Why Do People Hiccup?

Hiccups sometimes appear very jovial especially in cases of babies. But sometimes it’s irritating too, mostly when you have tried many methods to cure it, but all in vain.

Hiccups are a result of irregular movements or involuntary contractions in the diaphragm. Diaphragm is actually a dome-shaped muscle which lies at the bottom of chest, this muscle participate in expansion and contraction of the lungs. Now, what happens, when some person breathe in, this muscle pulls down to help in inhaling the air into the lungs and when someone breathe out, it pushes up to help in exhaling the air out of the lungs. But sometimes, the muscle pulls down with a jerk, suddenly making you suck air into your throat and produce a noise which sounds like ‘hiccup’, and thus known as Hiccup. If once started then this hiccup repeats itself for a few minutes. Hiccups are sometimes also called ‘Hiccoughs’. And in medical sense it is known as neuroaccoustic diafragmacontractions.

What causes Hiccups?
There are various causes which are responsible for the occurrence of hiccups. Some of these are:
• Having food in excess i.e. beyond limit/ eating too much.
• Eating fast. For example; baby feeding quickly can be the cause for hiccups.
• Eating spicy food which causes gas problem in the stomach.
• Consuming both hot and cold drinks at the same time.
• Drinking too much alcohol.
• Smoking too often.
• Excitement, anxiety and stress may also be the cause for the same.
• Excess of laughing can also cause hiccups.

It should be noted that some people may suffer from more frequent attacks of hiccups. Excessive frequency of hiccups should not be avoided; there can be some major health problem behind the attacks. The causes for such type of severe hiccups can be the cancer, certain type of infections, injuries, mental problem, previous surgeries etc. In these cases, one should go for an immediate doctor consultation.

How to cure Hiccups?

There are several methods to deal with the hiccups. Some of them are listed below:
1. Drinking a glass of water: One can simply have a glass of water to deal with hiccups. But, a particular protocol should be followed. Sit cross legged on the floor. Take a glass of water with a straw. Keep the glass between your legs. Bent forward and try to suck water from the glass. After few sips, you’ll notice that hiccups are gone.
2. Holding your breath for sometime: One method to cure hiccup is to inhale large amount of air and hold it as long as possible for you. Or you can simply exhale the air until the lungs go completely empty.
3. Receiving a sudden shock: This method is somewhat difficult as it occurs by chance and cannot be done by ourselves. Getting a sudden surprise or shock can cure hiccups instantly.
4. Breathing deeply: Sit down somewhere and try to relax yourself. Then breathe in and out slowly and deeply. After few minutes, hiccups will go away.

Written by Lucas Beaumont

Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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