Hiccups are a very common ailment that is characterized by the spasmodic contractions of the diaphragm, which can occur repeatedly on their own or due to other health issues. The condition cannot be cured completely but there are simple ways to reduce hiccups.
Hiccups can prove very embarrassing especially when they occur at an awkward moment or publicly.
They are also quite uncomfortable and irritating, which makes it necessary to figure out effective ways to get rid of them.
What are Hiccups?
Hiccups are sudden, irregular, and involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a thin muscle that separates your lungs from your stomach.
When you inhale, the diaphragm moves down and allows your lungs to expand. When you exhale, it moves back up and air – and any leftover stomach acid in your esophagus (swallowing tube) – is forced out.
Why Do We Get Hiccups?
Our diaphragms are controlled by the phrenic nerve, which is why we can get hiccups when it’s irritated or compressed, such as from drinking carbonated drinks too quickly.
Hiccups are thought to be a reflex action, which means they occur by themselves without any conscious thought from us. They might have an evolutionary or survival benefit because animals that can’t breathe properly can’t live for very long. Hiccups may give the diaphragm – and therefore lungs – a few seconds of rest before the next breath.
No one knows why hiccups happen or if there is a single, specific cause. Sometimes hiccups are brought on by excessive eating, drinking, smoking, acute anxiety, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux.
Other triggers may be exercising vigorously after eating, emotional stress, sudden excitement, laughing for an extended period, or even singing too much. Sometimes hiccups are caused by other underlying health conditions, such as lung cancer, epilepsy, or diabetes.
Hiccups may continue until your body finds a way to reset itself – and usually stop on its own within a few minutes.
How to Get Rid of the Hiccups Fast
There are many home remedies available for curing hiccups. One of the most common ways to get rid of hiccups is by taking a spoonful of sugar, which causes the body to produce more saliva in the stomach, triggering the muscles that are responsible for expelling it back up.
Drinking water quickly can also help cure hiccups due to its hydration properties. Drinking a glass of water upside down can make hiccups disappear within seconds.
Another common way to get rid of hiccups is by taking a full breath and holding it for as long as possible. It also helps if you try exhaling normally but do not inhale again until your lungs are empty, which helps the diaphragm reset itself.
Drinking one tablespoon of vinegar is also regarded as a very effective way to get rid of hiccups. One can also try drinking extremely cold water or hot water with lemon juice. Chewing on ice cubes has also been found helpful in stopping hiccups.
It is best to consult a doctor if hiccups last for a long time or are caused by underlying problems. The condition can be dangerous in certain cases due to the possibility of suffocation.
What Causes Hiccups in Pets
Here are some common causes of hiccups in pets:
Anesthesia: It’s normal for animals to have hiccups after surgery because it may take them some time to recover from the anesthesia. Just give them some time and space to get back to themselves – and be sure to check with your vet if your animal is acting abnormally after surgery.
Overeating: Animals have been known to overeat, just like humans sometimes do! A big meal may cause an animal to feel bloated and uncomfortable, which can lead to hiccups.
If this is the case, make sure you’re monitoring how much your dog or cat eats each day. In general, dogs need about 25-30 calories per pound each day, and cats need around 20 calories per pound each day.
Other common causes of hiccups in pets include eating too fast, drinking carbonated drinks, stress, excitement, and temperature changes.
While hiccups usually aren’t anything to worry about, they can cause mild discomfort for pets and potentially make it more difficult to eat or drink. The good news is that there are several things you can try to help get rid of hiccups in both cats and dogs.
How to Stop Hiccups in Dogs and Cats
Hiccups are a common problem in dogs and cats. The cause of hiccups can be sudden excitement, eating too much too fast, drinking too much milk, and even stress. Hiccups in animals can cause distress to the pet and the owner.
There are several ways to help your dog or cat get rid of their hiccups:
- Have them eat a teaspoon of peanut butter, or feed them a couple of treats like cheese or hotdogs. The act of chewing will stop the spasms that cause hiccups.
- Let them smell an orange peel. The strong citrus scent may relax their diaphragm muscle and end the hiccup.
- Try having them drink water from a different shaped bowl or cup. If there is an air bubble trapped, this may dislodge it.
If they don’t go away in a few minutes, we recommend you call your veterinarian.