Do you find yourself getting hiccups every time you consume alcohol? Here’s everything you need to know about alcohol hiccups.
Did you know that occasional hiccups can last for hours? In some very rare cases, hiccups may last days, weeks, and even years. Many things can cause hiccups such as eating too fast, getting scared all of a sudden, and drinking alcohol.
There is a stereotype that those who drink a lot of alcohol get a case of alcohol hiccups. As it turns out, this stereotype has quite a lot of truth behind it. Of course, not everyone who drinks alcohol ends up with hiccups, but many people do.
Once you get hiccups, they can be quite troublesome to deal with and very hard to get rid of. But does alcohol cause hiccups directly or is there some kind of additional science behind it? More than that, how can you get rid of hiccups once they start?
Keep reading and find the answers to your questions below.
What Normally Causes Hiccups?
Of course, you can get hiccups whether or not you drink alcohol. No matter what causes your hiccups, this annoying condition has everything to do with your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is a large, horizontal muscle that stretches beneath your lungs.
The muscle supports your lungs and helps you breathe. In particular, when you breathe in and your lungs expand, the diaphragm expands downwards so your lungs have more space to inflate. As a result, you can take a deep breath.
Then, when you breathe out and your lungs shrink, the diaphragm curves up and inwards to support the lungs. Besides helping you breathe, the diaphragm also separates your chest from your abdomen. It is also filled with important nerves.
Understanding The Diaphragm
The diaphragm is an involuntary muscle which means you can’t control it as you see fit. When you get hiccups, the diaphragm (for whatever reason) becomes irritated. In an attempt to calm itself down, the diaphragm will start to spasm.
Because it is an involuntary muscle, it is impossible to voluntarily contract your diaphragm so you can get yourself to stop hiccoughing. As you hiccup, air will be forced up through your windpipe past your vocal cords. Each time you hiccup, your vocal cords will contract and as this happens, you will produce a “hic” sound, hence the name hiccups.
As mentioned before, hiccups can occur for a variety of reasons. Often, they may result if you eat a very hot pepper, experience a sudden change in emotions, or if you eat or drink something too quickly. But what does alcohol have to do with hiccups?
Is there something specific about alcohol in particular that makes it more likely to produce hiccups in a person?
Does Alcohol Cause Hiccups?
You already know that hiccups happen when the diaphragm gets irritated and starts to spasm, but what could irritate the diaphragm in the first place? If you drink alcohol, it isn’t as if the alcohol directly touches the diaphragm in any way. Instead, the alcohol will go straight down into your stomach which rests beneath the diaphragm.
But this is exactly the problem: even though the alcohol you drink doesn’t touch the diaphragm, the stomach itself will make direct contact with the involuntary muscle. Why does this have anything to do with hiccups, you might ask?
When it comes to the question of what causes hiccups, you will need to consider the way the stomach expands after anything is put into it.
Whether you drink water, alcohol, or eat a bunch of pretzels, your stomach will expand as a result. It will continue to expand until you feel full, and at that point, your body will tell you not to eat anymore.
The stomach can also expand if air enters it. This might happen if you drink carbonated beverages or accidentally swallow air while eating or drinking. If your stomach expands just enough, it will make contact with the diaphragm and start to irritate it.
At some point, you will get hiccups, although some people are more sensitive to getting hiccups compared to others.
When you drink carbonated alcohol in particular, your stomach will expand quite a lot as a result. For example, if you drink several bottles of beer, your stomach will not only be full of beer but also full of air.
As a result, your stomach will be very distended, and there is a good chance that you will get hiccups because your stomach is rubbing against your diaphragm. Another reason why alcohol can cause hiccups is that alcohol tends to irritate the gastrointestinal tract. When something such as hard liquor irritates your stomach, it will become inflamed and swollen.
You might even experience acid reflux which is when some acid from your stomach splashes up into your esophagus, causing a burning sensation. This will not only result in the inflammation of your stomach but your esophagus as well. Keep in mind that the esophagus passes right by the diaphragm.
As you can imagine, when most of your gastrointestinal tract is inflamed due to too much alcohol consumption, this inflammation will put more pressure on your diaphragm. As a result, you will be more likely to get hiccups. It may also be especially difficult to get rid of hiccups in this case because there is often pressure put on the diaphragm.
But fortunately, there are several ways in which you can stop hiccups no matter what causes them.
How to Stop Hiccups Fast
Hiccups are loud, uncomfortable, and embarrassing, so of course, you’ll want to get rid of them as fast as possible. Some of the classic ways to get rid of hiccups do quite well. In particular, drinking a glass of water while holding your breath can be quite effective.
How does this work exactly, you might ask? As mentioned before, you’ll get hiccups when your diaphragm is irritated, and that irritation often comes from a distended stomach. A distended stomach often results from too much air within the stomach itself.
By drinking a large glass of water without breathing, you will be able to displace the air in your stomach with water. Also, since you are holding your breath, there is no chance that you’ll end up accidentally swallowing air in the process, which would only make the problem worse. After drinking the glass of water in this way, your hiccups should soon be gone.
Another method is to lay on your back and put manual pressure on your diaphragm with your hands. Your diaphragm rests right at the bottom of your ribcage. Putting firm and even pressure on this muscle can help it relax, but it might not work for everyone.
If you still can’t figure out how to fix your hiccup problem, a hiccup-stopping lollipopmight be able to do the trick. These lollipops are designed to stop hiccups in their tracks with the special ingredients they contain. All you need to do is pop one in your mouth and suck on it for a while until your hiccups go away.
The great thing about these lollipops is that they are affordable and small, making it easy to take them with you wherever you go.
How to Avoid Future Alcohol Hiccups
Drinking in moderation is a good way to avoid alcohol hiccups in the future. This is especially true when it comes to hard liquor. Hard liquor can be especially damaging to your stomach, which can make it inflamed. By cutting back on hard liquor, your stomach and esophagus will have a chance to calm down.
Reducing your beer intake is also important. Because beer is carbonated, the air it contains can easily cause your stomach to extend, which will then cause hiccups. If you want to drink beer, try drinking it slowly and make sure you don’t swallow any air in the process.
Chugging drinks will only make the problem worse because you will end up swallowing a lot of air. You should also avoid other alcoholic carbonated drinks. For example, fizzy wines or fizzy cocktails could easily end up swelling your stomach and irritating your diaphragm as well.
Keep this in mind the next time you go to a bar or party.
Everything You Need to Know About Alcohol Hiccups
Alcohol hiccups can be quite embarrassing and hard to get rid of. They occur when alcohol such as beer introduces excess air into your stomach, causing your diaphragm to become irritated as a result. You can stop hiccups by drinking water or using hiccup-stopping lollipops.
To learn more about hiccups and how to stop them, contact us here.