Why do we get a hiccup??

Asked by  | 5th Apr, 2009, 01:03: PM

Expert Answer:

Hiccups are paroxysmal, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm that occur along with contractions of the larynx and closure of the glottis, arresting the inflow of air.

Hiccups are the result of an action the body takes to protect itself. Hiccups can start because hot food has irritated the phrenic nerve near the esophagus, or when gas in the stomach presses upward against the diaphragm. The diaphragm separates the chest from the stomach. The diaphragm tightens and pulls air into the lungs.

But air can't get through and we feel a "bump" at the moment the air is stopped. So hiccups are a reflex action of the body trying to get food or gas out of the stomach, thereby irritating the diaphragm. This in turn, affects the passage of air in and out of the lungs. We feel this as a "bump" and say we have the hiccups.

Answered by  | 5th Apr, 2009, 05:39: PM

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