What causes hiccups

Most people at one time or another will want to know what causes hiccups. Hiccups happen because of the involuntary contraction or spasm of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a small round dome shaped muscle at the bottom of your chest. Whenever the diaphragm contracts suddenly it causes you to inhale a quick breath of air. When this happens the well known hiccup sound is produced. The scientific community has been trying to figure out what causes hiccups for a long time. Scientists have discovered that there is a nerve in the cervical area and the neck that is attached is the spine. This nerve is called the phrenic nerve and it directly helps the diaphragm move during the act of breathing or hiccupping.

When a person eats or drinks something that is very cold or hot it can cause the diaphragm to contract or spasm. Eating spicy foods can even trigger the diaphragm to contract. A lot of people will get hiccups when they are eating and talking same time because they are swallowing air. For some unknown reason alcoholic beverages can trigger the diaphragm to spasm also. Believe it or not, the simple act of taking a cold shower or leaving a room that is too hot or too cold suddenly can be what causes hiccups. The key element here is that the person has a sudden intake of air, either hot or cold. Even people who get overly excited or who are under stress can get hiccups because of the exaggerated way they begin to breathe.

Having the hiccups is not a painful experience and it does not mean you have a serious medical condition just because you have the hiccups. Most hiccups last only a few minutes but some can last up to 24 hours or more. The only time you should go to see your doctor to find out what causes hiccups is if they are lasting for a prolonged period of time.

Some other normal causes of hiccups are because of eating too way to fast and gulping food down in such a way that you are swallowing air. If you are eating a meal that has really hot food and then drink ice water on top of that, it can be what causes hiccups for some people. A person who is crying uncontrollably or sobing can develop the case of hiccups also. Even laughing uncontrollably can cause hiccups because the person is also gulping air while they are laughing.

There are various things that people do to get rid of their hiccups. One of the common things people will try to get rid of their hiccups is have someone suddenly scare them. This is thought be something that will put a stop to the hiccups. Other people will try holding thier breath for a long time. Sometimes this will work to stop the hiccups. There are all kinds of strange ideas you can try. For instance some people think that if they drink a lot of water really fast your hiccups will go away. Others think that if they try swallowing sugar their hiccups will go away. The reason why all of these types of remedies might have get rid of the hiccups is because it will change the person’s breathing pattern. The conclusion about what causes hiccups is that the diaphragm gets irritated for some reason and the phrenic nerve allows it to spasm and a quick intake of air suddenly happens which produces the hiccups.

Your doctor will give you a prescription medicine if your hiccups last longer than 24 hours. Usually the type of medication that your doctor will give you will work by affecting the phrenic nerve and the diaphragm so that will relax and stop contracting involuntarily. Unfortunately the drug that are available to help stop hiccups produce some undesirable side effects so most doctors are hesitant to prescribe them.

Last updated on Nov 19th, 2009 and filed under Respiratory Diseases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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