The diaphragm in the human body contracts in regular intervals. When the diaphragm contracts irregularly, the person gets the hiccups. What happens is that air abruptly rushes into the lungs, resulting in a sound much like “hic”, hence the name of the condition.
Doctors are not absolutely sure what causes the hiccups, although the condition has been associated with certain factors. For example, eating or swallowing too quickly may cause hiccups. Drinking too quickly or swallowing air have also been suspected of causing hiccups.
Whatever the real cause of hiccups may be, there are some home remedies that are effective against it. The most popular remedy is to hold your breath for at least five seconds. Repeat this several times until the hiccups go away. Additionally, you can also drink a full glass of water after holding your breath. This should cure the hiccups.
Smelling salts are also supposed to help cure the hiccups. Sniff smelling salts until they go away. Alternatively, if someone scares or surprises you, the hiccups can go away. Of course, you should not see the surprise coming otherwise, that would defeat the purpose. Magnesium tablets have also proved to regularize the contraction of the diaphragm. You may take two antacid tablets that contain magnesium.
Oftentimes, however, the hiccups go away on its own. You just have to bear with the inconvenience of hiccuping for a few minutes, although there are cases wherein it may last for more than an hour. In case the hiccups do not go away for more than three hours, though, you need to see a doctor.