Have you been experiencing something like an occasional hiccup, that your doctor has said is the result of acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)?

This isn’t in reference to what we all know are “the hiccups.” When it comes to GERD, this hiccup-like sensation is different, kind of like a spasm in the stomach.

Acid reflux can cause a wide assortment of symptoms — not just the widely publicized heartburn.

Hiccups and GERD

“Hiccups can be associated with GERD,” says Dr. Maxwell Chait, MD, gastroenterologist at ColumbiaDoctors Medical Group in Westchester County, NY.

Other Causes of Hiccups

“It can be due to irritation of the diaphragm or the vagus nerve because of severe reflux, ulcer of the esophagus or even a tumor invading these structures.”

An esophageal ulcer can be caused by acid reflux. A tumor can grow out of esophageal cells, or be a metastasis from another site in the body.

Dr. Chait adds, “Also, severe distention of the stomach pushing up on the diaphragm can cause this, such as in gastroparesis, which is a motility disorder that can be seen in such diseases as diabetes.”

Stopping the Hiccups

If you suddenly have a hiccup — see what happens when you hold your breath. A benign hiccup just might go away.

If you experience a lot of hiccup-type activity or stomach spasms, see your doctor about the possibility of acid reflux.

In the meantime, make sure that you are trying to avoid foods that you know trigger acid reflux or stomach hiccups.

Take note of any foods that seem to be correlated with heartburn, hiccups or other GERD symptoms such as a burning feeling in the throat, an unpleasant taste in the back of the throat and a liquid regurgitation of just-eaten food.

If you’re a fast eater and/or tend to gulp your beverages, slow down. Also cut back on late night eating.

These tactics will help reduce GERD symptoms including stomach hiccups.

Dr. Chait’s practice interests include digestive conditions such as colon cancer, gastrointestinal endoscopy and internal medicine. He has authored numerous publications in reputed journals.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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