You’ve tried everything- holding your breath, drinking a glass of water upside down and breathing into a paper bag. But nothing has relieved your annoying case of the hiccups. What about having someone scare you? Can you get rid of your hiccups by having someone startle you?
Hiccups are a bit of an enigma in the medical world. Though there are many theories, no one knows for certain why they occur, how to prevent them or why they stop. That makes treating them at home particularly difficult.
What are Hiccups?
We’ve all had hiccups. This common condition occurs when the diaphragm, a flexible muscle located just under the lungs, begins to contract uncontrollably. The distinctive sound of hiccups is caused by the sudden closure of vocal chords which quickly follow each muscle contraction. Almost all cases of hiccups will eventually stop on their own. However, there are certain home remedies, like having someone startle you, that many people believe help make hiccups go away faster. Although there has been no medical data proving that any of these home remedies actually cause hiccups to stop, proponents believe they work.
What Causes Hiccups?
No one is really sure what causes hiccups. Commonly held theories include eating too quickly, eating too much, too much alcohol consumption, drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, becoming suddenly surprised, excited or stressed, sudden temperature changes or swallowing air. Although to the sufferer hiccups seem to last a long time, typically they clear up in a few minutes. Long-term hiccups lasting longer than 48 hours are usually caused by an underlying medical condition such as nerve damage, central nervous system disorders and metabolic disorders. Drugs like barbiturates, steroids, anesthesia and tranquilizers can also bring on a bout of hiccups.
The Carbon Dioxide Cure
There are two home remedies that have shown promise as a cure for hiccups. The first cure involves building up carbon dioxide in the blood. Proponents of this home remedy hold their breath or breathe into a paper bag. Another home remedy that many swear by is stimulating the vagus nerve. This nerve runs from the brain to the stomach and can be stimulated by pulling on your tongue or drinking a glass of water quickly. It is difficult however, to distinguish whether or not the home remedy is responsible for curing the hiccups. They most likely would have gone away on their own.
Can You Get Rid of Your Hiccups by Having Someone Startle You?
The question of whether or not you can get rid of your hiccups by having someone startle you may prove subjective. Short-term hiccups normally go away on their own after a relatively short period of time regardless of any home remedies the sufferer may try. If you have someone startle you and your hiccups go away, was it the home remedy or simply the nature of the condition?