What Causes Hiccups and How to Get Rid of Them

We’ve all experienced the annoying sensation of hiccups at some point in our lives, and have heard our share of ways to make them go away. When armed with information on what triggers hiccups in the first place, it may become a little easier to know what really works.



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Hiccups are involuntary spasms of the diaphragm that often catch us by surprise and leave us seemingly powerless to stop them, but there is something we can do. Read on to find out how we can reduce the likelihood of getting hiccups and get rid of them when they do occur.

What Causes Hiccups? 

What happens when hiccups occur is the phrenic nerve that is responsible for the expansion and constriction of the diaphragm during breathing or singing gets irritated or damaged and the resulting spasm creates the sic sound.

Hiccups can be caused by quite a few things and can even be the result of an underlying illness, especially when they linger longer than usual – say, hours or days at a time. Medical conditions that can cause long-term hiccups are multiple sclerosis, stroke, acid reflux, laryngitis, vagus or phrenic nerve damage, diabetes, cancer, or kidney disease.

Usually hiccups are mild in form and last for just a few minutes. To name a few of the other theories on the causes of hiccups, they are said to be the result of eating large meals, eating spicy foods, eating too quickly, anesthesia or other drug reactions, sudden excitement, panic or fear that may result in swallowing air, and finally drinking gassy beverages like alcohol and carbonated drinks. So whenever possible, you should avoid these things so that you won’t trigger hiccups.

Send Hiccups Packing 

It is been said that hiccups are often the result of swallowing too much air, so here are ways you can counteract them with that in mind:

  • This one is probably the most popular. Take a deep breath, hold it for as long as you can, and bear down against your diaphragm until the hiccups subside.
  • Use a brown paper bag to breathe in and out deeply without letting any air seep through.
  • Quickly place ice on the side of your neck as a way of shocking the hiccup reflex.
  • Pull your tongue out as far and as hard as you can.
  • Drown your hiccups with a glass or two of water.
  • Slowly eat a piece of dry bread.
  • Screaming supposedly helps.
  • Gargle with icy water.
  • Yawn and swallow.

These remedies may not work for everyone, but you can try one or try them all to see what works for you. In the event that nothing seems to be working and your hiccups last beyond an hour, you may need to seek medical attention as something far more serious could be going on. Hiccups, though annoying, can signal you that something deeper is going on and needs medical attention, so listen to your body and take action.

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