Hiccups are sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm which occur at the same time as a contraction of the voice box (larynx) and total closure of the glottis, effectively blocking air intake. The glottis is the middle part of the larynx, where the vocal cords are located.
Hiccups are both annoying and embarrassing when in public. It can occur individually or in bouts and commonly happen rhythmically, meaning that the interval between each hiccup is relatively constant. However, prolonged hiccups can became a serious medical problem and require treatment. Prolonged hiccups affect men much more than women. When attacks last longer than a month, the hiccups are termed intractable.
Causes of Hiccups
According to Medical News Today, experts have yet to reach a definitive conclusion on what mechanisms cause hiccups or why they occur. According to studies, the following circumstances, conditions and illnesses have been associated with a higher risk of developing hiccups:
- Hot food has irritated the phrenic nerve. The phrenic nerve is near the esophagus.
- When there is gas in the stomach, which presses against the diaphragm.
- Too much food is eaten.
- Food is eaten too rapidly.
- There is a sudden change in temperature.
- Fizzy drinks are consumed.
- Some people get hiccups after eating spicy foods.
- After eating dry breads.
- Many people anecdotally report hiccups after consuming alcoholic beverages.
- Some medications, such as opiates, benzodiazepines, anesthesia, corticosteroids, barbiturates, and mythyldopa are known to cause hiccups.
Worry no more, below are some simple and quick cures when hiccup occurs.
Simple and Quick Cures for Hiccups
- Hold your breath
- Quickly drink a glass of water
- Ask someone frighten you
- Pull hard on tongue
- Bite a lemon
- Gargle water
- Use smelling salts
- Drink from the far side of glass