Why Do We Hiccup And How Can You Stop Them?

holding breath

These bad boys can be extremely annoying and come on at some very inconvenient times, but what exactly triggers them?

Hiccups are an involuntary activity of the diaphragm. The muscles used when you breath are the intercostal muscles located in the spaces between the ribs. Two things occur in rapid succession: first there is a quick and involuntary inhalation of air and second as the muscle contracts, the glottis (space between your vocal cords at the top of the larynx) quickly slams shuts which is what makes the “hic” sound.

Science doesn’t even know what the purpose is and there is no obvious function. This isn’t to say there is no definite function, but more so to say it hasn’t been discovered yet if there is one. Perhaps it is a remnant of some evolutionary function that is no longer needed in humans but still lingers. Maybe it is something that we need for development in our bodies when we’re young (fetuses hiccup in the womb after the 8th week from conception) but isn’t necessary later in life as we get older. Children tend to hiccup more often and in fact the chances to trigger this phenomenon declines with age.

One thing is that it is actually possible to hiccup for longer than most of us think. Imagine hiccuping for an entire day non stop? What about a week or even a month?! I remember a while ago when watching TV, there was a show talking about a man who’s be hiccuping for 68 YEARS straight. This poor man apparently hiccuped around 40 times a minute. Now that is tough.

So what on earth actually causes this series of actions to occur? There are a number of theories on why we hiccup with a few of the leading ideas listed below.

Drinking or eating too fast

This is probably the most common trigger. You are so pumped to gulp down that tasty beverage or food you’ve been thinking about all day that you can’t help but chug the sustenance as if there would be nothing left on earth in 10 seconds. You can also swallow air in addition to the intended “payload” to be delivered into the put of your belly. The stomach becomes distended and irritated. The diaphragm ends up contracting like it does when breathing.

Drinking or eating too much

This is especially true with fatty foods or of course drinking alcohol because you feel the need to consume ridiculous amounts proving to everyone how “awesome” you are. Same as above this is an action that can irritate the diaphragm.

Disturbance to the nerve pathways from the brain

Sometimes hiccups can be brought on by temperature changes or emotional situations. On the other hand this is also the reason why an abrupt shock can sometimes “cure” the attack.

A sign of disease or illness

Normally hiccups are just minor annoyances but persistent hiccups can be a sign of disease. Sources suggest that they can be brought on by many ailments including: brain trauma,  spinal cord integrity, infections, lesions, central nervous system conditions, metabolic disorders, peptic ulcers and even anesthesia.

cover mouth guy

So how can I get rid of these buggers once I start hiccuping?

  • Hold your breath (This is the one I use and it almost always works)
  • Breathing into a paper bag
  • Drink a glass of water quickly
  • Get scared or surprised abruptly

Some odd potential cures I’ve heard but have no idea on the validity of them:

  • Swallow a teaspoon of sugar
  • Sip on some lemon juice
  • Put your fingers in your ears to block the canals
  • Use smelling salts
  • Pull hard on your tongue

Conclusion

Even though you might be excited for that special drink or that meal you’ve been craving, take some time and eat slow! Also don’t overload yourself just because it tastes awesome. Try and do your best to drink in moderation.

Chances are those pesky hiccups are in fact going to show up from time to time and you can’t really avoid it until it’s too late but when they do my top 3 suggestions would be to hold your breath, drink a glass of water fast or if you happen to have one laying around you: breathe into a paper bag. If you’re like me you might not think much of the evil hiccups, but when they kick in it’s usually at the most inopportune time and you’re frantically trying to get rid of them!

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Don’t Use Q-Tips To Clean Your Ears, How Else?!

qtips pigtails

I’m sure we’ve all been told not to use Q-Tips or at least not to put them far into our ears but how else are we supposed to clean them?!

Ears are naturally developed to be protective and self-cleaning. The wax (cerumen) coats the ear canal and serves to repel water and help protect it against infection or injury. It also aids in keeping the skin inside the ears from drying out or getting itchy in addition to trapping dust, germs and other unwanted things from reaching into the depths of our ears.

In truth we should probably just leave our ears alone and let nature take it’s course. Maybe this would be okay for me if I wasn’t introduced to q-tips and what seemed like their ONLY function was. I mean when someone asks you what you’re supposed to do with a q-tip what do you think of? Maybe it’s cleaning your computer keyboard or using them as makeup brushes because that’s exactly what’s on the back of some of the boxes. Or maybe you’re like me and thought it’s sole purpose is for ear digging!

Now I’ve been scolded and told all the same by my mother while growing up and my girlfriend too, but let’s be honest: How can something that works and feels so good be so wrong?! Well it’s about the potential damage to your eardrum in addition to accidentally pushing wax further into your ear. If wax went too far down you’d have to get it removed by a professional and it might not be the most comfortable thing to do.

Regardless of it feeling good using cotton swabs, it is in fact dangerous and even Q-Tips themselves say not to use them in your ear canal. It’s all about being careful because the last thing you want to do is damage the lining or eardrum by accident. Even washing the outside of your ears is supposed to be avoided. If you must clean them, either use a soft washcloth with a tiny bit of soap or even use Ear candles.  Make sure to dry the ears well as not to get them infected and attract the well known “swimmers ear” especially if you are in the water a lot.

You can check out the following to learn about hearing protection for musicians.

qtips box

Personally I can’t help but carefully use the standard q-tips for my ears, but for those more adventurous and wanting a “safer” way to clean your ears, read on. I did some research on some alternatives and although it seems a bit silly, it would in fact do the trick.

Create A Wax Softening Solution

You can buy a carbamide peroxide cleaning solution from the local pharmacy or you can always make your own.

Combine warm water with one of the following:

  • A teaspoon or two of 3-4% hydrogen peroxide solution
  • A teaspoon or two of mineral oil
  • A teaspoon or two of glycerin

Lie on your side if possible so the ear is completely vertical and put in the solution with an applicator if possible or a small bowl. (Peroxide may cause popping or bubbling sounds so don’t be alarmed, this is normal)

Wait 5-10 minutes or if using peroxide, until the bubbling stops.

Take out the solution and use a rubber bulb syringe with lukewarm water to flush out the wax.

Pull on the ear lobe up and down to open the canal to release the last bit of wax.

You can repeat this process for a few days if necessary but shouldn’t do it more often than this.

ear doctor

See A Specialist

If you’re serious about cleaning your ears safely and are not interested whatsoever in using the home remedy route, then you should consult your doctor or get a professional to take care of it for you. These days, they have all kinds of tech that help the process along, for example the tria hair removal laser 4x will take care of anything you throw at it. In addition to the access to high tech solutions, if you suffer from repeat problems, hearing loss or blockage you should seek help from a doctor.

When it’s all said and done, the point is to be careful and avoid causing any harm to your ear canal. The last thing you want to do is permanently damage your ears or have a hard time listening to words, sounds and music!

Do you use Q-Tips in your ears?

There is a number of procedures that should be done by professionals. Laser hair removal procedure is among them. Check out https://touchuplaser.com/what-to-expect-from-your-laser-hair-removal-session-with-touch-up-laser/ to learn more about it and to understand what you can get as a result.

Hope you liked this post! Please feel free to like, share, tweet and comment. If you want to discuss your favorite interests and make money while doing it then click here.

I write about anything and everything that crosses my path and end up making money from it. Check out this video to find out how. Click here to watch the video.

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