Understanding Hiccups Plus TikTok & Unhealthy Eating Habits

FW Woodley et al. JPGN Reports. 2022. August 2022 – Volume 3 – Issue 3 – p e209. Open access: Significant Temporal Association of Esophageal Air Events (Supragastric Belches, Air Swallows, and Gastric Belches) With Hiccups: A Case Study in an Adolescent

This report showed a significant temporal association between esophageal air events (EAEs) and hiccups using impedance-pH monitoring (I-pHM). EAEs include air swallows, gastric belching, and supragastric belching

This article reviews physiology of hiccups:

  • “Hiccups are physiologically normal but can become pathological when they occur with increasing regularity or for extended periods of time (1). The occurrence of hiccups is mediated through a reflex arc that consists of 3 basic branches: (1) afferent/sensory limb involving vagal, phrenic, and sympathetic nerves; (2) medulla and possibly the cervical spine (8) where central processing occurs; and (3) efferent/motor limb involving motor fibers of phrenic nerves and accessory nerves that innervate the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, respectively (1,9). A hiccup may be caused by any disturbance that triggers one of these branches (1).”

Understanding reasons for hiccups may help with treatment:

  • “We initially tried treating this patient’s hiccups with acid suppression. When symptoms persisted despite H2 blocker, PPI, and cyproheptadine therapy, I-pHM confirmed minimal GER and allowed us to focus instead on other treatments: behavioral techniques, diaphragmatic breathing, and baclofen.”

My take: It is nice to see a correlation between hiccups and physiology with I-pHM. In some patients, baclofen along with diaphragmatic breathing may be a consideration prior to definitive testing.

Related blog posts:

Unrelated article (but interesting): Brooks R, Christidis R, Carah N, et al Turning users into ‘unofficial brand ambassadors’: marketing of unhealthy food and non-alcoholic beverages on TikTok. BMJ Global Health 2022;7:e009112.

Key point: This study examines the marketing of unhealthy food and non-alcoholic beverages on TikTok. Videos posted by top food brands frequently feature branding, product images, engagement and celebrities/influencers. These videos reach billions of views.

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