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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Persistent Hiccups and Bowel Gas


 prashant70 - Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:07 am

This case relates to my father. Patient Details: Male / 82 years. Otherwise in good health with no conditions. Was operated for enlarged prostrate about 12 years ago. Was not on any medication, prior to this episode.
Episode details: Day 1 (morning): Suffering from cough and cold. Prescribed antibiotic by doctor. After a single dose of antibiotic, started hiccuping continuously. Day 2 (morning): took pill for hiccuping as recommended by Doctor. Pill was chlorpromazine (not sure of spelling). After taking pill, collapsed into semi-conscious state with very low bp and heart rate. Admitted into hospital ICU. Stabilized in hospital, but did not fully awake till evening (doctors attributed this to deep sleep caused by chlorpromazine). By night, was awake and coherent, though weak. Hiccups persisted. All vital parameters remained stable throughtout. Day 3 (morning): Was fully alert and coherent, but needed help to move. Passed motion with help of laxative. Battery of tests done the previous day and this day were all normal (including blood, urea, creatnine, etc.). Abdominal ultrasound reported bowel gas, which was apparent from bloating anyway. Day 3 afternoon: discharged from hospital, prescribed antibiotic, reglan, pantodac and cough syrup. Passed a couple of loose motions. Hiccups persisted.

Today is Day 3 evening. Hiccups persist. They come and go at irregular intervals. E.g. he has hiccups for an hour or so followed by 30 min of relief; then they start again. Tried various home remedies - startling (worked, hiccups stopped for about 30 min then started again); drinking water in one breath (didnt work); etc. Constant hiccuping is causing abdominal pain and discomfort and not letting him sleep properly. Right now he's very weak and still needs assistance while moving.

Would appreciate it if anyone can provide any information that'll help.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:39 pm

User avatar HI,
How frustrating this must be for your father. I can only hope that in the time that has elapsed since you wrote, he has had improvement. Interestingly enough, adult men are the most commonly affected by this condition.

I feel confident that you are doing what can be done with your doctor on board for this problem. It is unfortunate he had an adverse reaction to the treatment. Since persistent hiccups can be a symptom of a more serious disorder (lungs, GI system, heart), it needs to be investigated as you have been doing.

If it is benign (no serious underlying condition), he might try doing some deep breathing exercises to try to keep the diaphragm relaxed. He should take several minutes at each attempt to really relax with the slow, steady breathing. He might even benefit from some hypnotherapy or other alternative medicine. Sometimes more drastic measures are taken, targeting the nervous system.

We wish him well.

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