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What Causes Indigestion & Hiccups?

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What Causes Indigestion & Hiccups?
Indigestion can be uncomfortable. Photo Credit saknakorn/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

When the stomach cannot digest food, indigestion occurs. This usually happens due to several different conditions as the digestive liquid is mainly responsible for indigestion. Indigestion can result in the most common symptoms, such as heartburn, general acidity in the esophagus and problems with gas, which can happen at the same time as the indigestion. Involuntary sounds brought on by spasms of the diaphragm are referred to as hiccups. Usually dissipating after a few minutes, they are generally nothing to be concerned about, as they resolve themselves. However, hiccups that last continuously for days or weeks may have something to do with an underlying condition that needs further examination.

Eating Too Fast

Eating food too quickly, overeating or eating during stressful situations can lead to indigestion. Excessive stomach acid is not the cause of indigestion. It is swallowing excessive air while eating that may increase the symptoms of bloating and burping, which are normally connected with indigestion. According to the Cleveland Clinic website, some medications can also upset the lining of the stomach, causing indigestion. Eating too quickly may put pressure on the diaphragm, triggering hiccups into action. There is no way to control hiccups once they begin, due to the involuntary action of the reflex arc mediated by the neural pathway.

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Hot or Spicy Foods

Many preventable causes of hiccups have to do with the type of foods eaten. Hot or spicy foods are known to bring on a hiccups attack. A person with hiccups may feel some tightening in the chest, throat or abdomen right before hiccuping. A person may emit between five and 60 hiccups in one minute after being triggered. According to MedicalNewsToday.com, unless the hiccups continue for more than 48 hours, there is no need to seek medical attention. Spicy foods tend to produce gas or acid in the stomach that causes the stomach to be unable to digest food. It’s best to drink plenty of fluids after a meal instead of during meals, and try to avoid spicy foods.

Sweet and Fizzy Beverages

To stop your stomach from producing extra acid, it's best to avoid certain beverages, such as coffee, caffeinated drinks, citrus fruits and juices, and milk. This does not help lighten the effect of indigestion; it only aggravates it. Carbonated drinks such as soda pop can also cause indigestion. The carbon in fizzy beverages is known to prompt an attack of hiccups. The fizz sets off a sharp contraction or spasm of the diaphragm that arises below the breastbone. The throat involuntarily sucks in air, closing the epiglottis, which is a flap of cartilage tissue, and thus making a hic sound. According to the State Government of Victoria Better Health Channels, hiccups generally resolve by themselves after a few minutes, but certain drugs, namely drugs for epilepsy, can make a person more susceptible to hiccups.

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References

Demand Media