Are you curious about what causes hiccups? Check out this post for everything you need to know about what causes hiccups.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has never had the hiccups before. That’s because all of us have done something at one time or another that causes our diaphragm to contract — which is exactly what hiccups are.
Although hiccups are typically not that big of a deal and only last for a couple of minutes, it’s important to know as much about them as possible. That way, not only does it give you a leg up on how to quickly get rid of them, you can also stay abreast of what causes them in the first place.
If the last time you got the hiccups, it about drove you up the wall, you’re about to get a quick course on how to keep them from bothering you in the future.
What Are the Causes of Hiccups?
As already stated, hiccups are when your diaphragm contracts. Your diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle underneath your lungs that moves involuntarily whenever you inhale. This function is necessary because it helps you to bring air into your lungs.
Sometimes, while your diaphragm is doing its job, it either ends up pulling down as you breathe or it your glottis (a space that is right in between your vocal cords) closes up which keeps your system from receiving the air that it needs. This creates a spasm that causes your throat or chest to tighten. And then — a hiccup happens.
While there isn’t really a way to anticipate if one of these things will automatically cause you to end up with a bout of hiccups, there are some proven triggers that typically lead to them.
- Eating or drinking too quickly
- Eating too much food
- Eating spicy food
- Consuming carbonated drinks
- Drinking something that is too hot or cold for your system
- Swallowing too much air at one time
- Inadvertently swallowing air while chewing gum
- Experiencing a sudden change in air temperature
- Being overly excited
- Taking medication that treats anxiety
- Inhaling toxic fumes
All of these things can happen to any of us. However, it should go on record that men, people who’ve had abdominal surgery (or recently received general anesthesia), and individuals who experience intense emotions are the most prone to getting hiccups the most often.
Why Do PeopleTend to Get Hiccups When They’re Inebriated?
OK, so what about the people who seem to get hiccups mostly when they are tipsy or drunk? What is the connection between alcohol and hiccups? Good question.
As you’ve already read, drinking too fast can trigger hiccups. Well, if what you’re drinking happens to be an alcoholic beverage, it can irritate your digestive system. Something else that alcohol has the tendency to do is upset your esophagus (the tube that runs from your throat to your stomach). When either of these things happen, that can cause hiccups.
The good news is the remedy for “alcohol hiccups” is pretty much the same as what you should do for any other kind (more on that in a sec). However, it is important to keep in mind that the kind of alcohol that triggers hiccups most often is beer. Not only that but the slower that you drink alcohol, the more you decrease your chances of having hiccups.
What Can You Do to Get Rid of Hiccups?
Now that you know what causes hiccups, you might be thinking, “So, it looks like I shouldn’t have my favorite spicy dish or a tall glass of mineral water anymore.” Things don’t have to be that extreme. Knowing what triggers a hiccup can help you to be less confused when they happen. Still, there are things that you can do to stop them if/when they do.
Short-term, occasional hiccups (ones that only last for a couple of minutes) usually stop on their own. If it’s been a few minutes longer than that and you want to speed up the healing process, here are some things that you can do:
- Eat a teaspoon of white sugar
- Gently tug your tongue outwards
- Lift up your uvula (the hanging piece of flesh that’s in between your tonsils) with a spoon
- Drink a glass of cold, non-carbonated water
- Gargle some water
- Count to five (to relax) and then take deep slow breaths
- Hold your breath
- Breathe into a paper bag
- Bite into a lemon or have a teaspoon of vinegar
- Pull your knees up to your chest
You Can Also Suck on a Lollipop!
Yes, you absolutely read that right. Sucking on a lollipop can help with curing hiccups too. Now before you get too excited about that, you’re not going to get past your hiccups with any old lollipop that you find at your local grocery store. No, there is a specific kind of lollipop that you will need.
It’s called a Hiccupops and some of its users say that it can stop hiccups in a matter of seconds! The science behind Hiccupops is there are specific ingredients in the lollipop that helps to relax your hiccup reflex. Some of them include at-home remedies that we already mentioned like apple cider vinegar and sugar.
Hiccupops currently come in original citrus and sour apple flavors. And, so long as you keep them stored at room temperature, sucking on just one of them should take care of your hiccup problem. How cool is that?
What If None of These Remedies Fix My Hiccups?
In most cases, doing one of the things suggested should get rid of your hiccups. However, if they end up lasting for longer than a couple of days, you may havea serious medical conditioncalled chronic or intractable hiccups. These also happen more often with men. There are other demographics that are more prone to getting them, though:
- Being pregnant
- Having pneumonia
- Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol
- Having some sort of mental health issue
- Experiencing a liver, bowel, or stomach-related illness
- Having nerve damage in your body
- Having cancer
Some of these issues are serious. That’s why, if you’ve had hiccups that have been non-stop for more than 48 hours, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Based on their diagnosis, they may prescribe a medication (like chlorpromazine or valproic acid). Sometimes they might suggest seeing an acupuncturist. In some instances, surgery may be required. Or, the underlying condition may need to be treated first.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Chronic Hiccups?
So, what if you keep experiencing hiccups and you refuse to go to the doctor? Are there some long-term effects that you should be aware of? Good questions.
Aside from the fact that ignoring chronic hiccups could mean that there is an underlying issue that is going untreated, constant hiccups can also prevent you from getting the rest that your body needs. Some people with chronic hiccups end up losing a significant amount of weight. Non-stop, persistent hiccups can also result in serious impacts to quality of life and mental health.
What Might Surprise You About Hiccups
As you’re learning more and more about hiccups, there are also some fun facts that you might interest you:
- The medical term for hiccup is the Latin word singultus. It means “to catch one’s breath while crying”
- Most mammals experience hiccups at one point or another
- Infants hiccup the most often
- Babies also hiccup while they’re in the womb
- Sometimes hiccups will happen 68 times per minute
- The medieval term for hiccups is “hockets”
- The longest case of hiccups lasted for a whopping 68 years
Now That You Know All About Hiccups, What Are You Going to Do About Them?
You’re pretty well-versed in hiccups at this point. And now that you know what they are and how to stop them, it seems like now would be as good a time as any to stack up on a couple of boxes of Hiccupops, wouldn’t you say? That way, you can be prepared for the next time you have an unexpected bout of hiccups.
If you’d like to learn more about Hiccupops and how our product can benefit you, feel free to send us a message at any time. Hiccups are our thing. We’d love to help you out!