We Hiccup

Why do we hiccup?

            Sometimes you begin to hiccup and they just do not seem to stop, no matter how much you try. At such times, your grandmother might tell you that someone is remembering you. Some people even say that the person who is hiccupping has secretly eaten something. All these sayings are mere myths. Hiccups are just reflex actions by which the body protects itself.
Movement in diaphragm when we hiccup
            Hiccups are short, sharp, and very sudden breaths of air which happen when our breathing muscles jerk, making us gasp. There is a diaphragm located between the chest and the stomach. While inhaling air this diaphragm does down presses the stomach due to which the lungs are filled with air; while exhaling air, when the diaphragm goes up, the air  comes out from the lungs. Thus the diaphragm goes up and down and the process of respiration continues incessantly without making any sound. The diaphragm functions like a piston.

            Sometimes, due to the formation of gas or increase of acidity in the stomach, the diaphragm gets irritated and as a result contracts suddenly. In such a situation, the air passing into the lungs experiences obstruction and makes a peculiar sound. This is known as a hiccup. It is simply a process by which the body tries to expel gas or undesirable food material out of the stomach so that respiration remains unobstructed. Shrinking of the diaphragm due to drinking or the growth of a tumor near it also causes hiccup. Hiccups can be cased by eating or drinking too much or too fast. It may also be an indication of material disorders and brain-stem disease.

            Hiccups usually last for a few minutes and disappear if nothing is done about them. The best way to stop a hiccup is to drink a glass of cold water because the cold water stops the irritation produced in the diaphragm and it resumes its normal movements. Holding breath for a while can also stop hiccups. Sometimes the hiccup stops when one sees something frightening. If the hiccup does not stop even after a long time, it is advisable to consult a physician. Generally, in such situation, doctors prescribe the inhaling of oxygen mixed with 5%- 10% carbon dioxide. Chlorpromazine also suppresses hiccup.

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