Hiccups are also known as Hiccough as they are derived from the medical term singultus. It means to catch one’s breath while sobbing. Hiccups are the result of an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm, and they may repeat themselves a few times per minute. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic hic sound. So, does anyone hold the world record for hiccups? Continue reading to find out!
1. How do Hiccups Start?
There can be a lot of reasons for hiccups to start, such as:
- When we eat quickly or too much, it can cause the diaphragm to spasm, resulting in hiccups.
- Excess of drinking soda, alcohol, chewing tobacco, or swallowing air while chewing.
- Factors like stress, sudden temperature change, nervousness, & excitement may also be the reasons for the same.
2. What are Short-term Hiccups?
Although hiccups can last for a few minutes or a few hours, the ones that occur for a short span of time are classified as short-term hiccups. These hiccups are basically because of certain temporary issues like stress, undefined eating, or sudden intake of liquids or food. (See How to treat a Bad Cough?)
3. What are Long-term Hiccups?
The hiccups which stick around for a longer period of time fall in the category of long-term hiccups. They can become a part of one’s daily life. The main reason may be underlying illness or internal disorders. The initial reason for them to start can be the unusual irritation in the diaphragm muscles. But they tend to stay longer when the nerves associated with the diaphragm get damaged. These nerves can be affected for various reasons, like when a hair touches the eardrum, a sore throat, and in more serious cases, a tumor, goiter, or cyst in the neck can damage them. (See What happens to the body in cold weather?)
4. What is the World Record for Hiccups?
As irritating and disturbing as these hiccups are, some people are accustomed to them. These people have persistent hiccups, which usually last for years, and sometimes, even continue until the day they die. One such person holds the longest hiccups Guinness World Record under the Longest Attack of Hiccups category. In 1922, Charles Osborne had a hiccup attack due to the stress exerted on his diaphragm muscles while he was slaughtering a hog. Regardless of trying out basically every remedy, his hiccups did not subside until 1990. His hiccups lasted for 68 years, during which he hiccupped approximately 430 times. Hence, the world record for hiccups was given to him. (See Who is the tallest person in the world?)
5. Which Disorders Trigger Hiccups?
Internal disorders can cause hiccups to last longer than expected.
- Cardiovascular disorders like kidney disease, heart attack, diabetes, can be the major reason for long-lasting hiccups.
- Gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcer diseases, gastritis, etc., are some of the other reasons for hiccups.
- If a person is suffering from certain central nervous system disorders like tumors, stroke, or meningitis, then they also have chances of a long-term hiccup issue.
- Thoracic disorders can also result in hiccups.
- Additionally, certain medications like anesthesia, tranquilizers, steroids, and such, can trigger it. (Also read What is a Hair Cowlick?)
6. How to Get Rid of Hiccups?
There are certain tips and tricks which a person can try to rid hiccups, but the results may vary. In all cases, the diaphragm relaxes due to the increase of carbon dioxide in the lungs. (See What Does It Mean When Your Blood Is Dark Red?)
- Since hiccups start because of the flex or irritation in the muscles of the diaphragm, gargling for one minute with ice-cold water may help relieve the muscles.
- You can also suck on a piece of ice to relieve yourself from hiccups.
- The most common trick, however, is holding your breath. While breathing in a paper bag can also serve the same purpose.
7. When Should you Consult a Doctor?
If the cycle of hiccups continues for two or more days, one should seek a doctor’s help. And consulting an otorhinolaryngologist may be of great help. Prolonged hiccups may create a world record for hiccups, but they can also interfere with eating, sleeping, speech, and even wound healing after surgery. So, get it checked if it’s becoming problematic.