Hiccups are repetitive, uncontrollable contractions of the vocal cords when the diaphragm contracts there is a rush of air into the lungs that cannot escape due to the closed epiglottis, and this generates the classical ‘hic’ sound.
Hiccups are a benign condition, very common and all people may experienced the hiccup in their life at sometimes or other. Persistent Hiccups are uncommon and are caused by an underlying disease.
There can be numerous causes of hiccups. However, there’s no definitive reason for hiccups but possible common causes of short-term hiccups include:
- Carbonated beverages
- Exposure to dust and smoke
- Excitement / emotional stress, or shock
- Eating quickly or eating spicy food causes a burning sensation in the mouth and food pipe enters the lungs and disrupts the normal rhythm of the diaphragm.
- Weakness of body
- Sore throat
- A sudden change in air temperature
Hiccups often stop spontaneously. Treatment is required when hiccups become persistent. There are many popular remedies that are highly effecting against hiccups.
Here are few home remedies that you could try to get rid of hiccups:
- Drink a glass of warm water– Take nine or 10 quick sips in a row from a glass of warm water very slowly, all the way down without breathing. This is said to be one of the best ways to stop hiccups and ensure they do not start again as the rhythmic contractions of the esophagus override spasms of the diaphragm.
- Hug your knees– Bring the knees to the chest and hug them for 2 minutes. Applying pressure to these points with your hands may help to relax your diaphragm or stimulate your vagus or phrenic nerves.
- Hold your breath-Breathing into a paper bag, or try to Breathe in and hold the breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly. Repeat three or four times. This functions to eliminate the spasms in the diaphragm, thereby preventing hiccups.
- Eat some sugar or honey– Put one teaspoon of sugar or honey, stirred in warm water, on the back of your tongue, and swallow it. It relaxes the knots in the diaphragm muscles and decreases hiccups
- Eat a spoonful of peanut butter– Have one big teaspoon of peanut butter. It interrupts the breathing pattern and calms the diaphragm.
- Suck on an ice cube or lemon– Suck on the ice cube or lemon for a few seconds. In the case of lemon, rinse out your mouth with water to protect your teeth from the citric acid.
- Pat On The Back-When someone is hiccupping uncontrollably, gently pat their back behind the neck along your spine. This will help release the tension in the diaphragm and stops hiccups.
See your doctor if you have persistent hiccups (lasting longer than 48 hours), in such cases, medical tests and investigations may be required.