You must have experienced hiccups at almost every stage of your life. I have experienced hiccups several times and especially after having spicy foods. I remember an incident when I went to Jammu, a hilly city in India during my business trip.
I was having dinner with my managers and I started hiccupping. In most cases hiccups go away on their own, but that day it became difficult for me to control my hiccups and I continued to hiccup for 10 minutes.
Managers suggested me the best known hiccup remedies, I applied all remedies within that 10 minutes and then got relief. It is difficult to say which remedy worked for me. But that meeting became very nostalgic; we named it “Hiccup meeting”. We didn’t discuss anything except hiccups.
Now you might have understood my source of inspiration for writing about hiccups. A hiccup is a reflex you have no control over and can be hard to stop and at times embarrassing. That being said, the interesting fact about hiccups is that unlike other reflexes (i.e. sneezing, coughing, etc.), a hiccup does not appear to have a useful purpose.
What hiccups are basically?
Hiccups involve the involuntary contraction which is known as spasm of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. The phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm, is directly responsible for these spasms. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic “hic” sound.
What causes hiccups?
The most common triggers for hiccups include:
- Eating too much food too quickly.
- Drinking too much alcohol or carbonated beverages.
- Swallowing too much air.
- A sudden change in stomach temperature, such as drinking a hot beverage and then a cold beverage.
- Emotional stress or excitement.
How can I control my hiccups?
Although there is no surefire way to stop hiccups, if you have a bout of hiccups that lasts longer than a few minutes, the following home remedies may provide relief:
Change the pressure in your sinuses: By plugging up your ear canal, you are increasing the pressure your sinuses. This could force the muscle spasm that caused the hiccup to relax.
- Plug up one ear with your finger
- Plug both ears and drink a glass of water
Stimulate your throat: The nerves at the back of your throat may trigger the muscle spasm causing your hiccups. By distracting those nerves with something else, you may be able to stop the hiccups.
- Sip ice water
- Swallow some sugar
- Bite on a lemon
Check your breathing: The idea is to interrupt the hiccup cycle by stopping the flow of oxygen for a short time.
- Draw your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around them and squeeze
- Hold your breath
- Breathe into a paper bag
Every culture has their own little myths and in India it is said that if you are having hiccups then, somebody is remembering you. Man can walk on the moon and create computers the size of a fingernail, but curing hiccups still remains a mystery. Although doctors have tried everything from drugs to hypnosis, these old fashioned home remedies really work.