Have you ever had hiccups with or after chemotherapy?

Posted by Colleen Young, Connect Director @colleenyoung, Tue, Jun 11 3:50pm

We all know what hiccups are, right? They are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic “hic” sound.
Mayo Clinic investigators want to learn more about hiccups in people who are receiving cancer treatment and, if you have experienced hiccups, how they may have affected your quality of life.

So, whether you’ve had hiccups or not, we asked Connect members to take part in a survey. Responses in the survey remain anonymous and are kept completely confidential. The survey is now closed. I will share the results of survey after analysis.

In the meantime, feel free to take part in this discussion about hiccups, if you want to share.

Have you had hiccups after chemotherapy? If yes, were they different than you’ve experienced before? Did they bother you or affect your daily living?

Liked by auntieoakley, mdcjb

Yes, I do now and I’ve been wondering if they are hiccups or burbs. Just finished chemo last week and they have been bothering me,especially when I lie down, which I do often as my back hurts. They started as the chemo got postponed because of low blood counts. I finally had to have a transfusion. I also have a hernia from the earlier ovarian surgery and I can hear my stomach gurgle when I lie down.

Liked by auntieoakley

REPLY

Hi Colleen,
I was more than happy to respond to the survey, but I am curious as to why this question is being asked. I am involved in several ongoing studies (genetic, etc) and I am always interested in any information that may be available as a result. As a scientist by training (certainly not in this area of research), I am very involved in studying the etiology of my disease which is an LCOH (consequently less funded/researched) for women with whom I share this rare condition (I've met a number of women online). Thank you for your ongoing efforts to support this community of women with OC.

REPLY

Colleen- It's funny that you should ask this because I get hiccups everyday since my last SBRT treatment. Does this apply to the survey? It was 2 yrs ago

Liked by auntieoakley, mdcjb

REPLY

@susu2 @odette @merpreb, thanks for sharing your experiences.

Susu, technically speaking hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. Hiccups are usually repetitive. Belching or burping (eructation) is the voluntary or involuntary, sometimes noisy release of air (gas) from the stomach or esophagus through the mouth. Knowing that distinction, can you tell if you're experiencing burps or hiccups?

Merry, that's what we are trying to find out — whether hiccups may be related to treatment and if yes, which treatments?

Odette, good question. On the grand scale of cancer treatment side effects, we want to find out if hiccups are a side effect and if yes, how they affect daily living. This study will help us understand if further research is necessary to understand how patients manage this side effect if it is having a negative impact on quality of life.

REPLY
@colleenyoung

@susu2 @odette @merpreb, thanks for sharing your experiences.

Susu, technically speaking hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. Hiccups are usually repetitive. Belching or burping (eructation) is the voluntary or involuntary, sometimes noisy release of air (gas) from the stomach or esophagus through the mouth. Knowing that distinction, can you tell if you're experiencing burps or hiccups?

Merry, that's what we are trying to find out — whether hiccups may be related to treatment and if yes, which treatments?

Odette, good question. On the grand scale of cancer treatment side effects, we want to find out if hiccups are a side effect and if yes, how they affect daily living. This study will help us understand if further research is necessary to understand how patients manage this side effect if it is having a negative impact on quality of life.

Jump to this post

I get them after I have been under general anesthetic.

REPLY

I instantly finished the survey. Oh my gosh how did you know. What a business it is, to get the hiccups all the time. I am years past treatment and I still get them like crazy although much less. The oxygen at night has almost eliminated the worst problem of lack of sleep and having to go sleep in a chair so I did not keep waking my husband. That was a huge blessing. Now I mostly get them after the first drink of water or liquid or after the first bite of food. Also acid reducer that reduces the amount of acid coming up from my stomach seems to help.

REPLY

@auntieoakley– Very rarely do I get them like you just described. This must be so frightening for you. It is for me when it's bad. What has your doctor said about it? Have you had any chest surgery? You've had a very rough time with your husband and sleep is so important, I can't imagine how you did it?
How is he now?

Liked by auntieoakley

REPLY
@merpreb

@auntieoakley– Very rarely do I get them like you just described. This must be so frightening for you. It is for me when it's bad. What has your doctor said about it? Have you had any chest surgery? You've had a very rough time with your husband and sleep is so important, I can't imagine how you did it?
How is he now?

Jump to this post

I had multiple breast surgeries with the breast cancer, also chemo and radiation, and hormone therapy. No actual chest surgeries. My doctors just shook their heads like I was joking when I told them I got the hiccups all the time, what did your doctors say? There is a funny story here, my husband said he would dream he was driving over speed bumps before he woke up. About 5 years ago I had to be in the hospital and they said when I relax or sleep my oxygen levels drop and they prescribed an oxygen concentrator at night, I don’t know why but it stopped them at night and I was able to sleep in my bed again. How is it going for you now? My husband is doing good, he is pretty tired but still able to enjoy his life.

REPLY

I responded "no" to the survey as I rarely have hiccups and I did not have them during my treatment. As recommended by friends who had undergone cancer treatment, I kept a journal for a year following my initial diagnosis. I was very specific about not only physical symptoms but psychological symptoms as well. It was actually quite helpful to record my thoughts and feelings during this time.

