"Hic!" You've just hiccuped for what seems like the tenth time since you finished your big dinner. Wonder where these funny noises are coming from? The part to blame is your diaphragm (say: DIE-uh-fram). This is a dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of your chest, and all hiccups start here.
The diaphragm almost always works perfectly. When you inhale, it pulls down to help pull air into the lungs. When you exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and air flows out of the lungs back out through the nose and mouth.
But sometimes the diaphragm becomes irritated. When this happens, it pulls down in a jerky way, which makes you suck air into your throat suddenly. When the air rushing in hits your voice box, you're left with a big hiccup.
Some things that irritate the diaphragm are eating too quickly or too much, an irritation in the stomach or the throat, or feeling nervous or excited. Almost all cases of the hiccups last only a few minutes. Some cases of the hiccups can last for days or weeks, but this is very unusual and it's usually a sign of another medical problem.
You've probably heard lots of suggestions for how to get rid of hiccups, and maybe you've even tried a few. Holding your breath and counting to 10 is one way some people can get rid of their hiccups. Other people say that drinking from the "wrong" side of a glass of water is the way to become hiccup-free.
Putting sugar under your tongue might work, too. And maybe the most famous treatment — having someone jump out and scare you when you're not expecting it — helps some people wave goodbye to their hiccups. Boo!
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011
|BrainPop This is a great site for kids with informational movies about science, anatomy, weather, and more.|
|Discovery Kids.com Looking for ideas and experiments away from the computer? Check out this site, which also lets you share the results of your adventures with other kids online.|
|Why Do I Yawn? If you yawn in class, you'll probably notice a few other people will start yawning, too. Why is that?|
|What's Spit? Saliva, also known as spit, is a clear liquid that's made in your mouth 24 hours a day, every day. If you want to know more about spit and what it's made of, check out this article for kids.|
|What's a Fart? All people fart sometimes, whether they live in France, the Fiji islands, or Fresno, California! Learn more about what gives gas its sass in our article for kids about farts.|
|What's Sweat? Everybody sweats. Find out why perspiration happens in this article for kids.|
|What's Motion Sickness? Have you ever had motion sickness? Find out how to handle it in this article for kids.|
|What's a Booger? They're more than just gross. Boogers have a job to do. Find out what it is in this article for kids.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.