Does your heart stop when you hiccup? This is a fairly common rumor, and the answer might actually surprise you. Check out this article to find out.
Hiccups occur for a variety of different reasons, and some bouts of hiccups can last an extremely long time resulting in very uncomfortable – sometimes serious – pain in the chest.
A never-ending bout of hiccups can be extremely frustrating, but can you imagine being this guy that had hiccups for 68 years?
That gentleman was able to lead a life with some modicum of normalcy, so are the old rumors true? Does your heart stop when you hiccup? Can you cure hiccups by simply holding your breath?
And most importantly…what are hiccups?
We’ll touch on that last part in a bit, but for now…really, does hiccuping stop your heart?
Does Your Heart Stop When You Hiccup?
Your heart can have palpitations or “heart hiccups” fairly often without the presence of any underlying or dangerous health situation. Especially if your heart is working harder than normal or if you have a mild heart palpitation condition.
With that said, no – The act of hiccuping does not solely stop your heart. To understand the science behind the annoyance, here’s a guide to hiccups:
Why Do I Have Hiccups and Why Won’t They Go Away?
Hiccups are a reaction of the muscle that separates your lungs and chest from your abdomen – also known as the diaphragm. When you get the hiccups, your diaphragm is contracting because of irritation somewhere in your digestive or respiratory system, usually brought on by food, drink, or mood.
Hey, you’re hungry, understood! Take it easy though – if you scarf down your lunch too fast, it can disrupt your breathing pattern and/or irritate your esophagus, which are both sure-fire ways to get the hiccups.
And then there’s you, daredevil spicy food fans. If you enjoy foods that have so much kick in the flavor that it takes your breath away – hiccups will probably take your breath away, too.
Spicy pepper burps can be brutal. Try that same flavor on for size repetitively with hiccups. No bueno.
Carbonated or acidic beverages can irritate your esophagus or epiglottis. Alcoholic beverages are also infamous hiccup instigators. We humans aren’t great on moderation, that’s for sure – you don’t have to eat plain toast and drink flat water for every meal, but moderation is key!
Juice is good for you, and even a spot of wine or beer can be beneficial to your heart health from time to time. They’re also all loaded with sugar…guess what else can bring hiccups out of seemingly nowhere?
Some people just get a little more amped up than others in certain situations – social anxiety is a part of life, as is work and family-related stress. If you get too worked up, you may be cooking up your own little batch of hiccup day destruction.
Out Of Nowhere
You don’t have to have a good reason to be dealing with a hiccup session. Laughing too hard, some weird combination of a burp-sneeze-toot, or even talking too fast can throw your diaphragm into fits.
Hey Moms…Hiccups And Heartbeat Aren’t Related
Put down the mimosa, Ma! Hiccups will drive your kiddos bonkers, probably bring on a (borderline comical) cry-hiccup-cry spell, and require some big hugs. What they won’t do is directly cause any kind of heart issues or damage.
There Can Be a Few Health Concerns
Hiccups are a naturally occurring process of the human body that helps us to expel hazardous substances from entering our bodies. All things considered, however, a prolonged bout can turn into a pretty uncomfortable and dangerous situation – especially for the kiddos.
Probably the most lingering symptom of a bout with hiccups is the pain associated with having the muscle contract. Imagine flexing your biceps to full strength very quickly for an hour at a time. That wouldn’t be pleasant, eh – now imagine that pain in your sternum.
Difficulty Eating and Drinking
How can you enjoy a full meal and stay hydrated when you’re sucking air into the back of your throat every 15-20 seconds? And even if you find a solution, how can it be safe? The choking hazards are unreal.
There’s no easy way to put this – if you’re enduring a fit of hiccups, it’s tough to be taken seriously. It’s no fault of your own because hiccups are associated with drunkenness and sloppy behavior. We get it, convulsing in public is not ideal.
Old Wive’s Tales
If you’re reading this, you’ve heard of at least one “home remedy” to cure hiccups. While this isn’t a complete medical guide to hiccups, we’ll break down some of those remedies here.
Holding Your Breath
The most common advice that you’re likely to get when it comes to curing hiccups is to hold your breath – even medical professionals advise their patients to try this method.
Holding your breath tends to relax your diaphragm – the muscle that causes hiccups by contracting. It stands to reason that this will work and it seems to for many people, but not everyone.
Someone Scaring You
The thinking here is that if someone scares or shocks you, your body will “forget” the hiccups in favor of putting up a defense toward physical harm. There is no evidence that this method works, and sudden adrenaline rushes have not been proven to alleviate a bout of hiccups, either.
Someone Pinching You
This falls along the same line of thinking as having someone scare you. The logic is that by having someone stimulate a pain sensor (i.e. pinching a sensitive spot when you’re not expecting it), will cause your body to ignore the smaller problem of hiccups and focus on the acute pain point. Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence available to prove this, either.
Eating Something Especially Spicy or Sour
Unless you’re a sadomasochist, don’t try this method. This method of curing hiccups is something that older brothers tell their kid brothers to do so that they can watch them suffer. In short – it doesn’t work, so please don’t do it.
Drinking a Glass of Water “Backwards”
This method actually falls somewhat in the “win” column – it works…sometimes!
The idea is to drink a full glass of water, but instead of drinking it from the lip of the glass that is closest to your mouth, you drink it from the back side of the glass.
If that doesn’t make sense, envision yourself sticking your chin in the top of a glass and putting your mouth on the back surface of it.
Got that? It actually works sometimes because the angle at which you have to lean to drink the water coupled with the throat and epiglottis movements that happen while drinking the water tend to have a relaxing effect on your diaphragm.
The clear downside here is getting water all over the floor, your face, and up your nose. Death by drowning via hiccup remedies would look funny on your tombstone.
There Is Now a Real Solution
Hiccupops are proven to cure hiccups in seconds – that’s right, seconds. They come in the form of a simple lollypop and taste like one, too.
Hiccups cause a cyclical contraction in your diaphragm, and Hiccupops reset that cycle. Just a moment of enjoying the flavor of a Hiccupop reopens your breathing passages and aids in a restoration of normal breathing patterns.
Simple Fix for All Sufferers
If you’re someone who can’t seem to get over long battles with hiccups, you’re also someone who definitely wants to find a quick fix.
They cause a lot of pain and discomfort after a short while – some folks resort to inducing vomit to reset their diaphragm contractions!
If you’re one of the four types of people that we listed above who have hiccup triggers in the form of food, drink, stress, or “whoops” out of the blue – finally, there is a product that is proven to help instead of following your roommate’s advice to “oh yeah, bend this way and take a shot of hot sauce and then eat a cracker with mustard and then say six Hail Mary’s.”
You Don’t Need Voodoo or Spells to Escape Hiccup Hell – Try Hiccupops Instead
If you suffer from chronic hiccups or if you tend to get hiccups in inconvenient situations, you’ve heard a rumor and wondered “does your heart stop when you hiccup?” The answer is a big fat “no,” but hiccups are still a pain in the neck.
Everyone who has ever cursed their diaphragm for contracting and making them look or sound silly now has a healthy and trustworthy alternative outside of your Granny’s advice to “hold your breath.”
Unwrap a Hiccupop. Done. Party On.