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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What the Heck are Hiccups?

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I just got the hiccups all of a sudden. They were very uncomfortable and I had to stop them. I tried holding my breath (which usually works) then breathing deeply, then breathing shallowly. Nothing was working. So I looked to the all mighty Google Search Engine to find the solution.

What are Hiccups?
For years very little was known about hiccups and even less was written about them. Today that's changed. We still don't know jack, but scientists have explained this to us at length.

Here's what we know. When you hiccup, your diaphragm and nearby muscles convulse, causing you to briefly gulp air. Within 35 milliseconds the glottis (the opening at the top of the air passage) slams shut, producing the characteristic "hic."

If you're able to stifle the hiccup right away, great. But if you hiccup more than seven times you'd better settle in for the long haul. Once in hiccup mode you typically will hiccup 63 times or more. Maybe a lot more. The hiccup record, last time I checked, was 57 years.
Hiccups are commonly caused by distention of the stomach, which you get if you eat too much, drink carbonated beverages, or swallow too much air.

Is There a Cure?

Home remedies are mostly based on the idea that you have to disrupt the hiccup cycle. These include holding your breath, induced sneezing, breathing into a bag, drinking water while covering your ears, pulling your tongue, pressing on the eyeballs, sudden fright, or--this is interesting--eating dry granulated sugar. Merely drinking water, if done soon enough, may work by washing down a glob of food in your throat that's pressing against a nerve.

If the preceding are unavailing, a doctor may try drugs such as chlorpromazine, tickling the pharynx with a catheter stuck through the nose, hypnosis, or acupuncture. Still no go? Time for stern measures. In 1833 it was recommended that you blister or burn the skin above the phrenic nerve on the neck and back. This has now been supplanted by a marginally more civilized procedure in which the nerve is sliced or crushed.


No one knows shit about hiccups.

A Miracle

It's a miracle! As I was writing this my hiccups stopped. Sweet.


How do you stop your hiccups?

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