I'm 21 years old and have had persistent hiccups for around 11-12 years. They are not constant but on/off every single day, some days worse than others. They seem to be made worse whenever I'm active, and this can be something as simple as standing up after sitting down. They're also worse when I'm talking, laughing or when my heart rate speeds up. My hiccups also vary - sometimes it is one random hiccup every now and then throughout the day, sometimes they last for minutes at a time, or sometimes they continue for hours. This happens every single day on and off (e.g. there are brief periods when I'm not hiccuping). I am not certain if I continue to hiccup in my sleep as nobody has ever checked for me. If I do, they don't wake me up.
I've tried absolutely everything to try and get rid of them but nothing helps. I first went to the doctors about 5 years ago after I began to experience pain associated with my hiccups. Sometimes a severe pain will shoot through my chest, neck, shoulders and down my arms, and renders me unable to breathe for a few seconds. An ache then stays in my chest for the rest of the day, and when my hiccups are particularly bad I often end up with pain/ache in my chest and neck from the continuous strain of hiccuping. I also experience a lot of chest discomfort in general (a tight feeling) and shortness of breath/difficulty breathing. I'm quite a sedentary person (I'm a student) and have tried exercise to ease my hiccups, but it only seems to make them worse.
To begin with I was prescribed a drug meant to ease convulsions (I don't remember what it was called) but that didn't help. I then went back to my doctor and they discovered I was severely anemic, which they told me was probably the cause of my hiccups. I have now had a healthy iron level for 3-4 years and there has been no change in my hiccups. More recently a different doctor prescribed Gaviscon but that didn't help either (and I don't seem to have any stomach or acid reflux problems, no symptoms besides hiccups). I went to see a third doctor today for a different opinion, and he merely found it funny and told me to drink more water.
I'm really feeling at a loss here. My hiccups are not constant but they are still extremely frequent, and not only are they painful a lot of the time, but they are very distressing and irritating. I've seen every available doctor at my local surgery but only three have offered advice (the others all said they couldn't help and that my hiccups are incurable). I am in the UK... does anyone know of any kind of specialist I could perhaps go to, or what kind of specialised doctor I could see who might know more about hiccups?
Any help or advice would be much appreciated!