What Causes Hiccups?
Hiccups are a symptom of involuntary contractions of the diaphragm.
You are enjoying a delicious meal. Every bite tastes better before that. You don’t have time to breathe before putting another fork in your mouth. When you eat fast, the inevitable … hiccup. Why did hiccups have to be in the middle of a great dinner? Why are they ever happening and what can we do to prevent them? This article will highlight why we get hiccups, but how to prevent and stop them after they happen.
Hiccups are a symptom of involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. Diaphragm is a muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. It helps you breathe. Diaphragm causes the vocal cords to close whenever it contracts. Closing of the vocal cord makes “hic” sound accompanying short breath. Hiccups may come with a small sensation in your chest, abdomen, or throat tightness. Hiccups are often short-lived. Women and men often take hiccups, but it is more common for men to take hiccups for more than 48 hours. Hiccups happen even to a fetus who is still utero. The medical word for hiccups is the singultus, which is Latin for “fade” or “hiccup”. Seeing a doctor is only if the hiccup takes longer than 48 hours or is severe enough to prevent eating, sleeping, or breathing
A variety of situations causes hiccups.
- Eating very hot or spicy foods
- Eating too fast and getting too much air with food
- Drinking carbonated drinks such as soda or alcoholic beverages
- Being very scared or excited
- A stressful situation or a condition that stimulates deep emotions
- Some medications, such as benzodiazepines or acid reflux medications.
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Most of the time, hiccups can be taken care of in these ways.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds
- Quickly drink a glass of water.
- Keeping your tongue out of your mouth
- Taking a lemon bite
- Gargle juice
- Scented salts
- Putting half a teaspoon of sugar behind your tongue
- Breathe slowly and concentrate on breathing and exhalation
Hiccups are difficult to prevent completely. Sooner or later, they have to happen. Try to avoid them by eating slowly and speeding yourself up. Take deep breaths and let it out slowly. Avoid carbonated drinks. There are a few serious cases of hiccups, but they do. One cause of prolonged hiccups damages the vagus or phrenic nerves. These nerves help the diaphragm. Other causes of hiccups arise due to the fact of a tumor, infection or damage to the central nervous system, where your body controls the hiccup reflex. Metabolic disorders and medications can also be a cause of prolonged hiccups. Some people have had more severe hiccups after taking general anesthesia or having abdominal surgery.
Doctors may prescribe some medications for serious, chronic hiccups. Phrenic nerve surgery is a last resort to stop them.
The next time you feel hiccups begin, take a deep breath, speed yourself up during an activity and relax your body.