What Are Hiccups?

They can be comical ….hic….to other, embarrassing…hic…when they happen in public, and annoying….hic….when we can’t get them to stop, but why do we get the hiccups?

ThinkstockPhotos-80619369A hiccup is a sudden, involuntary spasm of our diaphragm muscle. When our diaphragm abruptly contracts, our vocal cords close, resulting in the very familiar “hic” sound. Although there is no conclusive reason why we get hiccups, but eating or drinking too quickly are believed to be contributing factors.

There are many theories on how to stop an episode of hiccups. They include:
• Holding your breath
• Drinking a glass of water quickly
• Pulling hard on your tongue
• Biting on a lemon
• Gargling with water
• Drinking from the far side of the glass
• Getting scared

In most cases hiccups are just a temporary, minor annoyance, although there was one reported case of someone having the hiccups for six decades. If hiccups last more than three hours, or if they disturb eating or sleeping, call your doctor immediately as it may signal another medical problem.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.