Hiccups is very common. It is not any medical condition or disease. Almost everyone has hiccups many time in life. It can happen to everyone and any age. Hiccup is harmless but if it last for a prolong time it could be a symptom of many severe diseases.
People also avoid hiccups a lot, that’s why I am going to discuss about hiccups, it’s symptoms, causes, some common myths, complications and in the end I will tell you some tips and home remedies that will be helpful to get rid of stubborn hiccups.
Surprising fact:- The longest attack of hiccups ever recorded was that of “Charles Osborne”. He started hiccuping in 1922 & continued until his death in 1990. He hiccuped for almost 68 years.
What is hiccups
“Hiccups are a sudden involuntary contraction of diaphragm muscles”
Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords. Hiccups are repeated spasms of your diaphragm paired with a ‘hic’ sound from your vocal cords closing. Your diaphragm is a muscle under your ribcage, separating your chest and stomach area. This muscle is an important part of the breathing process. It moves downward when you breathe in and upward when you breathe out.
The process of the hiccup happens very quickly and you’ll usually return to normal within minutes to a couple of hours without treatment.
Note:- Hiccups are more common in men. Women and men tend to get hiccups equally often, but hiccups that last more than 48 hours are more common in men. Hiccups can even occur in a fetus while still in utero. Men can also have hiccups for a longer period.
Hiccups are often rhythmic. It can not require any medical treatment but hiccupping more than 3 hours can be concerning.
Symptoms of hiccups
There are not much symptoms of hiccups. I am going to discuss some common symptoms of hiccups;-
- Suddenly spasm of diaphragm muscles .
- Trouble in breathing.
- Trouble in the consumption of food and drink
- Continue spasm of diaphragm muscles
Factors responsible for hiccups
Most of the time, there is no obvious cause for hiccups. However, there are some following common known causes of hiccups;-
Hiccup triggering factors
There are following most common factors that triggers hiccups;-
- Eating too quickly
- Drinking too quickly
- Drinking beverages that has carbonate in excess amount
- Eating too much
- Excitement or emotional stress
- Over-stretch your neck.
- Sudden temperature changes
- Swallowing air with chewing gum or sucking on candy
- Take drugs (particularly those for anxiety – benzodiazepines).
- Drink a very hot or very cold drink.
- Go through chemotherapy.
- Are anesthetized for a procedure.
- Inhale toxic fumes.
- Hot or spicy foods
- Overconsumption of alcohol
- Fizzy drinks
- Cigarette smoking
- Bad odours
Myths about hiccups
Most of us simply want to find a way to stop hiccups when they happen, but some myths, including those below, make this a bit difficult.
There are following common myths about hiccups in india;-
Someone is thinking about you
Maybe grandma told you this as a kid and it stuck with you. Maybe you heard it from a friend. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not true.
Some people believe to stop hiccups, you must call out the name of the person thinking about you, and they will vanish. Like the other myths, this one also lacks a way of proving it, and by the time you have called out a few people’s names, your hiccups will have reached the end of their cycle anyway.
Now, hear it from science. There is no direct relationship between someone else’ thoughts and your hiccups. When the diaphragm gets disturbed, it creates erratic noise that results in hiccups. This contraction creates a direct and brief closure of the vocal cords, which produces the characteristic sound of a hiccup.
In fact, hiccups can be caused by many reasons and are hard to pinpoint. Your hiccups may be due to eating or drinking too quickly, alcohol consumption, overeating and even stress.
Someone talk nonsense about you
This myth is very famous around whole world. This is simply not true. If that were the case, there would be a lot more instances of hiccups, and there are people who would never stop having them as well.
This myth may have been started to keep people from taking part in negative gossip or soothe one afflicted with hiccups, but whatever the case, it is not true
Hold your breathe, hiccups will be stop
This is another group of myths involving hiccups and their solution. None of these common home solutions work for hiccups, from holding your breath and having someone scare you to drinking water and placing a finger on your forehead, to be honest, hiccups only lasts for a few minutes anyway.
While uncomfortable, it sure isn’t worth your time trying to actively make it go away. Time is the best cure for hiccups. Bear with it for a while, and it will soon pass.
Your heart skips a beat while you hiccup
Now, where did this come from?
Do not let this myth scare you! Your heartbeat is totally independent of your hiccupping. An irregular heartbeat is very dangerous, and while there are several possible causes, hiccups are not one of them. Your heartbeat and hiccups share no relation at all.
Some studies have shown a minor fluctuation in heartbeat rhythm when people hiccup, but this disturbance is extremely negligible and comes nowhere close to stopping your heart.
Some people never get hiccups
While it may be tempting to think that hiccups are a kind of condition and some people are immune or don’t suffer from it, this is also not true. As mentioned, hiccups are spasms of the diaphragm caused by a physical agent, including drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods, to name a few. Everyone has had hiccups at some point in time – even fetuses in the womb have been recorded getting hiccups.
No need to get jealous of those who never hiccup: these people don’t exist!
Everyone, and I say everyone, get hiccups. If you think you are the exception, think again! Even fetuses still inside the womb gets hiccups too, so you probably did as well.
Tickling on roof, hiccups will be stop
People say that by tickling the roof of your mouth using something like a q-tip, you will stop hiccups. Well it is only for distraction from hiccups. Some scientists have concluded that this trick may distract the mind from focusing on the hiccups, which often seems to worsen them. The tickling sensation may override the irritation that caused the hiccups initially, but all of this is just speculation. Similar activities involve dissolving a spoonful of sugar on your tongue and sticking your fingers in your ears.
While there seems to be a hiccup myth and solution for every culture worldwide, most of them have been disproved. It has also been difficult to study hiccups effectively because they occur randomly, often disappearing as fast as they began.
Long-lasting hiccups are rare. They can be stressful and exhausting. Intractable hiccups can be part of a larger, underlying medical problem and might not go away until that issue is corrected. If hiccups last for more than 3 hours or weeks, then it is concerning and can be a symptom of following complicated diseases;-
- Disorders of the stomach or esophagus
- GERD (a gastrointestinal and abdominal disorder)
- Pleurisy of the diaphragm (Inflammation of the tissues that line the lungs and diaphragm)
- Uremia ( abnormally high levels of waste products in the blood)
- Bowel diseases
- Bladder irritation
- Liver cancer
Tips to prevent hiccups
Hiccups are not much dangerous, until it stays for prolong time. Although there are some easy tips that can be effective to prevent hiccups;-
- Take deep breaths
- Don’t eat too quickly
- Don’t drink too quickly
- Don’t drink carbonated beverages
- Don’t eat too much
- Don’t stretch your neck during hiccupping
- Don’t take certain medications, such as;- anxiety and mental disorder.
- Don’t drink very hot and very cold drink
- Don’t inhale toxic chemicals
Home remedies for hiccups
There are following home remedies that are proven to be effective in hiccups;-
Use a tablespoon sugar
Having a tablespoon sugar can be effective in hiccups.
This is due to the reason that sugar has the ability to irritate your throat, causing it to re-adjust. This proven remedy, thus stops hiccups.
“This remedy is especially for toddlers and children”
Intake something “sour”
You can use soury fruit or drink to prevent hiccups.
Soury fruit or drink irritates the neck.
Use peanut butter
This is the oldest trick to get rid of stubborn hiccups.
This will help in interrupting your breathing pattern, resulting stopping hiccups immediately.
Use ghee and mustard seeds
Swallow 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds with 1/2 teaspoon of pure ghee.
Use a small piece of ginger
Peel a small piece of fresh ginger and chew on it slowly to get rid of your hiccups.