We can define hiccups as a repetitive muscular contraction affecting our esophagus and windpipe areas. Basically, our windpipe contains a trap door which is called epiglottis. Whenever we drink or eat something, this door closes so that the food or drinks would not end up in our airways, choking us. Sometimes our diaphragm starts pushing our lungs down, in order to fill them with air, while the epiglottis is closed, obstructing the process. Then, hiccups take place.
What Causes Hiccups?
Apart from the above mentioned trigger, other things may lead to hiccups as well. For example, certain types of foods and drinks may irritate some of the nerves on our windpipe, heart, lungs or diaphragm. This usually happens due to consumption of spicy and hot food. Alternatively, some illnesses, like diabetes are known to be behind hiccups. Hiccups are quite common during pregnancy, even though the reasons behind this phenomenon are yet to be found. Babies may be prone to hiccups once they have been crying a lot. Other people may suffer from this phenomenon once they eat a lot of food over a short period of time, or after they cough excessively. Finally, anesthesia has hiccups as its side-effect.
What Cures Hiccups?
For quite a long time now, people have been stopping hiccups with sugar. All you need to do is to take a spoon of sugar and keep in in your mouth, on your tongue, until it melts. Peanut butter is known to have the same effect. If a baby starts having hiccups, burping can help. This leads to presumptions that we only need to divert our brain from the action and it will stop.
Another excellent remedy for hiccups is water with several ice cubes. Sipping the water slowly is known to stop hiccups. Alternatively, during the water consumption, you can plug your nose and ears for a better effect.
Some people concentrate on diverting their thoughts off hiccups by occupying themselves with counting backwards or drinking water while assuming awkward body positions.
Additionally, you may stop hiccups by preventing them from happening in the first place. Thus, all you need to do is to avoid the factors which cause hiccups. Chew your food carefully and eat slowly, avoiding spicy and hot dishes, as well as overeating. Alcoholic beverages are also known to trigger hiccups, so keep that in mind.
Generally, apart from being annoying, hiccups are completely harmless. However, pestering and persistent, this fit can be more than distracting. So, follow the above mentioned pieces of advice and live a hiccup-free life. Yet, if hiccups remain persistent for more than 4 hours, seek medical assistance.