Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

"Hiccups" for 5 years!

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 10 Replies
  • Posted By: cadyjt
  • July 9, 2008
  • 00:22 AM

I have had an increasingly worse condition for the past 5 years. At any time during the day, even when I am in the early stages of sleep, I have a loud, painful spasm of sorts. It's almost like a high-pitched "hiccup." I have at least 4 or 5 of these every half hour, sometimes even attacks of 30 or more in a row. These aren't chronic hiccups, as I have normal, regular hiccups every once in a while. These have been getting increasingly worse over time, to where I am in so much chest pain I have to stop whatever I am doing and rest. In extreme cases I have had over 40 in a few minutes, which ends in me vomiting.

I have been diagnosed with a good-sized hiatal hernia, but my GI doctor insists that this is not what's causing the hiccups, as this has been treated and improved greatly, with no change in the events.

I have tried every home remedy for hiccups, along with several medications (even so far as Prozac and Thorazine), I have stopped chewing gum and drinking out of straws, as the doctors believed swallowing air worsens this.

Nothing has helped! This condition is embarrassing and painful. I can't go to movie theaters, nice restaurants, anything. I have not been able to get any help from tons of doctors. It is not a psychological condition (that's been suggesed) and not any kind of Tourettes (also has been suggested.)

Can anyone help? Does anyone have any kind of similar experience?

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10 Replies:

