What Causes Hiccups? What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Them?

Painful Hiccups

As more reader questions are pouring in, a lot of people are wondering about the cause of hiccups. This makes sense because it is a problem we all deal with, but it isn’t obvious when or why we get them.

While they are not dangerous or life-threatening in any way, hiccups can be really annoying.

What exactly are hiccups?

Hiccups are breaths of air that come out of the throat. They come from the diaphragm muscle, which lies below the lungs and helps us breathe. This muscle controls the intake and release of air. However, it can spasm and then create hiccups.

When a diaphragm spasms, the air that you breathe in and out deviates from what’s normal. As a result, the throat contracts.┬áSince the airway tightens when the air is trying to move, our bodies produce the “hic” sound during a hiccup.

This bodily function is often confused with gas like burping, but this air is technically coming from the body’s lung function, not the stomach.

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What causes hiccups?

There is no single cause of hiccups. A lot of medical information states that hiccups can happen randomly. However, they often happen based on irritation to the diaphragm.

For example, Medline Plus says that things like the list below can, but don’t always, cause hiccups:

  1. Eating too fast
  2. Overeating
  3. Eating spicy food
  4. Drinking beverages with bubbles like soda or seltzer
  5. Drinking alcohol
  6. Swallowing too much air
  7. Feeling excited

Chronic hiccups are rare but could signal larger problems. If you often cannot perform basic daily tasks based on your hiccuping, you should see a doctor about possible diaphragm or abdominal problems. Usually, though, these are just annoying muscle spasms that happen to everyone from time to time.

What is the best way to get rid of them?

Different people swear by different tricks. However, the key to stopping hiccups is to stop your diaphragm from spasming. This cannot always be done with quick fixes. Sometimes you might just have to wait for them to pass.

If you want to, try these natural remedies to see if they work for you:

  1. Drink water
  2. Hold your breath
  3. Do 1 & 2 at the same time
  4. Breath into a paper bag
  5. Acupuncture

Hopefully, now that you know what hiccups are and how to get rid of them, you can be relieved that they will pass and not damage your body in any way.