Hiccups … Hiccups…. and Hiccupops!

Mallory Kievman (Photo Credit: Boss.blogs.nytimes)
Mallory Kievman (Photo Credit: Boss.blogs.nytimes)

I just had my wonderful lunch and was preparing to start working again on my computer when bouts of hiccups attack took over me.  I counted three and started to hold my breath; but another two escaped. Remembering childhood lessons from Grandma’s medical mind, I pinched my nose to stop air from coming in and out, and then recited the alphabet from Ato Z.

Mallory Kievman (Photo Credit:    Boss.blogs.nytimes)
Mallory Kievman (Photo Credit: Boss.blogs.nytimes)

That did it!  Lol!  Hiccups gone.  Now, that’s being lucky.  Some people I know find it hard to stop the hiccups!

Since time immemorial, we were taught by our elders that we can get rid of hiccups through the following:

  • Holding our breath and counting to ten (in my case, Grandma taught us to recite/sing the alphabet instead of counting numbers)
  • Drinking water slowly for a few seconds until the hiccups are gone
  • Drinking from the “wrong” side of a glass of water (but we couldn’t tell which was the wrong side of the glass, so we skipped this option)
  • Putting sugar beneath our tongue
  • Having someone jump out and scare us unexpectedly (which isn’t easy because we have to make the request, so how can that be unexpected?)

When I had children of my own, I somehow passed  the “treatment knowledge”  unto them.  But inquisitive as they were, I had to answer their questions (or else lose my credibility as teacher!).

So, where do those hiccup noises come from? 

We have a dome-shaped muscle or body part at the bottom of our chest which we call  the diaphragm; and it is where our hiccups start.  Technically speaking, hiccups are defined as a synchronous diaphragmatic flutter or singultus, and described as an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm and rib muscles which bring about a rapid breathing in of air and thereby causing the epiglottis to abruptly close. The result is the well known “hic” sound.

Why do we have the hiccups?

Our diaphragm usually functions perfectly. When we inhale, it pulls down to help pull air into the lungs and then, when we exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and air flows out of the lungs back out through the nose and mouth.  But  there are times that our diaphragm becomes irritated, much so that it pulls down in a jerky way which then makes us suck air into our throat suddenly. And then, when the air rushing in hits our voice box, we are left with a big or loud hiccup.

Eating too quickly or too much and drinking carbonated drinks can irritate our diaphragm.  Drinking a large amount of liquor and sudden changes in temperature may also  result in hiccups.  Likewise, feeling excited or nervous or having irritation in the stomach or throat may also cause our diaphragms to become irritated, bringing about the buildup of stomach gasses which  then start giving us hiccups.

Are hiccups normal?

Hiccups can hit any one at any time, and are quite annoying,  uncomfortable and awkward.  But they usually last only for a few minutes; sometimes, just a few seconds.  There’s nothing to worry about.  BUT if hiccups lasts long, let’s say, longer than a day, you should consult your doctor right away because persistent f hiccups might indicate a  greater underlying medical problem.

The Latest News About Hiccups Cure

There’s a 13-year old girl by the name of Mallory Kievman who made the news  as “Inventor of a Lollipop That Cures Hiccups”, which she named HICCUPOP.  Her three favorite working solutions were apple cider vinegar, sugar, and sucking on a lollipop,  combining them to become the Hiccupop which  amazed innovation groups and researchers for coming up with such an invention.

To quote:  “Mallory hopes to get Hiccupops in school nurse offices and drugstores, but also in hospitals, since hiccups are a common side effect of chemotherapy. For right now, though, she’s worked out a formula that will allow for long-term shelf storage, she’s still “tweaking” the taste and finding the right manufacturer. She says she hopes to be a doctor some day, and if Hiccupops are any indication of her ability to act on ambition, we think she’ll make it.”

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Now, isn’t that simply amazing!!!

 

 

Web Sources:

What Causes Hiccups and How to Get Rid of Them

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiccup

http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/hiccup.html

13-Year-Old Invents A Lollipop That Cures Hiccups

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