What are Hiccups – The Causes and Home Remedies of Hiccups

what are hiccups

Hiccup!!! Hiccups are funny when it happens to someone else, right. However, when it strikes us, we simply want to get rid of them as soon as possible! There are so many funny instances, anecdotes, stories build just around hiccups. Interestingly, there is an Indian movie named ‘Hichki’ wherein the central character suffers from Tourette syndrome and one of her symptoms is hiccups.

What are Hiccups?

Hiccups refer to a condition wherein the diaphragm muscles contract involuntarily but repeatedly. There is an opening between a person’s vocal cords. When this opening shuts out of rhythm while checking the air inflow, the hic sound is caused.

Usually, hiccups start and end abruptly which lasts generally a few minutes. But sometimes it can last longer than 48 hours which is considered persistent hiccups. Most of the time persistent hiccups are caused by injury or irritation to phrenic nerves or vagus nerves. However, this can be also due to central nervous system disorders like encephalitis or meningitis, or metabolic disorders like diabetes.

Interesting Fact: Hiccups are also referred to as Singultus in medical terms. It is a Latin word and it means to catch the breath while crying.

Top 10 Reasons for Hiccups

So, you are not able to fathom the reason why it is troubling you and that too suddenly amid a very interesting conversation that you are a part of? Read about them and know more.

1. Eating

If you have a habit of eating food quickly between office breaks or before running errands, then this might be the reason for your hiccups.

2. Overeating

Not only eating quickly but eating too much can cause hiccups as well. So, avoid being a glutton at unlimited pizza party this weekend.

3. Overdrinking

Yep, that ‘drinks on me’ by your friend might have caused you hiccups as you were not able to stop at one.

4. Carbonated Drinks

Gulping down your favourite carbonated drink might have led to it as well.

5. Smoking

What? Can Smoking cause it? Yes, it seems that all things sinful can result in hiccups.

6. Breathing Pattern

So, today you exhaled more than you inhaled the fresh oxygen in a bid to get rid of accumulated toxins. You never know, this benign act of yours might be the reason for your continual hiccups.

7. Temperature

When you eat or drink something extremely hot or cold, it can lead to hiccups as it changes the temperature of your body.

8. Emotions

Your emotional side could have resulted in an attack by hiccups. These are even caused when one is very excited or even stressed. Anxiety issues or fear of something too can lead to it as well.

9. Ailments

At times, hiccups are a result of diseases irritating the nerves controlling the diaphragm, due to strokes, tumour or even surgery.

10. Obnoxious Fumes

With rising levels of pollution, people have been suffering from the problem of accidentally inhaling certain fumes and this might be the reason for frequent bouts of hiccups.

How to Get Rid of Hiccups Quickly?

Here are some home remedies for treating hiccups. However, it is not necessary that these would definitely work. This is because it is difficult to cure hiccups without the definite knowledge of their causes. There are so many crazy ways that people use to get rid of them. Every person will tell you something different that he or she did and then it actually stopped. In fact, what I think is that doing something crazy is a sure-shot way to relieve the bouts of hiccups.

1. Breath

Shortage of carbon dioxide in your body is one of the reasons for hiccup-bout. So, increasing the levels helps to a certain extent. You can hold your breath for around 10 seconds and then release. Doing this continually might help relieve the bout.

2. Water

Hiccups are related to the diaphragm. So, quickly drink a glass of regular or cold water to stop it. Alternatively, place a glass of water with a straw inserted in it on the floor. Stand erect but just bend your knees to make your mouth reach the straw. Drink water in this position but carefully. This is one of the good tricks to relieve hiccups.

3. Castor Oil

So, hiccups are troubling you a lot and there’s a meeting in an hour. To cure them, take a spoonful of honey and mix it with an equal quantity of castor oil. To consume this mix, you need to use your fingers. Yes, you need to lick this mix and not just once but for a couple of times. Do tell us, whether this helped.

4. Lemon

Whether or not you are fond of lemon, biting on it might help cure the hiccups. You can even have a spoonful of lemon juice. I talked to aunties and grannies in the neighbourhood, but I was not able to get the reason why the lemon works as a remedy.

5. Gargle

Take some regular water and gargle for a couple of times. It is believed that gargling relieves hiccups. Some people even responded saying that gargling with ice water is a better option to stop it.

6. Salt

Smell some salt, any type of salt that you have. Even this can cure the hic. Yes, this sounded absurd but people say it helps.

7. Sour Foods

If you come across sour foods during a bout of a hiccup, you can chew them to say goodbye to it. Sour foods like olive work quite well in such cases. Even vinegar is an alternative. Take a spoonful with a glass of water. The taste is so pungent that you completely forget about something like hiccups troubling you.

8. Sugar

If you cannot scare it with cold water or sour foods, bribe them with sugar. It is believed that when one swallows sugar, it stimulates the nerves. And eventually, one forgets about the hiccups. There’s a knack to take sugar to stop it effectively. For this, you need a teaspoon of sugar which needs to be kept in the mouth for around 5 seconds. Do not chew the sugar but let it dissolve on its own. Post this, sip some water.

9. Peanut Butter

If it is your favourite, then what are you waiting for? Christmas, eh? The reason something like peanut butter works is consistency. This gooey stuff intrudes the breathing pattern when you gulp it down. And eventually, the hic a thing of past.

10. Ice Cubes

If you are in a hurry and cannot do anything mentioned above, just rush to the refrigerator. Hunt for the ice cubes and chew them. You can even apply ice cubes on the sides of the neck to get rid of them.

11. Cocoa

Try to swallow powdered cocoa or chocolate drink powder. It is quite difficult to do. But, difficult things seem to work, don’t they?

A Note of Caution

However funny they might seem, hiccups could signal an underlying medical condition. At times, hiccups can also be the reason for respiratory disorders, gastroesophageal or gastrointestinal ailments, ulcers or malaria. If your hiccups do not go away in a short period of time but persist for more than a day or two, you need to call a doctor and make an appointment.

Hiccups don’t have any risk factor generally but it should not interrupt your sleep or food habits. Meet a doctor and take medical advice for persistent or long term hiccups. To cure hiccups, doctors even prescribe medicines at times.

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