Having hiccups can be quite funny when they occur for short periods of time, if they persist however, they become extremely annoying and disturbing. Hiccups are caused by the sudden and repeated spasms of the diaphragm, this muscular spasmodic action is involuntary and will go away within minutes by itself - they can persist in some cases, and some unlucky individuals have been known to be affected by a hiccup for hours on end.
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The sudden halting of breath causes the typical "hic" sound and this occurs when the diaphragm contracts and the throat closes abruptly - in general hiccups happen to everyone for many different reasons - spicy foods, alcohol and many other foods are known to trigger hiccups in people.
The underlying causes for hiccups, though it is obvious and well documented is still not well understood by scientists who have studied it. Though researchers know that hiccups are caused by an irritation in the nerves that lead up to the diaphragm - these set off involuntary spasms and muscular contractions in the diaphragm.
Some specific causative factors exist for triggering hiccups, thus it can be started by swallowing substances which are too hot or too cold at the time of eating, hiccups are also known to be triggered by eating too quickly - certain foods may also easily induce hiccups in the person eating them. Persistent hiccups can be caused by factors such as alcoholism, and the presence of various disorders in the lungs, in the liver, and organs like the pancreas and the stomach of affected individuals.
If you have been enduring hiccups for over three hours at a stretch, it is essential that you consult your doctor. You should also talk to your doctor if your hiccups do not stop even after you go to sleep and/ or if the hiccups are accompanied by a severe abdominal pain. If you spit blood with hiccups you ought to straight away go to the doctor for immediate medical help.
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This condition cannot be treated by consuming vitamin and mineral supplements, such supplements do not bring any remedial action to bear on hiccups, especially if it is persistent.
Hiccups can also be the result of an underlying nervous condition affecting the person; this can be helped by drinking calming herbal teas made from the lemon balm, the fennel, the valerian or from the passion flower. This herbal tea can be prepared by mixing a tsp. of these herbs and using a cup of boiling water to steep them for about ten minutes - the resulting liquid can be strained and this tea can be consumed on a regular basis to beat back hiccups.
As most of us are aware, black pepper results in sneezing that eventually stops hiccups. If you are enduring persistent hiccups take half a teaspoon of cardamom powder mixed in a cup of water and boil it till the mixtures becomes half. Subsequently, strain the mixture and drink it for relief from hiccups. In addition, mustard is also known to invigorate the nerves in the region of the throat.
If you wish to reduce the hiccups, leisurely gulp down a tablespoonful of mustard seeds mixed with ghee (clarified butter, especially in the South Asia region). Cinnamon too aids in stopping hiccups. In addition, severe hiccups may be cured by Mayurpichcha mashi (the ash of the scorched peacock feather) when taken along with honey and ginger. This mixture should be licked frequently - after every few minutes with a view to put an end to the hiccups over some time.
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Hiccups can best be suppressed by taking a deep breath and holding it for sometime. Alternately you can take a deep breath, hold it in and then drink a glass of water till the need to take the next breath comes. These actions can make you give out a belch and this will help relieve the persistent hiccups. The best method that works for certain people is the use of a paper bag, here the individual hold his or her breath for as long as possible or breathes very deeply into a paper bag which is held close to his or her mouth - this action succeeds in beating back the hiccup.
You may also get relief from hiccups if you place a tablespoon of sugar in your mouth and suck it gradually. It has been found to be a sure remedy in majority of the cases. In fact, it has been found to work effectively in a whopping 90 per cent of cases. In addition, you may also block both your ears and drink six ounces of water without breathing while drinking the water.
This method also proves to be effective in curing hiccups in about 90 per cent of cases. Another way to get relief from hiccups is to hold your breath for the maximum period possible and then let it out slowly. In this case, the lungs enlarge and subsequently press down on the diaphragm, which, in turn, stops hiccups instantly.
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Alternately, take a deep breath via your mouth, bend over and put pressure on your stomach. Remain in this position for as long as you are able to and subsequently gradually breathe out the air through your mouth. Other things that you may do to get relief from bothersome hiccups is to block your ears and nose and drink water simultaneously or laugh or sing as loudest as you are able to.
You may also prickle your uvula (a small piece of skin that dangles down deep within your mouth) with a covered straw. In addition, you may also pull your tongue out of the mouth till as far as possible and keep it in that position for a few seconds. Also engaging yourself in conversation with someone and not paying much attention to the hiccups may help to cure the condition. When you do this, the hiccup will stop within five minutes.
Plugging your ears with your fingers and drinking some liquid using a straw will also be helpful in alleviating hiccups. When you have persistent hiccups, try to lay on your back, as this will help to put an end to the problem. Some people enduring hiccups may also benefit by consuming a spoonful of peanut butter, which stops the hiccups instantaneously. This method may also prove to be effective for children.
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Consuming a mixture of two teaspoon of common salt in a cup of plain yogurt (curd) may also help in stopping hiccups. In majority of cases, this is an excellent remedy for hiccups. Alternately, boil half teaspoon of fresh cardamom powder in two cups of water until the mixture reduces to one cup. Subsequently, filter the solution and drink a full glass of the warm solution to get relief from hiccups. In case you are enduring recurring hiccups, suck little parts of fresh ginger. Doing this will stop the hiccups after some time.