Why we get Hiccups?


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We all are very much familiar with that Hic! sound which a person makes all of a sudden out of nowhere. Either you are working or traveling or sitting in front of your computer/mobile screen or doing anything, this unwanted sound strikes your chords all of a sudden. Unwanted? Yes, most of the time. It’s hilarious only until it’s for once or twice or just a few times. But it becomes irritating as you get more and more of them.

HICCUPS, as we all call them- a name based on the type of sound they make, are involuntary and so uncontrollable. I am sure you must have wondered all through your life that where does this sound-HIC! come from? What makes a hiccup sound so funny? What actually causes hiccups? How long can they stay? And how can you effectively cure or control them?

Some of the people may just find that persistent noise to be irritating but some of the people may also get a sort of pain in their belly area when they get a hiccup. So, your body doesn’t only make a sound HIC! but there is a lot more than that which happens inside your body.

Hiccups make your diaphragm contract and that contraction is of course involuntary. For those who don’t know about it, the diaphragm is a muscular partition (dome-shaped) that separates thorax (the area between your neck and abdomen) and abdomen. It has a role in our breathing process and gives effect to the contraction and inflation of our lungs. Though it works perfectly all the time there may be a situation when it too gets irritated and functions with few jerks. Sometimes when your diaphragm contracts it inflates lungs or fills them with air making your vocal cords close suddenly. Which further results in giving you “Hic” sound to your hiccup.


Now, when or how you may develop a situation in your inner body that leads to your hiccup? Scientists have formulated many theories to reason such a situation but still, hiccups are one of the mysterious body reactions. There are various things that can push your diaphragm to do so:

  1. You might have noticed that hiccups generally occur after you had your dinner or lunch or breakfast. When you eat or drink too much your stomach becomes bigger than its actual size. This increase in the size of the stomach is called distension. Since your stomach is just beneath your diaphragm, this distension may irritate your diaphragm, causing it to contract suddenly and it triggers hiccups.

2. Have you ever tried talking while eating or chewing? If not, then I warn you to not even think about it. You may land up in such hiccups trap that your diaphragm gets irritated to a great extent. What happens is when you talk while eating you may accidentally swallow air which makes your stomach increase its size and hence giving other invitations to your hiccups.

3. If you are the one who gets sour burps after having a glass of cola, then you might have also faced hiccups later. Why? Carbonated drinks fill up your tummy with gas and so the above-mentioned effect follows.

  1. Nerve stimulation of the esophagus (a muscular canal that connects your mouth to your stomach and helps in engulfing food or beverages) can also give a boost to your hiccups. And how does your esophagus gets stimulated? It is through the change in temperature that it feels. When you have something very hot/ very cold or spicy, the nerves of your esophagus gets irritated and causes the diaphragm to contract. And then a HIC sound. This goes not only when you engulf a cold/hot drink/food but also air.
  2. Sometimes your hiccups’ scene starts right after you finish crying. This is because emotions can cause a disturbance in the nerve path from the brain to the muscles near your ribs. Such emotional stress leads to hiccups.


Yeah, yeah I know, by now you must be feeling like you have enough of the causes and you now are looking for the ways to cure them effectively. Don’t worry, I got your curiosity covered by following tips:

(a.)  Holding breath for a few seconds (like 15 seconds) will cause your diaphragm to relax from the irritation and function normally. This will get you to relieve from hiccups.


(b.) You already must have promised yourself not to drink too hot or too cold so that your esophagus nerves don’t get irritated.

(c.) This is very strictly needed on this list. NOT TO TALK WHILE EATING. Reason?  Simply, to avoid the air from entering your tummy suddenly.

(d.) There are instances when your gastric problems give you one other reason to stress over the cure and that is hiccups. Gastric problems must be addressed as soon as possible to not further stress your diaphragm.

(e.) Do you too like sitting in a position while you are hugging your knees? Well, I do. What’s the point here? This position helps you remove that extra air from your stomach which earlier had caused hiccups.

(f.) Drink water. Yeah, it seems weird to hear that the thing that caused your hiccups to start how can that end it? But water can actually do the trick. Cool water relaxes your diaphragm and kills its irritation.


Although scientists can’t bet you on curing your hiccups through above-stated methods, chances are very high that you will land in a more relaxed condition than before. I know you are now excited to test these tips the next time you get hiccups. Good luck with that.

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