What Causes Hiccups


Hiccups are annoying and can sometimes be severe. If you don’t know what helps and how to address them early on, they could interfere with your activities or have more serious effects. Imagine getting them in the middle of giving a presentation.

What are Hiccups?

But before anything else, it will be helpful to understand what really causes them and why we’re even getting it. These are basically contractions in your diaphragm. They’re involuntary that is why they’re very hard to control. When this happens, your nerves which extend from your neck to your chest get irritated so they cause a hiccup.

There are various reasons why this irritation occurs which eventually lead to hiccups. When you’re eating too fast, you tend to swallow air and that and you’ll end up with hiccups. When you eat or drink too much especially carbonated drinks, it irritates your diaphragm too. Same as when you chew gum or smoke, you could have them.

Other more serious causes include getting a stroke, brain tumor, or if you’re taking certain medications. You could also get a hiccup as a result of stress and anxiety, or if you have gastrointestinal issues.

How Hiccups Are Produced

As we’ve learned, these are involuntary movements or contractions of your diaphragm muscle. When this muscle contracts repeatedly, the opening between your vocal cords shuts suddenly. So sudden that it makes the hiccup sound.

Hiccups can last a few seconds or minutes. In rare cases, they last much longer due to underlying medical problems.

If you experience hiccups for more than two days, it will be good to seek medical care just to be safe.

How to get rid of hiccups?

While there is no magic formula to get rid of your hiccups, there are various things you can do to help manage them and eventually make them go away.

  • Hold your breath while drinking a glass of water and do it slowly. After drinking the water, hold your breath some more then slowly release it. This stimulates the nerves that runs from your brain to your stomach and alleviates the hiccups.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds and do it repeatedly. If you don’t have water readily available, just try to hold your breath for a while. This should still help. Then resume breathing normally.
  • Breathe in and out into a paper bag. Use a clean lunch size paper bag. Take a deep breath and hold it then breathe all of the air into the paper bag, making it blow up like a balloon. This will raise the levels of carbon dioxide in your blood and relieve the spasms that cause the hiccups.
  • Others say that having something sweet also helps because it could slightly irritate the esophagus and cause your nerves to reset.

All these tips are not scientifically proven and may not work for everyone but are rather taken from other people’s experiences. Interested in learning more about other discoveries? Check out these top ten accidental discoveries. Relieving hiccups will differ from person to person so try to see what works the next time you get them.