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A hiccup or hiccough (generally pronounced "HICK-cup" ( IPA : ['h?.k?p] ) independent of the spelling) is an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm ; typically this repeats several times a minute. As the muscle contracts repeatedly, the opening between your vocal cords snaps shut to check the inflow of air and makes the hiccup sound. Surprisingly, ultrasound scans reveal that babies in the womb start hiccuping after two months, before any breathing movements appear. Irritation of the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest can cause hiccups. Perhaps the most common trigger is swallowing air, usually from eating too fast, chewing gum, or drinking carbonated beverages. Hiccups are more common in the evening and may continue for a few waking hours. Hiccups occur most frequently during the first half of the menstrual cycle, especially in the few days before menstruation, and decrease markedly during pregnancy. These messages travel along the phrenic nerve. When this occurs, it triggers a reflex in the throat muscles. Less than a tenth of a second afterward, the trachea is closed off, making the characteristic "hic" sound. Hiccups may be caused by pressure to the phrenic nerve by other anatomical structures, or rarely by tumors and certain kidney disease. Some suggested hypotheses include hiccups as a possible muscle exercise for the child's respiratory system prior to birth or as a preventive measure to keep amniotic fluid from entering the lungs

Hiccups , or hiccoughs as some people call them, is a mystery ailment with no known purpose. While many cases develop spontaneously, hiccups are known to develop often in specific situations, such as eating too quickly, taking a cold drink while eating a hot meal, eating very hot or spicy food, laughing vigorously or coughing, drinking an excess of an alcoholic beverage , or electrolyte imbalance. But there is one group of animals in which the peculiar combination of the contraction of these muscles and the closure of the glottis does serve a clear purpose: primitive air breathers that still possess gills, such as lungfish, gar and many amphibians This spasm causes an intake of breath that is suddenly stopped by the closure of the vocal cords (glottis). Hiccups are more common in the evening and may continue for a few waking hours. It is still unclear to scientists exactly why hiccups occur, particularly because it doesn't seem to give us any specific benefit. Some speculation exists that hiccups are a remnant of a bodily function that has been phased out by evolution, such as the move from aquatic gilled creatures to land animals Perhaps the most common trigger is swallowing air, usually from eating too fast, chewing gum, or drinking carbonated beverages. Some people hiccup in response to alcohol or spicy foods and drinks

Causes of Hiccups

The commom causes of Hiccups :-

  • Typical causes include gastric distention (ie, food, alcohol, air), sudden changes in ambient or gastric temperature, and use of alcohol and/or tobacco in excess
  • If you eat too fast, you can swallow air along with your food and end up with a case of the hiccups.
  • Tumors, gastric distension, peptic ulcer, AAA, infection, organ enlargement, inflammation (eg, appendicitis, cholecystitis, inflammatory bowel disease)
  • In these instances, your stomach, which sits on top of the diaphragm, is distended or stretched.
  • Any disease or disorder that irritates the nerves that control the diaphragm (such as pleurisy or pneumonia )
  • Stroke or tumor affecting the "hiccup center" in the brain
  • Hiccups occur when overeating, eating too rapidly, drinking carbonated beverages, or illness irritates the phrenic nerve in the diaphragm.

Symptoms of Hiccups

Some are common symptoms of Hiccups :-

  • Repeated, uncontrollable spasms of the diaphragm muscle
  • Hiccups can be described as brief, irritable spasms of your diaphragm that can occur for a few seconds or minutes.
  • Uncomfortable gasping sensation and sound with each hiccup
  • A condition that includes hoarseness, dry cough, the sensation of having a lump in the throat, and the need to repeatedly clear the throat.
  • Chest pain radiating from below the breastbone (the sternum)
  • Feeling of pressure in the chest

Treatment of Hiccups

  • Forcible traction on the tongue, swallowing granulated sugar, gargling with water, sipping ice water, drinking from the far side of a glass, biting on a lemon, inhaling noxious agents (eg, ammonia)
  • Surgical interruption of the phrenic nerve has been advocated for intractable cases that are unresponsive to other treatment.
  • Drink a glass of water quickly.
  • Eating a teaspoon of sugar or honey.
  • Become frightened.
  • The Valsalva maneuver–holding your breath and bearing down, as you might when having a bowel movement
  • Drink a glass of water quickly.

Hiccups can be treated using various home made remedies.

1. Drink a glass of water as slowly as possible. Add a pinch of baking soda for a better effect.

2. Get a spoonful or sachet of sugar. Hold your head back and drop the sugar in, so that it hits the pallet at the back of your mouth into you throat. This home remedy really works for hiccups.

3. Suck 2-3 small pieces of fresh ginger. This helps with reoccuring hiccups.

4. Drink hot coffee and hold your breath to get rid of Hiccups.

One method to cure hiccups is to breathe in and out of a paper bag. Another method is to sit upside down and plug your nose. Purely mental cures for Hiccups:

  • Think of all the bald men you can.
  • Tell yourself "I'm not going to hiccup again."
  • Don't do anything; just wait for the next hiccup.
  • Close your eyes and visualize a neon sign, like a movie marquee; see the word "THINK" blinking on and off; concentrate on the sign and make the word blink as fast as possible.
  • Imagine a neon blue colour, coming from between your eyes, (also known as the third or psyhic eye) and directing it down the centre of your chest to the xiphisternum and then washing calmly across the diaphragm, from one side to the next and back continuously


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