  • If these truly are hiccups, here's a site: http://www.patentlysilly.com/patent.php?patID=7062320this might help with the attacks you are talking about, but does not seem to explain the problem itself... I think i'll have to look into the cause of hiccuping... this is weird... and sounds really uncomfortable, i'll see if i can find anything. Do you have any other symptoms, even if it seems unrelated?
    qwertyuiop123 453 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have the hiatal hernia, which caused severe chest pain and acid reflux. But since going to the GI doctor, I am on plenty of PPIs and other medication which keep those symptoms pretty much under control. The only other symptoms I have are migraines, about once a week now, which usually include some aura, dizziness, nausea, etc. I am very sensitive to light most days, but I believe that has alot to do with my vision being extremely poor and it triggers to migraines. I wear sunglasses most days indoors and out. I had severe thyroiditis when I was 15 (I'm 18 now), when my thyroid was overfunctioning to the point I almost went into thryoid storm. The hiccups started about two years before my thyroid started going crazy on me, so I am inclined to think they're unrelated (and so are the two endocrinologists I've seen for the problem.) I've been checked for gall bladder problems, pancreas function, and head and neck MRIs (the only thing that came back on that was chronic sinusitis, nothing else). I've been to 8 doctors, mainly specialists, and counting for these "hiccups." They're humiliating in public, where people stare and ask "WHAT was that sound?" I was asked to leave the room during the ACT because I was apparently too distracting. I'm starting college soon at a major university and am terrified to start these in the middle of a large classroom. I'm getting desperate. It seems that nothing and no one can make these go away.
    cadyjt 5 Replies Flag this Response
  • As you probably already know from your own research, a hiccup is a spasm of the thoracic diaphragm, a muscle at the bottom of the ribcage. Was there any injury to this area that preceded the hiccups? Muscle spasms may also have some neuropathic origin, although it is unlikely that this is the case if you only have hiccups and not other muscle spasms. Hiccups may be caused by hypokalemia or hyponatremia. Anxiety medications may be of some benefit to you as well. I'm sure the anxiety you experience when you have a hiccup attack in public only makes the hiccup attack even worse because your heart rate raises, blood is pumping to the site of the spasm, and you are breathing more irregularly. One of your best means of managing this will is to learn how to stay calm in those situations. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I know it's frustrating to not know what is causing it. I hope you get some answers soon!
    fillingim24 6 Replies Flag this Response
  • My daughter is 11 and has developed something similar. She has had constant muscle spasm in her stomach since Nov 07. Hers are quiet so unless she tells someone they don't know they are there. However, one can see her stomach move if she lifts her shirt or gives a hug. They occur every few seconds, all day long, every day except in a deep sleep. We were told it could be a tic. She also has another few issues going on though which docs are not sure if they are related or not. She has lost 27 lbs from Nov 07-Feb 08. She has kind of leveled off since Feb by losing/gaining a pound or two here and there. She complains of her stomach hurting and hurts more when she eats. So she eats very little. They have done a EEG, MRI of spine, CT scans of head and stomach and a full GI workup. So far, nothing. We have tried some medications and they don't work either. She is on Prozac because she has become depressed which they tell me is from not eating enough. Please let me know if you find anything out about the hiccup part. Thanks so much. Good luck to you...I know what is like to not have answers.
    1koolteacher 14 Replies Flag this Response
  • This is a very vague answer, but I’ll post it anyway. A doctor once told me that hiccups can be caused by activation of the vagus nerve. An acquaintance of mine, terminally ill in stomach cancer developed horrible hiccups in his last few days when the cancer was growing everywhere. I remember thinking of this possibility that the cancer or some of the metastases were growing into the vagus nerve.I am not in any way suggesting that you suffer from cancer, but there could be a process somewhere along the vagus nerve irritating it, for example a swelling, a benign tumour, a cyst. Maybe you could suggest a CT or MRI to exclude that?
    Felsen 510 Replies Flag this Response
  • Muscle spasms may also have some neuropathic origin, although it is unlikely that this is the case if you only have hiccups and not other muscle spasms. Hiccups may be caused by hypokalemia or hyponatremia. Anxiety medications may be of some benefit to you as well. I've tried plenty of anxiety medications, everything from anti-depressants to Thorazine to Xanax. I do suffer from anxiety that is more extreme than normal, but none of these medications have done anything to lessen these attacks. I don't know what's "normal" in muscle spasms, but I do have alot of twitching of the muscles in my arms and legs, along with tingling in my toes and hands. After ruling out alot of things with the MRI, the doctors are not concerned about this and attribute my numbness and twitching in my fingers to carpal tunnel and my foot tingling to a pretty bad car wreck last November. I've tried suggesting a scan to my doctors to check my vagus and phrenic nerves for any kind of damage, and they often refuse. I'm very, very close to insisting to a surgeon that I have my phrenic nerve cut. I have heard of that curing hiccups, so I'm assuming it would end these spasms as well. It's the only thing that has ever been suggested that may help.
    cadyjt 5 Replies Flag this Response
  • try a different doctor who will check out those nerves for you...check into this "Tapping". I just learned it last night and it seems that it will help a lot of problems. Your mantra could be "I've had hiccups for 5 years, but I'm doing something about it". And then when you tap the points, say "hiccup". Try it:http://www.emofree.com/
    Monsterlove 2,921 Replies Flag this Response
  • There was a thing on Mystery Diagnosis the other night with a woman in the ER that had the hiccups for 8 days. Sugar on the TIP of the tongue (don't swallow) worked for a short time. The end result was the Dr. having her lay on her back while he pressed ******n her brow-bone for about 3 mins. She was fine after that and even reported that she had no recurrence of the hiccups. Hope this was helpful :)
    aliceanna 41 Replies Flag this Response
  • Felsen is right. There is something called vagus nerve stimulation that may help you. Try here: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=16730609
    aquila 1,263 Replies Flag this Response
  • I don't think I was clear on this...Hiccups is in quotations marks because they aren't hiccups. I know for a fact they aren't hiccups. Something is causing a spasm or something like that. I don't know what, I don't know where...All I know is that I get a sudden, sharp, inhalation reflex (LIKE a hiccup) that causes extreme chest pain and a squeaking sound. Think like...Tortured puppy. It seems like there is something GI-related, because afterwards it almost feels like I'm forcing myself to belch - sometimes I actually kind of belch DURING a hiccup (and trust me, it's weird.) But everything is in reverse. I don't know how to explain it. Like a belch, but backwards?And not to be disrespectful, because I know everyone on here is only trying to help, but don't you think that after 6 years I would've tried every single remedy for actual hiccups? I've gone so far as to have acupuncture!I get hiccups just like every other normal person does.These are something different, and no one can figure out what.
    cadyjt 5 Replies Flag this Response
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