What Causes Hiccups?

From a physical standpoint, hiccups are caused by uncontrolled spasms of the diaphragm. Each spasm causes quick intake of breath, which makes a hiccup. The phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm, is directly responsible for these spasms. From a physiological standpoint, the medical community has not reached a consensus on why hiccups occur. One thing doctors agree on is that hiccups do not seem to serve any useful purpose.

There are many factors that can cause a person to have the hiccups. Eating or drinking too quickly gives some people hiccups. Sometimes spicy food, very hot food, or very cold food causes hiccups.

Drinking alcohol can sometimes cause hiccups. Any quick intake of breath — sneezing, laughing, or coughing — can lead to hiccups. Sometimes, there isn’t any easily identifiable reason.

Just as people tend to have different ideas about what causes hiccups, they also disagree on ways to stop them. Almost everyone knows at least one way to treat hiccups. Some families swear by their method, and refuse to believe that any others work. Common cures for the hiccups include drinking a glass of water in some way. Some people swear by gulping, others insist on small sips, and some require that you tilt your head upside down and drink from the opposite side of the glass to make the hiccups go away.

Stretching the diaphragm by holding ones breath and raising the arms is another popular method for curing hiccups. Some people recommend taking short, fast breaths, or breathing into a paper bag, but these methods can cause dizziness. Falling over and hitting your head because you got too light-headed is generally worse than having the hiccups, so thehyperventilation and bag-breathing methods are not recommended.

Scaring or startling someone is a possible method for hiccup relief. Counting or saying the alphabet in reverse, trying to concentrate on something complicated, or just trying to ignore the hiccups until they go away are other distraction based cures. Eating something, often something hard to swallow, is another possible hiccup cure. Some people swear chewing on a mouthful of sugar, while others go the honey rout. Peanut butter, jam, wasabi and hot sauce are all contenders as well.

In extreme cases of hiccups, medical attention may be required. If a patient has hiccups that are severe, or will not stop by normal means, doctors can administer muscle relaxants, sedatives, or anti-convulsive drugs. The goal is to interrupt the hiccups so that the diaphragm begins functioning normally again. If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it is that hiccups are annoying, and once you’ve got them, you can’t wait until they go away.

Source: Wisegeek


More to press so, stay tuned.

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