Ever tried to scare the hiccups out of someone?

If we can’t scare them out of you, don’t sweat it, there are other remedies we can try. But first, we want to know why! Why are you hiccuping? What are hiccups? What causes them? And what cures them?

If you’re experiencing a bad case of hiccups, it could be for a number of reasons. Maybe you just ate a big meal. Did you eat too quickly?

Was the food spicy? Did you have a drink with your meal? Followed by a smoke? Are you feeling stressed, nervous, or excited? Anything from your food to your mood can cause hiccups.

It’s not clear why we get hiccups, and it wouldn’t seem that important anyway, since most cases only last a few minutes. While we often see hiccups as a funny little nuisance, they can also warn of something serious going on in your body.

Inhale, exhale. We take about 23,000 breaths a day. But we don’t really pay attention to our breathing… unless there’s something wrong. When you breathe normally, the diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle at the base of your lungs, contracts.

It pulls down to fill the lungs with air, and then it relaxes to let the air out. With such an important role to play in our survival, perhaps it’s no surprise that the diaphragm is a prima donna.

Sometimes it’s the small things, like chewing gum, that can irritate your diaphragm and throw your breathing out of sync. You take a sudden gulp of air, your diaphragm contracts to expel what you just breathed in. On its way out, that air is trapped by the untimely closure of your vocal cords.

The connection between eating, carbonated drinks, smoking and hiccups now makes a little more sense. These are all stimuli that tend to stretch the stomach, commonly resulting in hiccups.

But extreme emotions are another likely cause. Crying, laughing, excitement, stress and anxiety can make you hyperventilate, disrupting the normal rhythm of in and out.

Some get it worse than others. In the span of a minute, people have been known to hiccup as many as 60 times!
While most bouts only last a few minutes, a serious case can last for several hours, and even days.

If you’ve been hiccupping for 48 hours straight, it’s time to call a doctor. Persistent hiccups can be a symptom of something serious, such as pancreatitis, pregnancy, liver cancer, meningitis, or hepatitis.

But before you scare yourself – which is one way to get rid of hiccups — here are a few other remedies you can try:
hold your breath, bite on a lemon, put some sugar under your tongue, swallow some vinegar, or rub your eyeballs.

If all else fails, try an exorcism.