Why do hiccups occur?

Almost everyone has experienced a hiccup. Various methods are believed to stop the hiccups. Popular ones are to hold your breath, to drink a glass of water from the wrong side, to inhale and to exhale the breath of a paper bag, to eat a spoonful of sugar, as well as to ask people to make you pleasantly surprised.

Hiccups are caused by involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. Normally, the phrenic nerve extending from the neck to the chest controls the contraction of both sides of the diaphragm regularly.

Hiccups can be started from the irritation that occurs along the phrenic nerve pathways. Reflex contraction of the diaphragm could also occur due to the irritation of the nerve.

Hiccups may occur when the stomach is stretched, usually after a large meal or excessive alcohol drinking. Usually, hiccups are harmless and will disappear after a while. Sometimes, hiccups persist for days, even weeks.

Of course, this will disturb your eating or sleeping.

If these prolonged hiccups appear after major surgery, this could hinder the healing of wounds in the abdomen. In some cases, persistent hiccups may be a sign of a serious disorder.

The various ways that're mentioned earlier don't always manage to overcome the hiccups. If you still hiccup, try to massage the back of the palate with a cotton bud that's slowly driven forwards and backwards for approximately one minute.

Although there's no guarantee this method works, there're times when this way can help.

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