Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hiccups Explained, & Hopefully Cured

Good morning everyone, today I’ve got some interesting facts about hiccups. Hiccups are basically a reflex action. They are caused by irritation of the Vagus nerve (or its branches), which runs from your brain to your abdomen. It is believed that hiccups are usually brought on by common digestive disturbances. Although you probably cant remember, we’ve all been suffering from hiccups since infancy, and 3 to 5 times a year ever since.

We’ve all heard of old wives tales for getting rid of hiccups, which all work by stifling the Vagus nerves signals with more pressing matters, such as a big fright or the need to breathe. Anyway, I’ve dug out 13 tried and tested methods for stopping hiccups, so you’ll never have to look like a stereotypical drunk of a Disney Movie ever again.

Sweeten those hiccups out of existence- Forget Bouquets and Barry White, but it is possible to stop hiccups by overloading your taste buds. This is achieved by having a spoonful of sugar, which should ideally be placed at the back of your tongue, which is optimised for tasting sour things.

Don’t listen to them- Some doctors recommend putting your fingers in your ears (but not too far or you’ll damage them). This works because the Vagus nerve also reaches into the auditory system and poking your fingers around inside your head should stimulate it into action.

A good ol’ fashioned scare- This is a classic home remedy, find someone to give you a fright, which can overwhelm the Vagus nerve and scare away the hiccups.

A glass of water- another classic remedy, which works on the principle that swallowing water interrupts the hiccup cycle.

Yank your tongue- Apparently, sticking out your tongue and pulling on it will stop hiccups.

Tickling- either get someone to tickle you if you’re that way inclined, or tickle the roof of your mouth with a cotton bud.

Holding your breathe- this works, but remember to cover your nose and mouth. This stops the hiccup reflex by creating the more pressing condition of a build up of Carbon Dioxide in your bloodstream.

Breathe into a paper bag- works on the same principle as holding your breathe.

Antacid tablets- Magnesium based remedies tend to decrease irritation to the nerves, and should stop hiccups.

Take your time eating- When you scoff down your lunch it doesn’t get chewed properly, which causes air to get trapped between mouthfuls resulting in hiccups.

Don’t eat so much- Scientists believe that hiccups can occur when your body is trying to tell you not to eat any more until your stomach has digested its contents.

Chill out on spicy foods- some spices may irritate the oesophagus or cause a build up of excess stomach acid, causing hiccups.

Don’t drink like a maniac- alcoholic beverages stimulate the oesophagus and stomach causing hiccups. Being a big drinker for a long time will also damage the food pipe, making you more prone to hiccups. Downing pints, funnelling and other gluttonous party tricks cause hiccups by irritating the digestive system, and by causing the oesophagus to expand rapidly.

Well there’s some top tips about curing hiccups, so next time you stimulate your Vegus nerve try out some of these methods. I’m particularly curious about the yanking your tongue one. If anyone tries these methods out be sure to let the DWB know by posting a comment here, and maybe in a few weeks time we can put together a top five tried and tested remedies.

So until next time dear readers… Goodbye



Blogger DarkWood said...

Actually, I've had great luck using a variation on the glass of water. Hold a pencil in your teeth while your drinking the water. Not sure if the crosswise pencil allows for better Vagas stimulation or what, but I have had that work when just taking a big swallow of water wouldn't.


6:23 am  
Anonymous Killersquid87 said...

I had hiccups just now and I held my breath for a minute or so and it worked like a charm... didn't cover my nose or mouth either

9:59 pm  

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