We all experience hiccups at some point of time in our lives. Though most of the time they are short lived, yet they are uncomfortable and can cause embarrassment. To get rid of hiccups we must know what are hiccups and why do we suffer from them?
Hiccups are sudden and instinctive squeezing of the diaphragm that occurs due to the contraction of this breathing muscle located under the lungs along with contraction of larynx, which result in quickly sucking the inflow of air and closure of the glottis above the voice box. Hiccups are reflex action taken by the body to protect itself.
Possible Causes Of Hiccups
Hiccups can start due to sudden contraction of diaphragm and phrenic nerve. This causes quick inhalation of air that does not reach the lungs due to muscle spasm that has caused closure of windpipe. When air is unable to get through, we feel a bump. In short, we can say that hiccups are a reflex action of our body while trying to get food or gas out of the stomach. In the process, it irritates the diaphragm. This process affects the passage of air flow in the lungs. Hiccups mostly stop on their own within minutes and do not require any treatment. But continuous hiccups, lasting for several days needs treatment as they can be due to some underlying disease. Breathing in too much air at once, alcohol, stress or rapid swallowing, eating or drinking too quickly, eating hot or spicy food too much, or anything that creates irritation and contraction around the diaphragm can cause hiccups. Sometimes hiccups may occur due to emotional excitement, sudden shock or temperature changes like cool shower also. Persistent hiccups can be caused due to problems in spinal cord, brain or any organ around the chest wall or diaphragm.
Ordinary hiccups can go away easily with simple home remedies. Sometimes just forgetting about it or holding your breath also helps. Breathing into a paper bag is also an effective remedy. It helps to relax the diaphragm halting spasms by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in our lungs. Since your body gets suffocated, your respiratory system tries to take deeper breaths. Those deeper breaths stops the diaphragm spasm. Eventually hiccups stop.
Natural Home Remedies For Hiccups
There are many natural and simple cures you can try for getting relief from hiccups. Though these cures do not have any scientific basis, yet they are very popular and are worth trying. Here are a few of them. Put a spoonful of sugar or honey in your mouth and try to swallow it. The sweet flavor will help to sooth the irritated nerve and hence, stop the hiccups. Drinking a glass of ice water or simply applying ice to the back of the neck can help to stop hiccups as they will shock your body and compel you to take deep breaths.
Drinking Lemon Juice will over power your irritated nerves with a sour taste and divert its attention and get you rid of hiccups. Another popular Hiccup remedy is intake of pineapple juice. Its acidic content gives immediate relief from hiccups.
Sometimes drinking a glass of water without taking a breath can be good remedy for hiccups. Some people may tell you that gargling is a better remedy for getting rid of hiccups. Try what works best for you.