Human Body

Blood and Circulation

What causes hiccups and how can they be cured?

Hiccupping is the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. When the diaphragm contracts, the vocal cords close quickly, causing the familiar noise associated with hiccups. Hiccups help the stomach get rid of a bit of gas, relieve the esophagus of an irritation, or resolve a temporary loss of coordination between the nerves controlling the movement of the diaphragm. A bout of hiccups can be brought on by eating or drinking too fast or fatigue or nervousness. Although hiccups generally go away on their own after a few minutes, several remedies have been recommended to cure one of hiccups: a loud distraction to scare the sufferer of hiccups, swallowing a spoonful of sugar, blowing into a paper bag, or holding one’s breath.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Science Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App