Isn’t it embarrassing when your colleagues have to listen to your hiccups during work hours in the middle of silence?
Hiccups. It is an unwelcome guest barging into your precious time, whether you are talking, reading a book, setting up your newly purchased Windows VPS Hosting for high performance in servers or even taking a walk around to enjoy your shopping experience and entertain yourself after a long day at work.
Ah, yes, the dreadful ‘hic hic’ that can either attract an onlooker or two to help you get rid of it or you have your friend creeping up from your behind to give you a scare. Nevertheless, it can be annoying especially when you are trying to have a conversation but gets interrupted by the spasms. Hiccups can occur at random and for a brief period of time, making it impossible for scientists to research about them. As a result, many cures lack scientific support.
Causes Of Hiccups
Professor Andrew Goddard from the Royal College of Physicians stated that there is no definite answer but hypotheses on the hiccup triggers, but it can possibly occur when the diaphragm is irritated by certain circumstances.
Heightened emotions can contribute to the reflex. If you are overly excited over something, say, a really funny joke your friend did which causes a lot of air swallowing, it is possible to get hiccups. Eating spicy foods, carbonated beverages, and smoking can also cause it too. Stress can lead to hiccups as well.
Babies and those with stomach disorders tend to hiccup more often.
How Does Hiccups Works
Hiccups, or diaphragm spasm, is an uncontrollable repetitive contraction of the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm separates the lungs from your abdomen and controls the breathing. As you inhale, the diaphragm contracts and relaxes when you breathe out. Consistency is key to the respiratory rhythm, however, irregularity in the diaphragm contractions can send signals to the reflexes, thus causing hiccups. Think of it like a functional piston; the diaphragm contracts abruptly and the air flows into the lungs and encounters obstruction which leads to the formation of a peculiar ‘hic’ sound. The vocal cord closes abruptly with each spasm, resulting in a rush of air into the lungs. With the whole hiccup system working, the sound of a ‘hic’ is generated by your body, which most of us are familiar and peeved with.
Hiccups usually last for a few minutes. Rare cases are the hiccups lasting for 48 hours, which is a sign that you should make an appointment with a doctor.
Getting Rid Of Hiccups
The most common remedy for hiccups is the well-known diaphragm exercise like holding your breath at certain times to gradually ease the reflex and preventing the spasms. Hugging your knees and leaning forward can count as doing chest compressions which are able to relieve your diaphragm spasms.
Even unconventional methods like chewing a lemon or tasting vinegar, with the idea that the sharp tangy taste can give shock to the body and divert the brain’s attention away from the hiccups. Drinking ice water can also help to alleviate the hiccups. The cold sensation from the icy water stops the irritation produced in the diaphragm and resumes its normal movement.
This may sound weird, but sticking out your tongue allows you to breathe smoothly and quickly which helps prevent hiccups. Make sure you are alone when you are doing this to avoid any judgy stares. If any of these steps does not work, plug your ears by putting your fingers between your ears for a good 30 seconds. This helps to send a relax signal to your vagus nerves which binds to the diaphragm.
Myths About Hiccups
We have established that there will always be myths and other ridiculous backstories of how and why we get certain illnesses whenever our health is concerned. Even hiccups have their own tales from the old wives.
Some say, according to an Indian folklore, getting hiccups signifies that somebody is missing you. If you are able to identify who is yearning for you, the spasms will stop immediately. Seems like a stretch, isn’t it? (Especially when you are single as a pringle).
Other than the romantic side of hiccups, another saying goes that your hiccups may mean someone is thinking negatively about you, or maybe it is a bad omen which curses you. But really, it is just your typical health concerns, so there is definitely nothing to worry about!
Hiccups are just like any other small sickness like flu, coughs and soreness as long as it is not too chronic, therefore you do not need to be too alarmed. As much as not worrisome when it comes to hiccups, it is important to be cautious whenever you are eating as hiccups, when not taken care, can make you choke on your food. This often happens to small children. Should there be any worsening condition, it is best to consult with your local general practitioner.