Hiccups or hiccoughs are usually a trifling condition experienced by all of us from time to time. It is caused by the brief twitching of the muscles of the diaphragm (a respiratory structure) that repeats itself several times. This closes the opening between the vocal cords which obstructs the inflow of air causing the hiccup sound.
Hiccups are usually caused when you swallow too much air, drink too quickly or eat hastily. Excitement and stress are also believed to cause hiccups. Sometimes you can also get hiccups without any known trigger.
In some cases, they are triggered by conditions like pneumonia, pregnancy, asthma and kidney disorders. These hiccups are usually persistent for more than 48 hours and are termed as chronic hiccups.
Top Five Cures For Hiccups
Hiccups are an involuntary action that does not require any treatment most of the time. However, you can try these simple remedies to get rid of them quickly.
This is an age old cure for hiccups that works almost instantly. When your gastrointestinal tract is dry, it may cause convulsion of the diaphragm muscles resulting in hiccups.
A glass of water, for that reason, is an instant remedy. There are a number of ways you can drink water to get rid of hiccups. Most popular way is to fill a glass with water up to its brim and gulp it down quickly. Few others vouch that the best cure for hiccups is to take small sips of warm water.
This is also a tried and tested remedy for hiccups. It is not the sugar that does the trick but swallowing it helps. When you swallow sugar, it stimulates a cranial nerve of the vocal cord and stops the hiccups almost immediately. You can have a spoonful of sugar to get rid of hiccups.
Hold Your Breath
When you hold your breath for a few seconds and exhale, it holds the diaphragm muscles in its place and prevents it from twitching. This clears the obstruction of airflow and stops your hiccups.
Pinch your nose and hold your breath for as long as you can and then exhale slowly. Repeat the same for two or three times to cure hiccups quickly.
Modify The Way You Eat
It is believed that people who eat too fast have an increased possibility of getting hiccups time and again. When you eat fast without completely chewing your food, it might get struck in your vocal cord giving rise to hiccups.
There is also an increased chance of swallowing large amounts of air when you eat fast. This can also stimulate hiccups. Eat slowly and chew the food thoroughly to prevent hiccups.
Avoid Spicy Foods
Spicy food may irritate the diaphragm triggering hiccups. This remedy may not work for all. However, if you get hiccups after having very spicy foods then you have a good reason to avoid them.
Apart from the above remedies, there are a host of other remedies like holding your ears, sudden fright, breathing into a bag and tickling that can help you to get rid of hiccups.
These remedies only cure short-term hiccups, but if you are having persistent hiccups it can be a sign of an underlying illness. In such cases, it is advisable to consult your physician as an immediate measure.