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Why do people hiccup and how can they be stopped?

What makes people hiccup? I hiccupped the other day and couldn't stop for two hours.

4939 day(s) ago

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Hiccups are common to nearly everyone. It is rare that a person goes their entire life without having had at least one case of hiccups. Hiccups are caused by a disruption in normal breathing patterns. An onset of hiccups can be caused by many different stimuli, but some common causes are overeating, drinking alcohol, excitement, stress, or even sudden changes in temperature.

Symptoms of a hiccup are a spasm in the abdomen followed by a usually audible sound emitting from the mouth. What is happening is the diaphragm is contracting quickly and sharply. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity. It is the primary muscle used in breathing. When it contracts, it sends reverberations up the body and to the larynx, the voice box. A small flap of tissue on the voice box, called the epiglottis rapidly opens and closes, causing the sound of the hiccup.

Treatment for hiccups mostly consists of home remedies. Doctors may get involved in serious cases that do not let up in 24 hours. Home remedies are varied and everyone has a favorite they like to use. Most of the remedies deal with interrupting or controlling breathing in some way. Some people simply hold their breath for ten seconds and slowly let it out. Others sip slowly from a glass of water. More elaborate methods of curing hiccups involve combinations of speaking, drinking, dancing, or any other movement. Eating is also a common cure. Some people eat a spoon of sugar or honey to stop hiccups. Whichever method you choose is okay so long as it does not cause any other type of bodily harm. The cure should never be worse than the condition.

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