The hiccup, which in medicine is called singul, consists of an inspiratory sound that is produced as a result of the abrupt, involuntary, and intermittent contraction of the diaphragm (a muscle that is at the base of the lungs) that causes the epiglottis to close, causing the typical soundhic.
Hiccups, which usually begin for no apparent reason and usually go away in a few minutes, can affect people of all ages; in fact, even fetuses can have hiccups, and it is very common in babies up to six months of age, which is often of concern to first-time parents.
Why do we have hiccups?
The diaphragm descends when we inhale so that the lungs fill with air, and it rises when we exhale to facilitate the release of air from the lungs. When this mechanism is altered and the diaphragm rises or falls earlier than normal, breathing becomes different, causing hiccups.
Hiccups are usually a transient and benign disorder, which lasts only a few minutes and resolves spontaneously, but in exceptional cases can last for days, weeks, or months, becoming thenpersistent hiccups, that needs medical attention because it can have its origin in gastric, thoracic, metabolic or neurological alterations, and even be a symptom of diseases such as stomach ulcer, esophagitis or pancreatitis, among others.
Some possible causes of hiccups are:
- Eat excessively.
- Eat very fast.
- Abusing alcohol
- Irritation of the diaphragm.
- Alterations of the stomach.
- States of nervousness or excitement.
- Abdominal surgery
- Consume spicy or spicy foods or liquids.
- Having any disease or disorder that irritates the nerves that control the diaphragm.
How to stop the hiccups
There are no specific or scientifically proven measures to stop hiccups, and what for some people is effective, others do not help at all, but some suggestions you could try are:
- Take a glass of cold water.
- Drink water by crouching the body forward.
- Hold your breath and breathe out slowly, repeating the process several times.
- Take a spoonful of sugar.
- Breathe repeatedly in a paper bag.
- Take a teaspoon of lemon or a little vinegar.
- That give you a shock when you find yourself unprepared (although this may not be recommended for some people, and should not be done with children).
- Medications (only should be administered in case of persistent hiccups and under medical prescription).
In the case of babies, experts explain that there are no remedies to stop hiccups and you have to wait patiently for them to pass spontaneously. It is considered harmless for children, but if the child has frequent or very prolonged hiccups (half an hour or more) it is advisable to consult with the pediatrician to rule out that it is a digestive, respiratory or neurological problem.