We have all been tormented by hiccups at some point in our lives those annoying, involuntary fits that can make it nearly impossible to carry on a conversation, eat a meal or even maintain a train of thought. Most people hiccup four to 60 times per minute during a bout of hiccups, and everyone has a specific, lifelong hiccup pattern.
The average hiccup spell can last from a few minutes to a few hours, but some people suffer from extended episodes that last days, months or even years. Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours are called persistent hiccups,and if they’ve lasted more than a month, you have intractable hiccups.
Both types can cause serious health problems and, in some cases, even death. For many of us, hiccups begin in the womb. The recapitulation theory proposes that fetuses use hiccups in respiration before their lungs are fully developed. This may help explain why premature infants spend up to 2.5 percent of their time hiccuping more than full-term babies.
Hiccup is an involuntary and sudden contraction of the muscles of the diaphragm. Normally, this action is repeated many times. A weird sound (hic) is produced. The sound is because of the epiglottis which closes when air suddenly tries to rush in. Hiccups are not as painful usually, though they can be very irritating at times. When they continue for a long period, they are very irritating.
- If you eat too fast, you can swallow air along with your food and end up
with a case of the hiccups. Any other practices that might irritate the diaphragm such as eating too much (especially fatty foods) or drinking too much (drunk people hiccup) can make you prone to having hiccups.
- In these instances, your stomach, which sits underneath and adjacent to the
diaphragm, is distended or stretched. Because they occur in relation to
eating and drinking, hiccups are sometimes thought to be a reflex to protect
you from choking.
- Sobbing or crying – Eating very spicy food,
- Consuming very hot food,
- Consuming excessive alcohol or soda,
- Coughing badly,
- Laughing badly.
Scientific Causes of Hiccups:
During normal breathing, we take in air from the mouth and nose, and it flows through the pharynx, past the glottis and into the larynx and trachea, ending in the lungs. The diaphragm, a large muscle between the chest and abdomen, aids this airflow. It moves down when we inhale, and then up when
we exhale. The phrenic nerves control the movement and sensation of the diaphragm. Any irritation to these nerves induces a spasm of the diaphragm. This spasm causes a person to take a short, quick breath that is then interrupted by the closing of the epiglottis (a flap that protects the glottis, the space between the vocal cords). The sudden closing creates the sound we all know as a hiccup.
So, hiccups are the result of diaphragm spasms. But what causes the irritation that leads to the spasm? There are only a few culprits for common hiccups, which usually disappear within a few minutes. One of the main irritants is a full stomach a result of swallowing too much food
or air. A distended stomach pushes against the phrenic nerves of the diaphragm, increasing the possibility of irritation and, therefore, hiccups. A full stomach of spicy food can do double damage hot foods can be especially irritating to those nerves. As any smoker on a bender can tell you, excess
smoking and drinking alcohol can also cause hiccups. A rapid temperature change outside or inside your stomach, from a cold night or a hot beverage, can be irritating enough to induce hiccups. Finally, emotions shock, excitement and stress — can also trigger a hiccup fit. Persistent and intractable hiccups can have more serious causes. There are hundreds, from hysteria to heart attacks, but most fit into one of five categories: central nervous system problems, metabolic problems, nerve irritation, anaesthesia or surgery, and mental health issues. Because these causes are so varied and potentially serious, anyone suffering from hiccups for more than 48 hours should head straight to a doctor.
Home Remedies for Hiccups:
- Holding your breath and counting to 10 is one way some people can get rid of their hiccups. Other people say that drinking from the “wrong” side of a glass of water is the way to become hiccup-free.
- Putting sugar under your tongue might work.
- Pound 5-6 green cardamom. Boil in 2 cups of water. When it boils down to 1
- cup remove, sieve and drink while warm.
- Drinking water frequently in short durations is also helpful.
- Eating a bowl full of yoghurt with a pinch of salt is also a good home remedy.
- Tickling the throat with the cotton swab is also helpful.
- Drink one ounce of white vinegar.
- Sucking crushed ice provides immediate relief