Health & Wellness

Hiccups: Why Do We Get Them? How to Get rid of it?

There is a myth which says hiccups are a sign that someone is thinking of you. And when you correctly guess the name, your hiccups stop. But that doesn’t really explain the fact that even after laughing a lot, some people including I, get a really bad bout of hiccups, which is somewhat amusing.

What is a hiccup?

Hiccup is an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. The spasm of the muscle causes the vocal cord to snap shut producing the sound. A brief unexpected shudder or a tremor. It sounds like a squeaky noise, and if controlled it sounds like a gasp or a sigh. The rhythm and the duration between two hiccups are usually constant. Very rarely it is associated with pain.

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Causes of hiccup

Most of the times hiccups occur due to laughing a lot or gulping a lot of air or eating something spicy, drinking alcohol or carbonated beverages. There is a disturbance in the nerve pathways from the brain to the muscles involved. There are some medical causes as well. Gastroesophageal reflux, in simple words acid reflux can lead to hiccups. Post surgery if there is damage to the vagus nerve, which supplies the diaphragm.

In very rare conditions, hiccups can have a serious underlying cause. For example, brain tumors, stroke or renal(kidney) failure. These conditions lead to chronic hiccups.

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Hiccups are more common in infants. In fact even a fetus gets bouts of hiccups. There is a hypothesis suggesting that hiccups help to get rid of the air in the stomach, making more place for milk intake. Another hypothesis called the phylogenetic hypothesis says that hiccup is an evolutionary remnant of earlier amphibian respiration. This theory forms it basis on the fact that amphibians gulp air and water via a simple reflex similar to the hiccup mechanism. And both can be stopped by increased levels of carbon dioxide. This theory has obviously been questioned.

How to get rid of hiccups?

Hiccups don’t really need any remedy. Very rarely if the hiccups are persistent and hamper ones daily activities, a doctor’s opinion should be taken. And depending upon the cause, an appropriate medicine will be given. Otherwise simple things like Drinking water really fast, Holding your breath, Drinking water from the side of the glass, Placing sugar on or under the tongue, Breathing into a bag, Biting a lemon, Pulling hard on your tongue, should be tried. Shock is supposed to be the best way to get rid of hiccups. So get someone to scare you.

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And if nothing works, maybe someone is really thinking of you! So try and figure out who……

 

Read also- Ondine’s curse- You sleep you stop breathing¬†

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Richa Kasbekar

22 years old, almost a doctor. Foodie at heart. Love to read novels. I spend most of my days lying on the couch but equally eager to go out and have a good time :)

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