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Those Embarrassing Bubbles: Hiccups

Those Embarrassing Bubbles: Hiccups



What are hiccups?
How do you get hiccups?
Can I prevent hiccups?
How do you treat hiccups?


What are hiccups?
Everyone gets hiccups. Even babies growing inside the uterus get hiccups. Hiccups happen when the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen (called the diaphragm) starts contracting for no special reason. With each spasm, the space at the upper end of your windpipe (the glottis) closes then opens again. That movement is what makes the embarrassing, cough-like sound. back to top

How do you get hiccups?
Anything that irritates the diaphragm can set off the contractions that cause hiccups. That includes an upset stomach or an irritation of the nerve that controls the diaphragm. However, no one really knows what causes most cases of hiccups. back to top

Can I prevent hiccups?
Sorry. Since we don't know what causes hiccups, we don't know how to prevent them. Maybe that's why so many people have tricks to cure hiccups. back to top

How do you treat hiccups?
Hiccups usually go away by themselves. There are many folk remedies that are supposed to cure hiccups. Some of these include holding your breath for a long time, drinking a glass of water upside down, eating sugar, and having someone scare you. Like most folk remedies, these tricks seem to work some of the time for some people.

Although it is very rare, there are cases of hiccups that will not go away without treatment. If your hiccups just won't quit, talk to a health professional. There are medications available to treat these unusual hiccups. back to top

 
 
 
Last Modified Date: 3/28/2001
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