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What Causes Hiccups After Gastric Sleeve Surgery? By Gaston Tessada on May 01, 2020

Illustration shows normal stomach on left and post-sleeve gastrectomy stomach on right

Gastric sleeve surgery can lower your risk of serious health conditions by reducing the size of your stomach. Dr. Francisco Gonzalez can surgically reshape your stomach using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. 

Following gastric sleeve surgery in Tijuana, B.C., you may experience minor side effects as you recover. One side effect that many patients do not expect is frequent bouts of burping. Changes in habits can lower the occurrence of the diaphragm spasms.      

What Causes Hiccups After Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Hiccups (“singultus” in the medical profession) are involuntary muscle spasms of the diaphragm muscle. When too much food is swallowed or gas builds up inside the stomach, the muscle contractions relieve pressure from inside the stomach. 

The exact cause of hiccups in patients who recently underwent sleeve gastrectomy is not completely understood. Leading theories suggest that eating too quickly or eating excessively are likely causes of hiccups after sleeve gastrectomy. Why some patients experience hiccups at random times throughout the day even when they are not eating or drinking remains a bit of a mystery. 

The good news is that most patients will notice their bouts of hiccups subside in the days and weeks following surgery. The best way to ensure that you do not experience prolonged episodes of hiccupping is to watch how and when you eat. 

Tips for Reducing Hiccups after Gastrectomy

The most likely culprit causing your hiccups is poor food portion control. Following bariatric surgery in Tijuana, B.C., you will need to completely alter how quickly and how much you eat. 

Practice Mindful Eating

Taking time to savor each bite can make eating more enjoyable. The practice of mindful eating can significantly reduce bouts of hiccups.     

Useful tips for developing mindful eating habits include:

  • Find times to eat when there are no outside distractions
  • Eat until you feel satisfied, not stuffed
  • Understand the difference between triggers related to hunger and those that are not
  • Engage numerous senses by noticing smells, textures, and colors when eating
  • View eating as a pleasure and not a task

Observe Potential Triggers of Hiccups 

Hiccups might seem random, but they often occur as the result of some action or some deficiency in your body. The best way to learn what might be triggering your hiccups is to document each time you experience a bout of diaphragm spasms. 

Leave a notebook out and write the time and circumstances surrounding your hiccups. Had you just eaten? Was there something specific you ate? After several journal entries, you may start noticing a pattern in your eating habits that can then be adjusted.

What If My Hiccups Don’t Subside?

Most patients will experience increasingly infrequent bouts of hiccups as their bodies adjust to the results of their bariatric surgery. If weeks have elapsed and you are still experiencing frequent hiccups, let Dr. Gonzalez know. He may recommend medications or certain habits that reduce hiccups.   

Take the First Step Toward a New Body

Dr. Gonzalez performs sleeve gastrectomy endoscopically so you can recover quickly with few side effects. Most side effects will greatly subside within a few days after surgery. To schedule your sleeve gastrectomy consultation, please contact our office online or call (619) 304-7726.

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To learn more about our Tijuana practice call us at (619) 690-8417, or request a quote online.

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