Liked by auntieoakley

REPLY

@auntieoakley, that is funny that you're husband said he dreamed of going over speedbumps because in his light sleep he heard your hiccups. You have a great sense of humor. Did you or do you ever experience hiccups during the day or was it primarily at night (and presumably due to low oxygen levels)?

@odette, I appreciate hearing from the "no" side as well. I would like to hear more about your journal and symptom tracking. Would you mind starting a new discussion dedicated to the topic? It would be great advice for others and then we can also hear from members if and how they tracked their symptoms.
Here's how to start a new discussion:
1. Go to the Cancer group: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/cancer/
2. Click START A DISCUSSION.
3. Enter a title. For example, "Keeping a Symptom Tracking Journal" or "Did you keep track of your symptoms during cancer treatment?"
4. Write your message.
5. Click POST DISCUSSION.

Liked by auntieoakley

REPLY
@colleenyoung

@auntieoakley, that is funny that you're husband said he dreamed of going over speedbumps because in his light sleep he heard your hiccups. You have a great sense of humor. Did you or do you ever experience hiccups during the day or was it primarily at night (and presumably due to low oxygen levels)?

@odette, I appreciate hearing from the "no" side as well. I would like to hear more about your journal and symptom tracking. Would you mind starting a new discussion dedicated to the topic? It would be great advice for others and then we can also hear from members if and how they tracked their symptoms.
Here's how to start a new discussion:
1. Go to the Cancer group: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/cancer/
2. Click START A DISCUSSION.
3. Enter a title. For example, "Keeping a Symptom Tracking Journal" or "Did you keep track of your symptoms during cancer treatment?"
4. Write your message.
5. Click POST DISCUSSION.

Jump to this post

Thank you. Yes, I get them all the time, from that day to this. I have a couple of ways to try and stop them, and mostly I just roll my eyes like it’s just another hot flash. There occasionally is hiccups that frighten me because they are so close together and I can’t get a breath. I have had 14 years to get used to my new different life and I believe a sense of humor is a big part of accepting that.
I always try to bring a sense of humor to when I talk about side effects, because living with cancer and cancer treatments often require them. We cannot always laugh, but it sure helps.

REPLY

@auntieoakley– Good morning. You've been hiccuping for 14 years without any relief? I don't know how you do it. Have you had your frentic nerve checked out? There seems to be some connection between. Have you read this?
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hiccups/symptoms-causes/syc-20352613

REPLY

Wow, there is more information there now than 8 or 9 years ago when I looked. Thanks for sending that. I do not have them continuously, I will get them 5 to 10 times a day. Almost always with the first bite of food or swallow of drink. I have learned a few techniques to stop them that are around 50% successful. I avoid eating or drinking if I have to be in a meeting or speak, then I pray because sometimes they can just start. Sometimes I will get a round of them that is very difficult, or it seems I will have them more often over a few days. But I met a lady online who had them continuously for years and it scared me a bit. Thankfully, my advocacy work only means sporadic meetings or speaking and my husband rarely notices unless it is a scary one or the occasional round at night now. When we go back to Mayo for his next check, I might just ask for an appointment as well. Maybe there is something. My local doctors just shake their head and look at me like “hiccups! Get serious”. Truly a sense of humor is necessary! Haha I am not sure why the survey asked if we were over 6 ft tall? Do you? I was exactly 6 ft until last year. I still say I am but well aging ain’t for sissies.

REPLY
@auntieoakley

Wow, there is more information there now than 8 or 9 years ago when I looked. Thanks for sending that. I do not have them continuously, I will get them 5 to 10 times a day. Almost always with the first bite of food or swallow of drink. I have learned a few techniques to stop them that are around 50% successful. I avoid eating or drinking if I have to be in a meeting or speak, then I pray because sometimes they can just start. Sometimes I will get a round of them that is very difficult, or it seems I will have them more often over a few days. But I met a lady online who had them continuously for years and it scared me a bit. Thankfully, my advocacy work only means sporadic meetings or speaking and my husband rarely notices unless it is a scary one or the occasional round at night now. When we go back to Mayo for his next check, I might just ask for an appointment as well. Maybe there is something. My local doctors just shake their head and look at me like “hiccups! Get serious”. Truly a sense of humor is necessary! Haha I am not sure why the survey asked if we were over 6 ft tall? Do you? I was exactly 6 ft until last year. I still say I am but well aging ain’t for sissies.

Jump to this post

@auntieoakley– Haha- Over 6" tall? I'm 5'1", down from 5' 2 1/2". I have no idea why height should be a factor.

"When the air rushing in hits your voice box, your vocal cords close suddenly and you're left with a big hiccup. Some things that irritate the diaphragm are eating too quickly or too much, an irritation in the stomach or the throat, or feeling nervous or excited."

"On rare occasions, hiccups persist even longer than a month or recur frequently over an extended period of time. … Some illnesses for which continuing hiccups may be a symptom include: pleurisy of the diaphragm, pneumonia, uremia, alcoholism, disorders of the stomach or esophagus, and bowel diseases."
These explanations are on Google. Have you had any experiences with any of these prior to your hiccuping?

REPLY

No, I used to look it up all the time, but there just didn’t seem to be many answers. I have seen all of these on the list and tried to figure if one could be the problem. Hahaha, searching for that easy fix. I eventually just quit looking, I had not even really thought of it as more than annoying in a long time, until that survey popped up. Then I got really curious all over again. Then the question about 6 ft. Made me curious too!

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.