An article about hiccups, their causes and definitions, and methods of curing them.
Hiccups. We all get them. One moment we're fine, the next we are stuck in a state of annoying discomfort. Their severity can range from barely noticeable to demanding attention. The sides begin to ache, the throat starts burning, strange sounds come out with every jerk upwards. Soon the hiccups are unbearable and embarrassing and you go in search of something, anything, to get rid of them.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, a hiccup is “a spasmodic inhalation with closure of the glottis accompanied by a peculiar sound,” and Dictionary.com defines it as “a quick, involuntary inhalation that follows a spasm of the diaphragm and is suddenly checked by closure of the glottis, producing a short, relatively sharp sound.” Thus, we can see that hiccups are caused by the diaphragm having sudden spasms.
No one knows a specific cause for hiccups, though there are several possibilities. There are short term causes, as well as long term causes. According to MayoClinic.com, some of the short term causes include eating too much, drinking carbonated beverages, and stress or excitement. Some long term causes include nerve damage or irritation and metabolic disorders. There are many more possible culprits for hiccups. If they occur over a long period of time and you can't get rid of them, seek medical attention.
We know what a hiccup is, we know some of the causes, but now how do we get rid of them? Well, here are a few suggestions to drive the hiccups away.
1. Hold your breath for ten seconds or more. I'm not exactly sure why this works, but it works for me. Maybe it causes the diaphragm to calm down.
2. Drink a glass of water upside down. I have never actually tried this and don't even know how to do it, but I have heard it suggested a lot.
3. Drink a glass of water right side up, without stopping for a breath. I take a deep breath and then drink that water down as fast as I can. It works sometimes.
4. Have a friend scare your hiccups away. I don't know how successful this method is, but you can try it. I'm sure the friend would be more than happy to help you out.
5. Eat a spoonful of sugar. A friend of mine would do this and it worked for her, so if you have a sweet tooth, this might be the perfect solution for you.
6. Eat a spoonful of peanut butter. I grew up on this method and it is and will always be my favorite. It works quickly and effectively and makes a yummy snack in the process.
7. Touch your toes. This sounds crazy, but a friend says it works for her. Fill your mouth with water, bend over and touch your toes, breath in and out slowly, gulping down a little bit of water in between breaths.
8. Have someone press gently on your vagus nerve (located in the forehead). It must be true, hiccups are all in our head. If someone presses on the right nerve, the hiccups will go away.
I am always hearing of new ways to get rid of hiccups. These are just a few suggestions. Again, if these methods don't work and the hiccups persist, seek medical attention. Hiccups are not generally a serious problem, but there may be a serious condition contributing to them. The only way to know is to ask a doctor.