What Causes Hiccups

A hiccup surprises you for getting one as much as its “hic” sound surprises anyone. In short, hiccupping is truly annoying and embarrassing that you would want to get rid of it just a second after having it. For no apparent reason, a hiccup takes place. It may seem not to end, but a hiccup normally lasts for a few minutes only. Rarely do hiccups last for days or weeks. This is why the medical community thinks that hiccups generally do not need medical intervention.

What causes hiccups is the uncontrollable movement of the diaphragm. This movement called spasm is caused when the phrenic nerve that controls the diaphragm becomes irritated. Doctors, however, say that this is mere speculation of what exactly is the mechanism why hiccups happen. Hence, only in extreme cases of hiccups, doctors employ medical remedies. Only when hiccupping becomes severe and cannot be stopped by normal means, doctors can administer muscle relaxants, sedatives or anti-convulsive drugs in order for the diaphragm to again function normally.

Because of the mystery enveloping the causes of hiccups, people also try to find means on how to stop hiccups. They may be anecdotal remedies, but somehow they have been effective in stopping hiccups. Mostly suggest drinking water in large amounts until the hiccup is gone. Others thought of strange ways such as drinking water from the far side of a glass, or while upside down. There are some who scare or startle a person while others opt for eating something that is hard to swallow, taking a spoonful of sugar or honey, or consuming a teaspoon of vinegar, wasabi or hot sauce, instead. Another popular method is the bag-breathing method. You breathe into a paper bag in an alternating breathing pattern.

One thing is for sure, hiccups do not serve a useful purpose. Thus, whatever method you employ in curing hiccups, make sure you do it safe. It is, however, safer to just wait for a hiccup to go away.

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