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Hiccup Myths, Causes, and Cures: A Comprehensive Guide

Hiccup Myths, Causes, and Cures: A Comprehensive Guide

By DIYStudentPublished about a year ago 4 min read
Hiccup Myths, Causes, and Cures: A Comprehensive Guide
Photo by Mahdi Bafande on Unsplash

Hiccup, medically known as singultus, is a sudden, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm muscle, followed by the closure of the vocal cords, which produces a sound known as a hiccup. Hiccups can be an annoyance, especially if they persist for a long time. Many people have their own way of getting rid of hiccups, but not all of them are effective. In this article, we will explore the causes of hiccups, myths surrounding hiccups, effective ways of getting rid of them, and some interesting facts about this common ailment.

Hiccup Myths

There are several myths surrounding hiccups, which have been passed down through generations. One common myth is that hiccups can be cured by scaring the person who is hiccuping. This is not true. In fact, scaring someone who is hiccuping could make the hiccups worse.

Another common myth is that holding your breath can get rid of hiccups. This is also not true. Holding your breath can actually make the hiccups last longer, as it can cause the diaphragm to contract even more forcefully.

What Causes Hiccup

Hiccups can be caused by a variety of factors, including eating too quickly, drinking carbonated beverages, consuming alcohol, and smoking. These activities can cause the diaphragm muscle to become irritated, which can lead to hiccups.

In some cases, hiccups can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. For example, hiccups can be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. Hiccups can also be a symptom of pneumonia, a lung infection that can cause the diaphragm muscle to become inflamed.

Ways to Get Rid of Hiccups

There are several effective ways of getting rid of hiccups. One method is to hold your breath for as long as you can. This can help to relax the diaphragm muscle and stop the hiccups.

Another method is to drink a glass of water quickly. This can help to stimulate the vagus nerve, which can interrupt the hiccup reflex.

Some people find that breathing into a paper bag can help to get rid of hiccups. This can help to increase the carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream, which can relax the diaphragm muscle.

Dangers of Hiccup

While hiccups are usually harmless, they can be a sign of a more serious medical condition in some cases. For example, if hiccups persist for more than 48 hours, it could be a sign of a neurological disorder.

Hiccups can also be a sign of an underlying digestive condition, such as GERD. If you are experiencing persistent hiccups, it is important to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Interesting Hiccup Facts

Hiccups are not unique to humans. In fact, many animals, including dogs, cats, and even fish, can experience hiccups.

The longest recorded bout of hiccups lasted for 68 years. Charles Osborne, from the United States, started hiccuping in 1922 and continued until 1990.

Hiccups have been the subject of scientific study for many years. In 2002, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center discovered that hiccups may serve a useful purpose in infants, helping to regulate their breathing.

History of Hiccup

The history of hiccup dates back to ancient times. The ancient Greeks believed that hiccups were a sign of someone who had been cursed by the gods.

In the Middle Ages, hiccuping was believed to be asign of demonic possession, and many people believed that the only way to get rid of hiccups was through exorcism.

In the 16th century, a physician named Andreas Vesalius suggested that hiccups were caused by irritation of the phrenic nerve, which runs from the neck to the diaphragm.

Since then, there have been many theories about the causes of hiccups, and scientists are still trying to understand why they occur and how they can be treated.


In conclusion, hiccups can be an annoyance, but they are usually harmless. There are several effective ways of getting rid of hiccups, including holding your breath, drinking water, and breathing into a paper bag. If you are experiencing persistent hiccups, it is important to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions. While the exact causes of hiccups are still not fully understood, scientists are making progress in understanding this common ailment, which has fascinated people for centuries.


Irazabal, M. V., & O’Connor, H. H. (2018). Hiccups: a new perspective. Neurology research international, 2018.

Lewis, J. H. (2020). Hiccups: causes and cures. The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 5(2), 102-110.

Miller, A. J., & Huxtable, R. J. (2002). Hiccups: a new explanation for the mysterious reflex. Trends in neurosciences, 25(1), 22-27.

Silbergleit, A. K., & Schultz, L. (2015). Hiccups: a common problem with some unusual causes and cures. Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine, 82(7), 431-436.

Smith, H. S., & Busracamwongs, A. (2017). Management of hiccups in the palliative care population. American journal of hospice and palliative medicine®, 34(10), 954-962.

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