Hiccups is annoying, but mostly harmless. But where does the pesky hiccups actually come from?what is the 11 Scientific reason for hiccups? Here you will learn 11 possible causes and 14 effective tricks to get rid of the hiccups quickly.
The origin of the hiccups is the diaphragm, a flat, strong muscle that separates the abdominal and chest height and is involved in breathing. If it suddenly cramps, the annoying hicksen arises.
That happens with hiccups – and that’s why babies have them
The diaphragm may suddenly contract for various reasons. This causes the glottis between the vocal cords to close very suddenly. The air from your lungs cannot escape and the air you breathe in pushes against the vocal cords from the outside. These finally give way under pressure and open again suddenly. The result is the well-known Hicksen.
Incidentally, the origin of hiccups lies in the brain, in the so-called “hiccups center”. It sends nerve signals to the vocal cords and diaphragm, which trigger the hiccups. And it is not entirely clear why this mechanism exists at all. It is believed that it is a remnant of our time in the womb.
Unborn babies very often have hiccups, possibly training their breathing muscles and / or pushing amniotic fluid out of their esophagus. After the birth, we actually don’t need hiccups anymore. Nevertheless, it remained as a relic of our time before birth.
11 Scientific reason for hiccups
Chronic hiccups – rather the exception
Usually the hiccups suddenly appear and disappear after a few minutes, at the latest within the next hour. Such occasional hickers are completely harmless and are no cause for alarm. The situation is different in the rare cases where hiccups do not go away as quickly. Chronic hiccups are referred to when they last longer than two days. There are said to have been cases in which sufferers have had hiccups for decades.
Chronic hiccups often become a major psychological burden for those affected, which can lead to suicide. Depressive symptoms, sleep disorders and restrictions on the oxygen supply to the body are also possible. Treatment and respiratory therapies are usually used to get rid of the annoying companion. If this is of no use, there are various medications that are supposed to stop the swallowing stimulus. If there is another underlying disease (see the possible causes below), hiccups often disappear when the causative disease is treated.
Hiccups in pregnancy
Pregnant women suffer particularly often from hiccups. The reason: the baby presses on the diaphragm and irritates it in this way. The only consolation to be said is that the expectant mom is in good company, after all, the baby very often has hiccups.
If you are pregnant and, occasionally, you feel that your baby performs rhythmic movements that can last a few minutes or several hours, you should not worry, it is what is called fetal hiccups . Fetal hiccups begin to occur from the seventh month and last until the end of pregnancy.
During the last trimester, the diaphragm of the baby must be exercised. In the baby’s lungsno air enters, but amniotic fluid with special characteristics to nourish the lungs. To exercise, the diafragam performs these respiratory movements. It is normal that, even during the first weeks of life, the baby continues to have hiccups, until his lungs and respiratory system adapt to the new context.
The fetal hiccups , far from representing any kind of problem, it is completely normal, even is considered a sign of health and fetal welfare .
11 Scientific reason for hiccups
In acute hiccups, the so-called phrenic nerve is almost always involved. It runs from the brain to the diaphragm and triggers hiccups when stimulated by various stimuli. Chronic hiccups make things more complicated: A whole range of physical and mental factors can be the cause. These are the most common triggers for acute and chronic hiccups:
Hiccups while eating and drinking – 11 Scientific reason for hiccups
A stomach that is overstretched for a short time can cause swallowing. This happens, for example, after a lavish or hasty meal or through drinks with large amounts of carbon dioxide. Very cold or hot food and drinks can also cause hickering, especially when switching between hot and cold. Some people react to spicy food with hiccups. If you know that you often get hiccups on cold dishes, for example, you should sit as upright as possible and breathe calmly and deeply. This reduces the likelihood of hickering.
Hiccups from alcohol and nicotine
A drunk who has to keep hoeing is almost a cliché. Nevertheless, it has a true background: alcohol easily triggers swallowing, especially if it is drunk in excess. Heavy smoking also increases the likelihood of hiccups.
Hiccups due to changing ambient temperature -11 Scientific reason for hiccups
Some people react with hiccups when they move from a cold to a warm environment or vice versa. The sudden change in temperature irritates the phrenic nerve and the beating begins.
Hiccups from stress and excitement
Not only physical, but also psychological causes can cause hiccups. Stress, tension, fear, excitement or stage fright trigger hiccups in some people. The problem: The hicksen may increase the tension. The only thing that helps: keep calm and humor.
Hiccups from medication
Some medications increase the tendency to swallow as a side effect. These include, for example, certain sleeping pills and sedatives, anti-epileptics, anesthetics, drugs for Parkinson’s, cortisone drugs, some psychotropic drugs and chemotherapy drugs. Important: If you experience frequent hiccups and think a medication is the reason, you should tell your doctor. An alternative drug may be found that does not have the annoying side effect. Under no circumstances should you stop or reduce a prescribed medication on your own.
hiccups due to disorders of the diaphragm and the digestive system
With chronic hiccups, the possible causes are very diverse. There may be a problem with the diaphragm or in the digestive system. These include, for example, inflammation of the stomach, gastrointestinal inflammation, inflammation in the esophagus, inflammation of the throat and larynx, reflux disease (gastric contents always flow back into the esophagus) or a diaphragmatic rupture.
Chronic or recurring hiccups due to nerve disorders
Nerve diseases can also affect the phrenic nerve and thus trigger hiccups. Possible diseases are neuromyelitis optica (a rare autoimmune disease with inflammation in the spinal cord) or multiple sclerosis.
