What Causes Hiccups?


You are in the midst of something – at work, at a party, or at an evening show, or maybe just had a meal and chugging your favourite beverage. Suddenly you get hiccups. You reach out for a glass of water, as you feel some kind of a sensation in your throat, chest, or abdomen.

What Causes Hiccups

Although one bout of hiccups last only for a minute, it surely makes you feel uneasy. It is worth knowing what causes hiccups – the temporary and minor annoyance that gets irritating.

Do you know the longest ‘recorded’ hiccup attack? It is 6 decades!!

Okay, let us know the definition of Hiccups first.

It is a sudden “spasm” of the diaphragm muscle involuntarily. When the spasms happen, the vocal cords shut, producing the hiccup sound.

Symptoms Of Hiccups
Source: healthjade.com

Let us find out about the causes.

Brief Background On What Causes Hiccups:

How do you know what causes hiccups? When the following has happened:

  • Eating fast and too quickly
  • Eating or drinking in excess, in fact, more than you should
  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Drinking excess of alcohol
  • Swallowing air with chewing gum
  • Sucking on candy
  • Certain medications
  • Sudden changes in temperature
  • Noxious fumes
  • Strokes or brain tumors
  • Diseases that irritate the nerves which control the diaphragm
  • Excitement or emotional stress
  • Abdominal surgery

The causes of hiccups change from person to person and depend on the environment and situation. They are not the same for everyone. Hope you are clear on what causes hiccups.

What If Hiccups Get Prolonged:

In rare cases, hiccups can last for days or weeks. An underlying condition is responsible for this situation, or due to some medications being taken by the sufferer.

What are the underlying conditions behind a hiccup?

  1. Nerve irritation or damage to the vagus or phrenic nerves, which serve the diaphragm muscle.
  1. The central nervous system disorders caused by a tumor or infection can disrupt the body’s normal control of the hiccup reflex.
  1. Metabolic disorders, which are triggered by drugs, alcohol consumption, barbiturates, chemotherapy (for cancer treatment), steroids, tranquilisers, kidney disease, and electrolyte imbalance.


Complications In Hiccups:

Now for the complications. Well, prolonged hiccups may end up interfering with:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Speech
  • Healing of wound, after surgery

How to stop Hiccups:

The next part tells you more.

Home Remedies For Hiccups:

Most of you may wonder whether there any home remedies to stop hiccups.

Yes, there are. Try these methods on how to stop continuous hiccups to get relief from common hiccups.

  • Drink a glass of water quickly (preferably cold water) or do a gargle with ‘iced’ water. This shock treatment will cause distraction and in the process, stop the hiccups.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages and foods that produce gas.
  • Hold your breath immediately.
  • Bite into a lemon.
  • Breathe into a paper bag (without pulling the paper bag over your head). Heart and stroke patients should avoid adopting this remedy.
  • Use smelling salts.
Home Remedies For Hiccups
Source: drweil.com
  • Have a person pull your tongue hard (it might be considered rude to do it in public but helps stop those incessant hiccups).
  • Add 1 tsp table salt to a cup of fresh yogurt. Mix it well and then eat the yogurt. Before swallowing, swish the yogurt in your mouth. The sour taste of yogurt does the trick.
  • Put one and a half tsp of dry sugar on the back of your tongue. Do it 3 times at an interval of 2 minutes. Use corn syrup, not sugar in kids (if you feel the need).
  • Swallow 1/2 tsp of vinegar. And drink a glass of water. You can also mix 1 tsp of vinegar in a glass of water, and drink it slowly till the time hiccups stop.
  • Put 1 tsp of peanut butter in your mouth. Hold it for a few seconds, then swallow the butter without chewing it. If peanut butter is not available, you can choose almond butter.
Peanut Butter for Hiccups
Source: medindia.net
  • Cardamom has muscle-relaxing properties, hence can stop hiccups. In a glass of hot water, mix 1 tsp cardamom powder. Keep it aside for 15 minutes and strain it. Now drink it slowly.
  • Steep 1 tsp dried chamomile herb in a cup containing water for 5-10 minutes. Drink it slowly for the hiccups to end.
  • Take 1 tsp of black pepper powder (freshly ground). Smell it for a while to induce sneezing. When you do continuous sneezing, it will automatically put a stop to the hiccups.

There are other suggestions to get rid of hiccups and relax the diaphragm. Have a laugh if you want, but these are some serious tips:

  • Name ‘10 famous bald men’
  • Stick a finger in the ear
  • Tickle your palate with a swab
  • Get someone to frighten you

When To See A Doctor For Hiccups:

Try out the methods shared above only if you feel comfortable. Remember, some of these tips (e.g honey and sugar) are not advisable for hiccups in infants.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Blood spitting
  • Feel as if your throat is going to close up.

Hope you will follow these remedies for hiccups treatment. Do share this article on your social network, as well as with friends and family.


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