Hiccups are caused by temporary contraction of the muscles of the diaphragm which is a section of muscle tissue that expands and contracts in order to facilitate breathing. The diaphragm contracts to create suction and allows air into the lungs and when it expands, the air is pushed out from the lungs and causes the person to exhale.
Regular contraction and expansion of the diaphragm results in normal breathing and while sleeping or awake and not concentrating on the breathing, the diaphragm continues to contract and relax.
The telltale hic sound is a common symptom of hiccup which is due to air rushing into the lungs when there is a sudden contraction of the diaphragm. There is also a sudden jerking movement of the torso and the shoulders. If the diaphragm contraction is severe, it can cause pain in the throat or chest that comes with every hiccup.
Hiccups can be temporary or chronic and can have different causes. Temporary hiccups are caused by eating spicy foods and dry foods and can also be caused by overeating and overindulging in alcohol. Sometimes, hiccups can be caused by drinking carbonated drinks or changes in temperature. In some cases, hiccups can be caused by simply laughing too hard. In addition, individuals undergoing chemotherapy are also susceptible to hiccups.
Treatment and home remedies for hiccups
- Swallow a teaspoon of dry white sugar at least 3 to more times at 2 minutes interval.
- If sugar does not stop the hiccups, gulp a glass of warm water.
- Eat a piece of bread slowly.
- Breathe in and out of a paper bag at least a minute and not longer and gargle using water. Just remember not to use a plastic bag.
- Eat a spoonful of peanut butter. Since during the process of chewing the food such as getting it off the tongue and teeth, the swallowing and the breathing patterns are interrupted.
- Mix a teaspoon of honey in warm water, sip and place it at the back of the tongue and swallow it. Honey helps to tickle the vagus nerve in order to put a stop to the hiccups.
- Eat powdered chocolate drink mix such as cocoa or Ovaltine right on the spoon by swallowing the spoonful of chocolate. This is known to cause the shortening of the hiccups.
- Chew slowly a teaspoon of dill seeds since it helps in stimulating the vagus nerve in order to stop the hiccups.
- Chew a small piece of ginger since it helps in getting rid of hiccups.
- Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as possible. This helps in stretching the diaphragm muscles and prevents contraction until the person exhales. This must be carried out several times until the hiccups totally disappear.
- Laugh out in a loud manner to help get rid of hiccups.
- Mix a tablespoon of salt to a cup of yogurt and mix them thoroughly until salt is dissolved. The individual should eat the yogurt slowly since it helps in minimizing hiccups.