Chronic or recurring hiccups due to metabolic problems
With metabolic or hormonal imbalances, frequent or persistent hiccups can also occur. These include kidney disorders, calcium, sodium or potassium deficiency, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus (the “diabetes”) or diseases of the liver and biliary tract.
Chronic or recurring hiccups from brain disorders
When the brain is disturbed, the nerves are also affected, and possibly the phrenic nerve as well. Therefore, brain disorders can also cause hiccups (and many other symptoms). Possible triggers for long-lasting hiccups are meningitis, increased intracranial pressure (e.g. due to inflammation, bleeding or injury) or strokes.
Chronic hiccups after surgery – Scientific reason for hiccups
In many operations or examination methods such as gastroscopy, a tube has to be passed through the mouth into the larynx in order to secure breathing or (for example, in the case of gastroscopy) to insert a probe. In rare cases, such an intervention can irritate the phrenic nerve and cause acute or, in the worst case, chronic hiccups.
Hiccups with no apparent cause
If hiccups occur again or if they persist for a long time, a doctor examines all possible causes to rule out serious illnesses or to be able to treat them in case of doubt. In most cases, however, there is no dangerous illness, very often no cause can be identified. So you don’t need to worry unnecessarily, especially if your hiccups occur without any other symptoms. All of the diseases mentioned are usually accompanied by strong symptoms, hiccups are more of a side effect.
By the way: superstition also knows an alleged reason for hiccups. It is meant to mean that someone is thinking of you at that moment. Who could that be?
14 helpful measures against hiccups
With acute hiccups there are plenty of home remedies to help get rid of it. Many of them actually work, at least for some people. Not every remedy helps everyone equally, so try out what works well for you. Here are the 14 best tips to get rid of hiccups quickly:
Let yourself be scared
When we startle, we suddenly suck in the air or hold our breath. Both can be enough to stop the swallowing sensation. At the same time, we are distracted by the fright, and that also helps against the hoax. However, it is not that easy to be frightened. That doesn’t work on its own, but even when instructed (“Go, scare me!”), Scaring hardly works. If you have frequent hiccups, you can agree with a family member that they may scare you. Then hopefully it will come as a surprise at the right moment.
Think of something funny
When laughing, the diaphragm becomes tense and we automatically breathe deeper. This allows the diaphragm to relax. So try to think of something funny and make yourself laugh. Of course, friends and family members can also help you here. One possibility is humor about the situation: if you can laugh heartily at yourself and your hicksen, you will probably be rid of the hiccups quickly.
Drink ice cold water (Scientific reason for hiccups)
Very cold water can irritate the phrenic nerve and stop the hiccups. Drink a glass of ice-cold water in small, quick sips. But you don’t have to overdo it with this tip: if it didn’t work the first time, it is unnecessary to drink a second or third glass. Then try one of the other tips.
Squeeze the chest ( 11 Scientific reason for hiccup)
By leaning forward while sitting or lying down and pulling your knees towards your chest, you squeeze your chest a little bit. That may be enough to end the hiccups. Experiment with different postures and find out which one works best for you.
Hold your breath
Breathing can calm down when you hold your breath. But don’t give up too soon: it should be 20 to 30 seconds for an effect to start.
Pull your tongue
It may sound strange and look a little strange, but it can work on hiccups: gently pull your tongue. A handkerchief between your fingers and tongue helps keep it from slipping away.
The better you distract yourself from hiccups, the easier your diaphragm and breathing can relax. Therefore, try to think as little as possible about the hicksen and concentrate on something else. Often helps, but it’s not that easy .
Swallow under difficult conditions
Swallow under difficult conditions – for example when drinking
Difficulty swallowing can make the hiccups go away. For that there are different possibilities:
- Take a large sip of water in your mouth, lower your chin firmly onto your chest and swallow the water in small portions.
- Drink a glass of water while standing on your head. (Maybe the challenge distracts you enough or makes you laugh so much that the hiccups disappear.)
- Hold your breath and then swallow several times without having anything in your mouth.
Squeeze your eyelids gently (11 Scientific reason for hiccup)
With light pressure on the eyelids, you may be able to reach the phrenic nerve and stop the hiccups. Close your eyes and gently massage your eyes through the closed lids. Be really careful, the eyes are sensitive.
Put your fingers in your ears
There are also nerves in the ears that can stop the hiccups. Carefully stick your index fingers in your ears and move them slightly back and forth. Be very gentle here too, so that you don’t scratch your ears or even damage your eardrum.
Breathe in a paper bag
Hold a paper bag (not a plastic bag!) In front of your mouth and nose and breathe in. This increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the air you breathe, which can drive out the hiccups.
Provide back pressure -11 Scientific reason for hiccups
You can deal with hiccups in the same way as with pressure equalization: Cover your ears with your thumbs while your little fingers close your nose. Now inflate your cheeks with your lips closed until you feel a slight pressure balance in your ears. With a little luck, your hiccups are now gone.
Niese ( Scientific reason for hiccups)
When sneezing, the respiratory organs and diaphragm are very heavily involved. This is why sneezing can make the hiccup go away. You can trigger the sneezing sensation, for example, by carefully smelling pepper.
Have patience ( 11 Scientific reason for hiccups)
The tricks don’t all help? Then only one thing helps: wait and see. In most cases, the hiccups will go away after a few minutes.
However, you should go to the doctor if
- your hiccups last longer than 24 hours
- with dizziness, headache, cramps, paralysis or other strong symptoms (in such a case you should immediately consult a doctor or call the emergency services, it could be a stroke or heart attack).
But don’t worry: even long-lasting hiccups are harmless in most cases.
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