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hiccups after surgery

Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

My husband had a Whipple procedure a week ago. He has had hiccups for the past two days. Does anyone know how long this lasts or have a suggestion on how to get them to stop? All the usual home remedies haven't worked.

Thanks, Nancy

Posts: 59
Joined: Dec 2008

Hi Nancy,

Have you spoke with his doctor? I had a bout of hiccups and they found I had a mild case of pluerel effusion, and it can be a sighn of that, I am not kidding, and no one knows why you get them. But check with the doctor if they don't clear up. I hope this helps.


Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

Thanks, Maryann

His doctor does know and ordered some medication. He started it yesterday, and it helped a little. He did get some sleep last night after 3 nights with no sleep. They also gave him a sleeping pill. But he woke up again this morning with them...day #5. They are keeping him hospitalized for a couple of extra days until he feels better.

Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

On the 9th day they finally stopped. That's the day he came home from the hospital. Just not having the hiccups made him feel so much better. Other than not having an appetite and being weak, he is doing O.K.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2011

happy your husband hiccups has stoped. i had 9" of colon removed, and hiccups now for 8 months. doctos still trying. its been hell. happy for you.

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2011

Hello to all those afflicted with post-operative hiccups. I am NOT a doctor but PLEASE ask your doctor about a prescription of Baclofen, if you want instant relief. Usually Baclofen is used as a muscle relaxer and antispastic agent but it has also worked in the the treatment of hiccups after surgery. I've seen it first hand in more than one instance, even people suffering for upwards of 2 weeks of hiccups. It can sometimes take up to 4 days to get the hiccups to go away completely, but you should see relief after 1 or 2 pills.

In case your doctor won't believe you, you can find more information in a study done by Dr. Denise Garvey of UCLA here: http://www.med.ucla.edu/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=127

The going theory is that hiccups develop post surgery when the anesthesia wears off because sometimes, the vagal or phrenic nerves get irritated from the anesthesia. It could be either that this causes a diaphragmatic spasm or messes up the timing of "glottic closure". Once the timing is messed up, its becomes very hard to get it to go back to normal, especially if not taken care of right away. So, in essence, the longer you have it, the harder it becomes to treat using traditional "old housewives" remedies.

The Baclofen works in this instance because it is a GABA agonist. What does that mean? Well GABA is the principle chemical, naturally occurring in your body, which is used to calm you down. In medical circles GABA is known as the "chief inhibitory neurotransmitter." The "agonist" part means that the GABA binds to the end of the nerve where the receptors are, and triggers a direct response, in our case, calming.

Since the hiccups are essentially a "spasm" the Baclofen attaches right to the end of the nerves and makes them relax. It's like a straight shot of "calming" right to the site of the problem, a direct hit. This is why Baclofen seems to be effective as opposed to other medications which may be given to you in an emergency room to treat such a condition, such as Thorzaine or other antipsychotics medications, or Xanax/Ativan or other benzodiazepines. I won't get into it now, but they all do a similar things but have different mechanisms of accomplishing it, of which Baclofen's seems to be the most effective for hiccups treatment.

Also, Baclofen's potential side effects are much less severe and it has lower risk of them as opposed to the options mentioned above. I also prefer Baclofen because it has no chance of become addictive, as opposed to benzodiazepines which are know to be really addictive and hard to get off of.

I wish you all health and well being.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2011

My husband had a lobectomy on Wed and started to hiccup a couple days after surgery. Yesterday, he had several bouts, one lasting over an hour. He was miserable and couldn't get any rest. I found your blog about Baclofen and requested it. Within 10 minutes, the hiccups subsided and by the time I left the hospital, my husband was ready to get a good night's sleep. The nurse also read your blog and said that it totally made sense and she would be recommending Baclofen for future cases of hiccups. I was just happy the doctor was willing to listen to our request. Thank you so much for finding this simple cure!

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi jaboutboul,
I just wanted to thank you for posting about Baclofen. I recently moved so that I could care for my father while he goes through chemo. When I got here he was having these terrible hiccups that were really more like convulsions. They even scared the nurses and doctors. They were violent and relentless. I scoured the internet to find relief for him. None of the old tricks worked, and then I found your post.I wrote down the name, and took it to the docs. He prescribed it and it has worked like a dream.One of the doctors scoffed at me for conducting my own research, but I think he was only upset that it worked better than what he had prescribed.Thanks again for the post.

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013

My daughter had breast reconstructive surgery a couple of days ago, an unexpected side effect of the surgery/anesthesia was bouts of hiccups - LOTS of them - 14 episodes of them!  They were violent and lasted 20 minutes or more - she was miserable! I researched and found the comment about Baclofen. I told the surgeon about it and he prescribed it for my daughter - after ONE pill - she was completely cured! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2011

I had a knee replacement on Monday October 31st in the morning. By Monday night I had severe hiccups that would not stop. The hospital gave me three different drugs. They worked at best for 30 to 40 minutes. By Thursday the spasms would last up to 20 seconds with me gasping for breathe. By Friday morning I was ready to be readmitted because it was so tough. The doctors, the hospital and the nurses had no solutions. I was doing the hold your breathe, drink upside down and gagging. They gave me 20 to 30 minutes of relief and that was declining with each procedure.

At my wits end I searched the Internet one more time and found your post. I called my doctor and had her call the prescription into the pharmacy. I took the first pill at 6:00 PM and stopped hicupping at 6:15 PM. I was so excited I didn't want to jinx myself so I waited until today to email my results. Your remedy was a very real blessing in my life. Thank you so much for taking the time to share it with complete strangers. My hope is that this information becomes more commonly known so others do not have to suffer.

lbinmsp's picture
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2006

After having a partial lobectomy I got hiccups while in the hospital - HURT sooo bad! One of my nurses took off and returned with a can of 7-up and a straw and told me to start sipping. Within a matter of less than a minute the hiccups stopped. I was totally amazed! She said it's not a 'medical cure' - but over her 30+ years as a nurse, she said she'd seen it work on many patients. Said it's a combination of the sugar and bubbles and straw! Go figure!

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2013

Ibinmsp: Had hiccups for 2 1/2 days post-op. Nothing was working. I was actually getting hoarse. Made an 11 PM trip to Wal-Mart. Only three cashiers on duty IN DECEMBER. Huge lines. What are they thinking? But they had the 7-Up. Sipped a whole can from a straw. Hiccups gone! Thank you! 

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