Hiccups: What they are and how to stop them

An person drinks a glass of water. (Photo: FRED TANNEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

(WHTM) — Picture this: you are sitting at home, maybe watching a TV show or a movie after a long day at work. You have some chips and maybe a can of sparkling water or soda. Then, all of a sudden, and out of nowhere, you get hiccups.

Hiccups, according to MedlinePlus, are involuntary movements of the diaphragm, which is located at the base of your lungs and is the main muscle used for breathing. This is what is affected when people say they “got the wind knocked out of them.”

It’s not really air being knocked out, it is your diaphragm that seizes up after you get hit.

Hiccups happen in two parts. The first part is when the diaphragm muscle contracts and the second part of a hiccup occurs when the vocal cords quickly close. That is what is responsible for the “hic” sound that happens when you get the hiccups.

The causes of hiccups can vary from person to person. It can be caused by eating too quickly or too much, drinking carbonated drinks or too much alcohol. Certain medicines and even too much excitement can cause them also well.

Hiccups usually go away on their own in a few minutes, according to MedlinePlus. But in some cases, they can be chronic, meaning they can last a few days or, in very rare cases, even months. Hiccups can also signal an underlying condition if they do not go away on their own.

Though there is no certain way to stop hiccups, there are some home remedies — albeit unproven — that Mayo Clinic suggests. They include:

  • Breathing into a paper bag
  • Gargling with ice water
  • Holding your breath
  • Sipping cold water

Mayo Clinic states that if you have chronic hiccups, lifestyle changes, such as altering your diet or eating smaller food portions, may help.

Hiccups are a pain, but if they happen more frequently or don’t go away after a while, Mayo Clinic suggests that you talk to your doctor.

Health

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