Diaphragm plays an important role in breathing. But sometimes it can result in involuntary contractions which results in hiccups. Hiccups can be normal at times but it can be really annoying if it persists for long. It rarely persists for months, otherwise, it only lasts for a few minutes. Having large meals, alcohol or carbonated drinks or sudden excitement can result in hiccups.
The common reasons for hiccups can be:
- Drinking carbonated drinks
- Eating large meals
- Sudden temperature changes
- Feeling nervous or excited
- Swallowing air while eating
- Eating hot spicy foods
- Gas in the stomach
Severe cases of hiccups, though very rare, can include the following reasons:
- Nerve damage
- Sore throat
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- A tumour, cyst or goitre in the neck
In severe cases, some nervous system disorders can also lead to hiccups. These disorders include encephalitis, metabolic disorders like diabetes, etc. drugs like steroids can also contribute to excessive or prolonged hiccups. Prolonged hiccups can interfere in your sleep, eating, drinking and talking.
There are some home remedies available that might prove to cure temporary hiccups.
- Breathing into a paper is one of the cures. Breathing into a paper bag builds up carbon dioxide in the lungs, which relaxes the diaphragm.
- Holding the breath for a few minutes also does the same thing as breathing into a paper bag.
- Sipping in ice-cold water may also help sometime.
- Sitting down while hugging your knees close to your chest for some time can also reduce the hiccups.
- Other techniques which are said to help are- biting a lemon, rubbing your eyeballs, swallowing granulated sugar, putting pressure on your diaphragm.
These ways are just passed down through generations but they do not have any scientific proof with them. But trying these would not be harmful to the health.