(WHTM) – Picture this: you are sitting at home, maybe watching a TV show or a movie after a long day at work. You have some chips and maybe a can of sparkling water or soda. Then, all of a sudden, and out of nowhere, you get hiccups.
Hiccups, according to MedlinePlus, are involuntary movements of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle at the base of your lungs and is the main muscle that is used for breathing. This is what is affected when people say they “got the wind knocked out of them.”
It’s not really air being knocked out, it is your diaphragm that seizes up after you get hit.
Hiccups happen in two parts. The first part is when the diaphragm muscle contracts and the second part of a hiccup occur when the vocal cords quickly close. That is what is responsible for the “hic” sound that happens when you get the hiccups.
The causes of hiccups can vary from person to person. It can be caused by eating too quickly or too much, drinking carbonated drinks, or too much alcohol. Certain medicines and even too much excitement can cause them.
Hiccups usually go away on their own, according to MedlinePlus. But in some cases, people have chronic hiccups. This is when hiccups can last a few days or, in very rare cases, even months. Hiccups can also signal an underlying condition if they do not go away on their own.
Hiccups usually go away after a few minutes. The bad news is that there is no certain way to stop hiccups, However, there are some home remedies that Mayo Clinic suggests, but they have not been proven to work. These include:
- Breathe into a paper bag
- Gargle with ice water
- Hold your breath
- Sip cold water
Mayo Clinic states that if you have chronic hiccups, lifestyle changes such as diet changes or smaller portion sizes.
Hiccups are a pain, but if they happen more frequently or don’t go away after a while, Mayo Clinic suggests that you should talk to your doctor.