×
Got The Hiccups? Expert Claims Here's How You Can Get Rid Of Them

Got The Hiccups? Expert Claims Here's How You Can Get Rid Of Them

Hiccups seem quite random because for each person the trauma or trigger can be different.

Source: Getty Images/Creative/nicoletaionescu

Hiccups are a minor inconvenience that happens to all of us and occur at any given time. It is usually hilarious when it first happens, but when it persists, it can get annoying. According to medicine.net, "a hiccup is an extraordinary type of respiratory movement involving a sudden inspiration (intake of air) due to an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm accompanied by closure of the glottis (the vocal apparatus of the larynx). This causes this characteristic sound called the hiccup."



 

Hiccups usually last for a minute or two. In the worst case for 48 hours, for which you need to visit a doctor. Now, typically one resorts to age-old remedies from holding your breath to asking someone to scare you and eating sugar or drinking water.



 

But what causes hiccups? Well, no one really knows. Michael Richardson, primary care provider and office director at One Medical, told Huffington Post, "The reason behind hiccups is one of the great unknowns in the health world." However, there is a theory behind this. It involves the "hiccup reflex arc". He said, "Most theories center on the ‘hiccup reflex arc,’ which includes the phrenic nerve (the nerve that activates your diaphragm), the vagus nerve (the major nerve in your autonomic nervous system), and several other nerves that activate the muscles in your chest and larynx. If this reflex arc is irritated, either by trauma or inflammation, it can trigger a hiccup."



 

Now, no two hiccups triggers are alike. It could range from anything like spicy food to work-related stress. So, one needs to pay attention to what leads to these triggers, and how our remedies could actually aid in the stopping of it. Richardson said, "There are not many high-quality studies looking at how to cure hiccups ... but the ones out there support some of the home remedies we frequently hear about, such as holding your breath or being scared. The mechanism isn’t well understood, but they’re all probably an attempt to reset the hiccup reflex arc or alter our breathing pattern."

Other alternative remedies to cure hiccups include sex (yes, you read that right) and acupuncture. He said, "An interesting non-medication based strategy that has been shown to work is acupuncture, so that may be a go-to option if the hiccups are plaguing you longer than expected." But Richardson remains unconvinced about the validity of the claim when he heard of a case of sex being a way to cure hiccups. 

Persistent hiccups are those that last for more than two days. Ehsan Ali, a primary care physician said, "Common hiccups typically should not be painful. If this is happening to you, there may be something more serious going on and you should seek medical attention for a proper medical evaluation." Stomach ulcers, acid reflux, electrolyte abnormality among others are the harmful causes of hiccups. In rare cases, it indicates an underlying disease.

Recommended for you