All about funny and annoying hiccups

We’ve all had them! The “hic” sound has left nobody which sometimes feel frustrating and sometimes hilarious. These involuntary bodily functions which keep on coming back are “hiccups” and you need to arm yourself with the right information to battle the next time they appear.

Below are a few interesting facts about hiccups you would like to know:

  • Medically, hiccup is known as “Singultus”. It is a Latin word which means “to catch one’s breath while crying”.
  • Humans are not the only one to have a hiccup. Mammals hiccup too! Though human beings are more prone to get hiccups. Unborn babies in the womb also get hiccups.
  • Men are more likely to get hiccup than women
  • Hiccups generally happen during the evening hours
  • A hiccup if does not go in 7 bouts, then it might continue for 63 bouts
  • In India, a popular superstitious belief is that, you hiccup when someone remembers you

Have health related questions? Consult specialist doctor online. Book appointment now.

Medical reasons for a hiccup

Hiccups are caused due to involuntary closure of the glottis. It happens when diaphragm contracts suddenly at the same time when the muscle of the voice box contracts. It causes a sudden blockage of air intake and snaps shut of the vocal cords creating a tell-tale hiccup noise.

Some other causes of hiccup include smoking, shock, stress, alcohol consumption, a sudden change in temperature, excitement, eating too fast and overeating. Many of these have the ability to irritate the esophagus leading to hiccups.

How to stop hiccups?

There are no proven methods yet to stop hiccup. People try what works for them and as long as they are safe, you can follow any of the remedies to stop your hiccups. Below mentioned are a few common remedies for hiccups.

  • Try to distract the person. Scare, ask a perplexing question or divert towards some incident, event, or TV program.
  • Try to swallow thrice while holding your breath
  • Eat or drink something 
  • Focus on breathing in and breathing out
  • Breathe slowly through the nose and exhale through the mouth
  • Blow up a balloon
  • Induce sneezing
  • Hold your breath for as long as you can 
  • Swallow a spoon of sugar, peanut butter, or bite a lemon 

There is nothing to worry about hiccups as they go on their own. However, if they persist for more than 48 hours, you need to consult a doctor. Hiccups that won’t quit point towards a lot of health conditions like ulcers, malaria, heart conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic disorders, encephalitis, and even cancer. One should get a doctor’s view in case of persisting or chronic hiccups to rule out any critical health condition.

Word of caution:  If the hiccups are accompanied by stomach pain, fever, shortness of breath, vomiting or coughing up blood, then do not ignore the symptoms. Seek medical help from a doctor near you immediately.