Remember what our grandmother told us when we got hiccups or hichki? The old belief that someone is missing or remembering us. Do you believe this? Let’s find out what is actually happening when we get hiccups.
The myths could be many, but here’s the scientific truth. When the muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen (called diaphragm) gets disturbed, it creates erratic noise that results in the hiccups.
This involuntary contraction of the diaphragm causes a direct and brief closure of the vocal cords, which produces the characteristic sound of a hiccup.
What actually causes the hiccup is difficult to say – in most instances, there is no obvious cause. Hiccups seem to be linked with a few different things: eating or drinking too swift; being anxious or thrilled; or having irritation in the abdomen and/or throat.
In some rare cases, the underlying cause of hiccups can be pleurisy pneumonia, certain disorders of the stomach or esophagus (food pipe), pancreatitis, alcoholism, or hepatitis.
Any one of these conditions can cause irritation of the diaphragm or of the phrenic nerves that supply the diaphragm.
Remedy for hiccups?
A simple home remedy is to take a spoonful of sugar or honey and then sip some water. This relaxes the tensed nerves. But if the hiccups are recurrent and last a long time, then consult a doctor.
But what to do when water or sugar is not available?
A simple way to get rid of hiccups is to inhale deeply & hold your breath for 30 seconds. While you do so, move your neck upwards towards the roof.
After 30 seconds, bring your head down and release air from mouth.
This trick comes useful when you are travelling and water is not at your disposal.
Do deep inhaling and exhaling a few times and check the status. Make sure your belly expands while you take in air.