The heart and the lungs are separated from the abdominal cavity by a muscle called diaphragm.
This muscle contract creating more room for the lungs to fill in oxygen during the breathing process.
Sudden, repetitive, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm muscle results to production of a noisy sound through the mouth. This is the hiccups.
Almost everyone experience hiccups in their life time meaning that they do not affect a particular group of people.
More hiccups for male
Research, however, shows that men experience hiccups more than female.
Hiccups, in most cases, are usually temporal and therefore, should not cause an alarm.
In case the hiccups become prolonged, lasting for more than three hours, one should see a doctor.
Equally, if they come with vomiting or blocking the throat, a medical examination need to be carried out.
Causes of hiccups
According to National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), the exact cause of hiccups remains unknown.
Nevertheless, eating too much or spicy foods, drinking alcohol or hot or fizzy liquids, emotional excitement, sudden change in air temperature, stress and fear are believed to cause hiccups.
In other cases, hiccups that persevere long are associated with underlying medical condition.
Some of the common illness and conditions which persistent hiccups include pregnancy, bladder irritation, liver cancer or hepatitis, alcoholism and pneumonia.
This is sometimes and not always. Therefore, a medical test would be the best to confirm the persistent cause.
Getting rid of hiccups
Hiccups usually go away on their own but they can be trying at some point to an extent of affecting eating, sleep or even speech.
To stop this, Disabled World Organization recommend a number of home remedies to stop hiccups. Some of these remedies include:
- Breathing in and holding the breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly repeating the process for 3 or 4 times.
- Breathing in to a paper bag to interrupt your normal breathing pattern. This will increase the amount of carbon dioxide one is inhaling, forcing the body to get rid of it.
- Bringing the knees to your chest or lean forward and hug them for a couple of minutes.
- Stick your fingers in your ears for about 20 to 30 seconds.
- Placing a spoonful of sugar or honey in the mouth and then swallowing it. Immediately it melts, hiccups will stop.
- Taking a thin slice of lemon, place it on your tongue and then sucking it like a sweet can as well help get rid of hiccups.
Long-lasting hiccups do not have home remedies and the best practice is to seek medical treatment
By Joseph Macharia