10 Natural Home Remedies For Hiccups
The word hiccups originated from the Latin word “singultus,” which comes from the word “singult,” meaning “to catch one’s breath while sobbing.” A hiccup is an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm which is the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and is an essential role in breathing.
The “hic” sound is produced by a contraction which is followed by a sudden closure of the vocal cords. Usually, when a person takes a deep breath, the diaphragm pulls down to draw air into the lungs.
While, as they breath out, the diaphragm pushes up to expel the air. However, when a person is experiencing hiccups, the diaphragm contracts and pulls down, drawing in air between breaths.
And immediately after this, the windpipe closes for a moment to prevent more air from entering the lungs, thus producing the “hic” sound.
A hiccup can happen to a person anytime on any day and can last for several minutes. Thus, this condition is quite annoying, especially when you’re in the middle of something important.
When you are experiencing hiccups, you usually have a hard time breathing properly and it kind of exhausts your lungs and diaphragm when it goes on for too long.
Hiccups may result from eating a large meal, drinking an alcoholic or carbonated beverage, or even due to a sudden excitement.
In some cases, hiccups may be a sign of an underlying condition. But for the majority of people, their hiccups usually last for only a few minutes and rarely may persist for months. This type of hiccup on the ptherhand, may result in weight loss and exhaustion.
There are numerous causes of hiccups, however, there are no identified triggers for it.
Possible common causes of short-term hiccups include:
Eating spicy food
Drinking carbonated beverages, such as sodas
Consuming very hot or very cold foods
A sudden change in air temperature
Swallowing air while chewing gum
Excitement or emotional stress
Aerophagia — swallowing too much air
In some cases, there are hiccups that may last longer than 48 hours which is already categorized by the type of irritant that causes this episode.
The majority of persistent hiccups are usually caused by an injury or irritation to either the phrenic nerve or vagus. The phrenic nerves and vagus are actually responsible for controlling the movement of your diaphragm.
These nerves may be affected by:
Irritation of your eardrum such as a foreign object, throat irritation, or soreness.
Goiter — enlargement of the thyroid gland.
Gastroesophageal reflux — The condition wherein stomach acid comes back up into the esophagus which is the tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach.
Esophageal tumor or cyst
There are also cases wherein persistent hiccups may be caused by a damage in the CNS or Central nervous system.
Damage in the CNS may lead to persistent hiccups including:
Multiple sclerosis — a chronic, degenerative nerve disease
Meningitis and Encephalitis — infections that can cause swelling in the brain
Head trauma or brain injury
Hydrocephalus — accumulation of fluid on the brain
Neurosyphilis and other brain infections
There are also cases where hiccups lasts for longer periods which can also be caused by:
An anesthesia reaction after surgery
Certain classes of drugs, including barbiturates, steroids, and tranquilizers
An electrolyte imbalance
Arteriovenous malformation cancer and chemotherapy treatments
Hiccups are generally not a cause for panic of any sort thus, its treatments are more on lifestyle changes and natural remedies.
There are several natural remedies for hiccups:
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Hold Your Breath
This is one of the most common remedies to try and almost everyone has done it. The next time you get hiccups, take a deep breath and try to hold it for a minute or a few seconds. Whenever there’s a buildup. carbon dioxide in the lungs, the diaphragm tends to relax.
Drink Some Water
Whenever you have hiccups, try taking 9 or 10 quick sips in a row from a glass of water.
This will cause the rhythmic contraction of the esophagus to override spasms of the diaphragm.
Taking a big spoonful of peanut butter is a classic treatment for getting rid of hiccups.
Since the texture of peanut butter is gooey and requires effort, the process of chewing and getting it off your tongue and teeth, causes your breathing and swallowing patterns to be interrupted.
Can you believe that eating chocolate can be a treatment for hiccups? Yes it is! If this works for you then you can do this any time you get a hiccup.
This is done by eating some powdered chocolate drink mix right off the spoon.
This is a simple treatment which only requires you to slowly chew a teaspoon of dill seeds.
This works because swallowing the dill seeds stimulates the vagus nerve which makes the hiccups stop.
Suck On A Lemon
This is actually a popular remedy. Simply biting or sucking on a lemon wedge soaked in non-alcoholic bitters.
Try this remedy by adding one teaspoon of honey with warm water and drink it in the back of your tongue and just swallow it. Just like dill seeds, honey is also a stimulant which tickles the vagus nerve to make hiccups stop.
This is a great remedy as it is used for its many health benefits.
Swallow Something Sweet
Taking a spoonful of sugar is also a popular remedy for hiccups because its sandy texture can slightly irritate the esophagus which causes the phrenic nerves to reset themselves.
Breathe Into A Paper Bag
Whenever you get hiccups, you may try breathing slowly and deeply into a paper bag or even plastic. This will help increase carbon dioxide levels in the blood which makes the diaphragm contract more deeply to bring in more oxygen.
Stick Out Your Tongue
This simple yet funny remedy may actually work because it stimulates the opening between the vocal cords. This will make you breathe more smoothly, eliminating the spasms causing the hiccups.