Why Do We Hiccup? Are There Any Side Effects to It?

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This is easily another case of: a question that i have been wondering for a while but was too lazy to google until now. 

Every time i have random hiccups, or see someone hiccup because they ate something too spicy, or just for no reason at all, this curiosity towards hiccuping will peak up, but then –– yet again –– i’d be too lazy to google it and this vicious cycle of ignorance continues.

Today, at long last, we’re saying no more to procrastination when it comes to googling about hiccups because we’re going to dive deep and figure out what really happens in our bodies when we hiccup, as well as if there are any possible side effects to hiccuping and how to quick cure it. 

So without further ado, let’s get started. 



Why Do We Hiccup ?


Apparently, hiccup can happen for a lot of different reasons, ranging from physical to emotional. Hiccups being a brief and involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle, one would think that the irritation is happening in your digestive system. But actually, the irritation happens in the nerve connecting the brain to the diaphragm.


worry about hiccup


Some common causes of hiccup includes :

  • Eating too fast and swallowing air
  • Chewing gum
  • Smoking
  • Eating or drinking too much (carbonated beverages or alcohol)


worry about hiccup


  • A sudden change in the temperature
  • Feeling nervous, stressed or excited
  • Noxious fumes (petrol, gasoline, smoke, exhaust, etc)



Should We Worry About Hiccups? 


No. Hiccups are generally not something to worry about –– as long as it happens rarely and for a short amount of time (less than 3 hours). However, if hiccups become persistent, meaning that it lasted more than 48 hours and are affecting sleeping patterns, interfering with eating, causing you to vomit, have abdominal pain and/or fever, it is best to see a doctor as this could be due to a problem with :

  • brain or spinal cord (i.e. brain tumor)
  • damage to the vagus or phrenic nerve
  • problems with liver (swelling, infection)
  • high blood calcium levels
  • medication side effects



Sure Fire Home Remedies to Cure Hiccups


I think we can all agree that hiccups are cute at best and annoying at worst. While it may start off as laugh and giggles, eventually we’d try to find ways to make the hiccups stop. While there are no sure fire way to cure hiccups, here are some home remedies that you can try :

  • hold your breath for a short amount of time
  • taste lemon or vinegar


hiccups causes and remedy


  • take a few gulps of water
  • breathe into a paper bag (it is believed that this can halt hiccups by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the lungs and relaxing the diaphragm, however, it is ill advised to put the bag over your head)


hiccups causes and remedy


  • swallow one half teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • experience a sudden fright


Other methods that you can also try includes :


hiccups causes and remedy


  • hypnosis
  • rectal massage



Long-term Hiccups and Cure


In healthy people, hiccups usually go away on its own with no serious after effects. However, if your hiccup continues persistently (usually lasting over 2 days), doctors might try to prescribe you with Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Baclofen (Lioresal) or Phenytoin (Dilantin).


hiccups causes and remedy


And if hiccups still persists after taking the medications above, the last resort treatment would be a surgery to disable the phrenic nerve (the nerve that controls the diaphragm).




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