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How to get rid of hiccups
23 Mar 2022
How to get rid of hiccups image

Hiccups are harmless, funny, and annoying at the same time. Letting out strange sounds through your mouth without a warning, you can’t put a stop to it as it goes on and on. How awkward is that? Others may feel like laughing but for the person who is burdened with a hiccup, it’s a bit annoying. So what is that involuntary internal process that is causing those awkward hiccups and how to get rid of them?

Hiccups are involuntary or uncontrollable contractions of the diaphragm without warnings. Diaphragms are the muscles in between our chest and belly right below the lungs, Diaphragm marks the boundary between your chest and abdomen, and it also plays a vital role in breathing. When the diaphragm contracts, your lungs take in oxygen. When the diaphragm relaxes, your lungs release carbon dioxide.  Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of the vocal cords for which the body reacts with a gasp or chirp, creating the sound characteristic of hiccups, a “hic” sound.

Causes of hiccups

Hiccups can happen to anyone, adults, children, and babies. Even though It’s not clear why people get hiccups. There are several reasons hiccups might happen:

  • Having a large meal
  • Excitement or emotional stress
  • Eating spicy food
  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Consuming very hot or cold food
  • Swallowing air while eating chewing gum
  • Aerophagia 
  • Sudden change in temperature
  • Inhale toxic fumes
  • Chemotherapy
  • Take drugs (particularly those for anxiety and benzodiazepines)

 And several factors can increase your likelihood of developing a hiccup

 Studies show that the chances of getting hiccups are higher in males than females. Experiencing intense mental or emotional responses can trigger hiccups.

What is a long term hiccup ?

There are hiccups that you can’t get rid of and can last more than 48 hours, these are termed as long-term hiccups which can be due to other conditions.

Metabolic disorders

i) Diabetes 

 ii) kidney disease

iii) Electrolyte imbalance


i) Anaesthesia 

ii) Steroids

iii) Tranquilizers

iv) Alcoholism

Nerve damage or irritation

Long-term hiccups can happen due to damage in vagus nerves and phrenic nerves.

Which coordinates the diaphragm muscles. Damages can be of a tumor, cyst, or goiter in your neck, gastroesophageal reflux, sore throat, or laryngitis

Central nervous system disorders

Tumor, infection, or damage in your central nervous system can derange your body’s normal control over the hiccup reflex. Examples include:

i) Encephalitis

ii) Meningitis

iii) Multiple sclerosis

iv) Stroke

v) Traumatic brain injury


Is hiccup good or bad ?

Hiccups are generally harmless most of the time when you get hiccups it goes on their own within minutes. But things are not the same with the chronic condition of hiccups. chronic hiccups are usually signs of a medical issue and can last for years in some people. They can also cause health issues themselves. You may experience exhaustion and such hiccups keep you awake most nights. It can also lead to weight loss since they affect your appetite or desire to eat.

How to stop hiccups

You may have been told that if you drink a cup of water or get jumpscares you can get rid of those ever-annoying hiccups, but unfortunately, none of these are scientifically proven. However, there are few remedies that you can try, according to some experts measures like breathing into a bag or just holding your breath can serve the purpose.

Self help strategies

  • Gargle
  • Hold your breath
  • Breathe into a paper bag
  • Eat a bit of fresh ginger
  • Take deep breaths
  • Have a hot water and honey drink
  • Suck on a lemon
  • Drink a glass of water slowly
  • Eat ice
  • Sit down and lean forward over your knees
  • Ask someone to give you a fright.

These are some conventional tricks that can help you out from that hiccup streak. If it continues for days, get an appointment with your doctor. As it is mentioned prolonged hiccups that last for days or weeks may be symptomatic of underlying disorders.

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