Don’t Let Hiccups put a Hiccup in Your Post-Bariatric Surgery Life

Hiccups are repetitive, uncontrollable contractions of the diaphragm. They can occur at any age. They can even occur while a fetus is still in the mother’s womb. Everyone can have hiccups, but after having weight-loss surgery, it’s not unusual for hiccups to occur more often.

Hiccups can occur for many different reasons, but they often come and go randomly.hiccups image

The most common causes of short-term hiccups include:

  • overeating
  • eating spicy food
  • consuming alcohol
  • drinking carbonated beverages, such as sodas
  • consuming very hot or very cold foods
  • a sudden change in air temperature
  • excitement or emotional stress
  • aerophagia (swallowing too much air)

But the main reasons many weight-loss surgery patients get hiccups are:

  • eating too quickly
  • overeating

Typically, a short-term case of hiccups will take care of itself. However, the discomfort may make waiting out hiccups unbearable if they last longer than a few minutes.There are many so-called remedies for hiccups such as eating sugar, putting your fingers in your ears, holding your breath, sticking out your tongue, having someone surprise you, scare you, or tickle you. However, there is no guarantee that any of these things help get rid of the hiccups. A better plan would be to try to avoid getting hiccups in the first place.

For bariatric patients it helps to:

  • Eat slowly.
    • Eating and drinking slowly helps avoid gulping air—resulting in the amount of air that is trapped inside the digestive tract.
    • Not drinking from a straw can also help reduce the amount of air in the tummy. Ingesting a lot of air can irritate the vagus nerve.
  • Avoid overeating.
    • Experts suggest that hiccups could be a sign of overworking our digestive system.
    • Reducing the amount of food you eat, even by a bite or two could make a big difference.
    • Adjust portion sizes until finding just the right amount for your pouch size.

Most hiccups are not an emergency. However a prolonged episode can be uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life. Contact your physician if you have hiccups that last longer than two days. Your doctor can determine the severity of your hiccups in relation to your overall health and other conditions.

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