What Are 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.