What's the cause of hiccups?

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Lisa!
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Main Question or Discussion Point

What's the cause?
 

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Ouabache
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A good place to find out is with a web search using the key words: hiccup (or hiccough) & cause.
(sidenote: a hiccup can result in your face doing this :surprised)
 
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Lisa!
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I did it but I didn't find any particular reason for that. I already knew what I found!
 
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Ouabache
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I don't know that much about hiccups. I seem to recall I may get them if I eat or drink too fast. What do you already know about their cause?
 
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JamesU
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s it hiccup or hiccough?
 
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Ouabache
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yomamma said:
(I)s it hiccup or hiccough?
They're synonyms..
 
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selfAdjoint
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Both spellings are in use. Hiccough is older, I believe, but is pronounced the same as hiccup.
 
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arildno
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Lisa! said:
What's the cause?
Depends who you ask.
The most entertaining answer will probably come from a psychanalyst.
 
  • #9
Lisa!
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Ouabache said:
I don't know that much about hiccups. I seem to recall I may get them if I eat or drink too fast. What do you already know about their cause?
http://vava.essortment.com/hiccupyawncaus_rqxr.htm [Broken] And I think crying alot could be a cause as well.But in my case these aren't the cause sometimes! :eek:
 
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Ouabache
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Ahhh, I am glad you elaborated, initially I was thinking you wondered what was the biological cause (mechanism) of hiccups.. But it seems you were wondering about external factors. Your http://vava.essortment.com/hiccupyawncaus_rqxr.htm [Broken] mentions a few of these: "eating too fast, indigestion and laughing a lot, thereby inhaling and exhaling air erratically."

Another reference is more hesitant to call them causes:

Many conditions are associated with hiccups, but none has been shown to be the cause of hiccups.

* If you eat too fast, you can swallow air along with your food and end up with a case of the hiccups.

* Any other practices that might irritate the diaphragm such as eating too much (especially fatty foods) or drinking too much (drunk people hiccup) can make you prone to having hiccups.

* In these instances, your stomach, which sits on top of the diaphragm, is distended or stretched. Because they occur in relation to eating and drinking, hiccups are sometimes thought to be a reflex to protect you from choking.
The 2nd and 3rd items reminds me, if I eat a large spoonful of peanut butter (high in oil), it invariably causes erratic hiccups. This one is a reflex to protect from choking. Washing down with some beverage alleviates that kind of hiccup.

For the run of the mill repetitive hiccups; when I was little to stop them, I would hold my breath and count to 20. But sometimes I would hiccup while counting (epiglottis opens involuntarily) :surprised and I would have to start over. Today I use a variation of that method which works nicely. Very slowly drink a full glass of water without taking a breath. When we drink (or eat) the http://www.innerbody.com/text/dige02.html [Broken] stays closed as a protective mechanism to keep food and beverages out of our respiratory tract. This makes it much easier to hold your breath and stop the hiccups.
 
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Lisa!
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Ouabache said:
Ahhh, I am glad you elaborated, initially I was thinking you wondered what was the biological cause (mechanism) of hiccups.. But it seems you were wondering about external factors. Your http://vava.essortment.com/hiccupyawncaus_rqxr.htm [Broken] mentions a few of these: "eating too fast, indigestion and laughing a lot, thereby inhaling and exhaling air erratically."

Another reference is more hesitant to call them causes:


The 2nd and 3rd items reminds me, if I eat a large spoonful of peanut butter (high in oil), it invariably causes erratic hiccups. This one is a reflex to protect from choking. Washing down with some beverage alleviates that kind of hiccup.
Interesting! :smile:

For the run of the mill repetitive hiccups; when I was little to stop them, I would hold my breath and count to 20. But sometimes I would hiccup while counting (epiglottis opens involuntarily) :surprised and I would have to start over. Today I use a variation of that method which works nicely. Very slowly drink a full glass of water without taking a breath. When we drink (or eat) the http://www.innerbody.com/text/dige02.html [Broken] stays closed as a protective mechanism to keep food and beverages out of our respiratory tract. This makes it much easier to hold your breath and stop the hiccups.
Oh yeah, I use this method too. But there are other methods as well. If someone frighten you suddenly(not so badly that causes a worse problem for you), tell you something surprising/alittle shocking or stuff like that, it work very well too. Sometimes I even know that the person is going to surprise me in order to stop the hiccups but it still works! For example once I wanted to go out at 7 and I knew I wasn't late, but my MOm told me "Don't you want to go? It's 7." :eek:
 
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  • #12
Ouabache
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Lisa! said:
But there are other methods as well. If someone frighten you suddenly(not so badly that causes a worse problem for you), tell you something surprising/alittle shocking or stuff like that, it work very well too. Sometimes I even know that the person is going to surprise me in order to stop the hiccups but it still works! For example once I wanted to go out at 7 and I knew I wasn't late, but my MOm told me "Don't you want to go? It's 7." :eek:
That is interesting.. I do remember hearing about that too. It seems the emotion of surprise does put an end to hiccups by way of the vagus nerve. When you overwhelm this nerve, we stop hiccupping. Here is a ref1 that describe it and a few more remedies.

So what is the vagus nerve? Why does it stop hiccups?
Here's one definition of its function: "The vagus nerves control the esophageal motor responses to deglutition"ref2 Hmmmm??? :bugeye:

I think I like the explanation on howstuffworks (ref1) better "The vagus nerve signals the brain that more important matters have arisen, so it's time to knock off the hiccups. " :biggrin:
 

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