Hiccups aren't exactly a health problem - unless of course they stop you from living a normal life. And for stroke survivors, that's often the case. Yet few people actually realise that it's a pretty common side-effect of surviving. But that doesn't mean you have to live with them…

If you’ve ever suffered from hiccups that last ten minutes or longer, spare a thought for stroke victims. Many experience chronic hiccups once they’ve healed.

And while you may think that’s a small price to pay for a second chance at life, chronic hiccups can be downright embarrassing, not to mention pretty painful too. Plus, they can start to have a serious impact on your health if they interrupt your sleep or keep you awake at night.

What causes chronic hiccups in stroke victims?

Simply put, the reason you get hiccups after a stroke all comes down to brain damage to the area of your brain that controls your diaphragm, explains the Better Health Channel’s website.

While “time is typically the best cure for hiccups, recovering stroke patients are sometimes prescribed chlorpromazine or baclofen to treat constant hiccups,” says Discovery Health. If that doesn’t work, you’ll probably be told you need surgery.

But why take that risk before you try these natural hiccup remedies?

Four ways to get rid of hiccups naturally…

Before you opt for surgery or drugs to cure your stroke-related hiccups, try these natural remedies instead:

  1. Sugar: Follow Mary’s Poppin’s advice and take a “spoonful of sugar”. It’s believed sugar’s graininess slightly irritates your oesophagus and causes the phrenic nerves to ‘reset’ themselves, explains Readers’ Digest.
  2. Distract yourself: “Press the palm of your hand with the thumb of your other hand. The harder, the better. Alternatively, you can squeeze the ball of your left thumb between the thumb and forefinger of the right. The discomfort is a distraction that affects your nervous system and may put an end to the hiccups,” suggests besthealthmag.com.
  3. Pull a tongue. Stick your tongue out of your mouth and pull on it. “It may sound strange,” says web-clinic.org, “but the strain on your mouth and throat can help halt the contractions in your diaphragm”.
  4. Try the barman's trick. According to Nutrition and Healing's Dr Jonathan Wright, in a study "88% of those who sucked (and perhaps chewed) on a lemon wedge soaked in Angostura bitters were cured."

Don’t let annoying stroke side-effects like hiccups stop you from getting back your life. Learn to deal with them and see your doctor if these home remedies don’t help.

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