September 12th, 2023

The Mysterious World of Hiccups: What They Are and Common Misconceptions

Hiccups! We’ve all experienced them. Whether during a meal, a meeting, or those quiet moments before sleep, these sudden involuntary contractions can be amusing, annoying, or even embarrassing. But what exactly are hiccups, and why do they occur? Let’s delve into the fascinating world of hiccups and debunk some common misconceptions along the way.

What are Hiccups?

Hiccups are sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays a vital role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic “hic” sound.

Why Do We Get Hiccups?

The precise cause of hiccups remains a bit of a medical mystery, but several triggers are commonly recognized:

1. Stimulation or Irritation of the Phrenic Nerves or Diaphragm: Overeating, consuming carbonated beverages, or swallowing air can lead to hiccups.

2. Temperature Change: Consuming hot food followed by a cold drink can sometimes induce hiccups.

3. Excitement or Stress: Some people may get hiccups due to sudden excitement, stress, or anxiety.

4. Certain Medications: Steroids, anesthesia, or drugs that promote acid reflux can sometimes cause hiccups.

In most cases, hiccups are harmless and eventually go away. HiccAway can help get rid of them quickly, which is helpful if they are painful, uncomfortable, or if they cause vomiting.

Prolonged hiccups that last more than 48 hours could indicate an underlying health condition and warrant a visit to a doctor.

Common Misconceptions About Hiccups

1. “Hiccups are Caused by a Lack of Oxygen”: This is not strictly true. While taking a deep breath might sometimes help in stopping hiccups, they aren’t caused by a lack of oxygen.

2. “Holding Your Breath Stops Hiccups”: The idea behind this is that holding your breath increases the carbon dioxide level in your blood, which might help in stopping hiccups. However, this method doesn’t work for many people.

3. “Hiccups Only Happen After Eating”: While eating too quickly or consuming certain foods can be a trigger, hiccups can occur in various situations, including moments of stress or excitement.

4. “All Hiccup Remedies Work”: From swallowing a teaspoon of sugar to getting scared, numerous hiccup remedies are passed down through generations. However, what works for one person might not work for another, and there’s limited scientific evidence backing the efficacy of many of these home remedies. HiccAway was clinically proven to be 92% effective; much greater than the home remedies we grew up with.

5. “Hiccups are Always Harmless”: While this is mostly true, prolonged hiccups can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stroke, or even a brain injury.

Wrapping Up

Hiccups are a common, usually harmless bodily function that everyone experiences from time to time. While they can be a source of amusement or a minor inconvenience, understanding their cause and dispelling misconceptions can help us approach them with better knowledge and maybe a touch less annoyance. And of course, HiccAway is here to help. 

If you ever find yourself with a case of persistent hiccups lasting longer than 48 hours, remember to consult a medical professional.