• Question: what is the scientific definition of hiccups and there cause?

    Asked by roflatop to Amy, Drew, Julia, Kimberley, Sara on 21 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Sara Imari Walker

      Sara Imari Walker answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      Hey roflatop! Hiccups are an involuntary contraction of our diaphragm muscle that repeats itself several times, lasting from seconds, to weeks in extreme cases. The diaphragm is the dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of our chests. It is really important for breathing – when we inhale, it pulls down to help pull air into the lungs. Conversely, when we exhale, it pushes up to help push air out of the lungs. Usually our diaphragms work just fine. But sometimes our diaphragms can get irritated and pull down in a jerky sort-of way. This makes us suck in air suddenly, when the air hits our voice box, we’re left with a hiccup. Irritation can be caused by excessive laughter, swallowing air, or eating too much. Usually the diaphragm can self-correct once we relax, but sometimes hiccups last much longer – record cases are on order of a few weeks! This crazy hiccuping spree is usually a sign of worse medical conditions though and is not the norm. I personally hate hiccups!!

    • Photo: Amy MacQueen

      Amy MacQueen answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi roflatop! Check out this website for all the hiccup facts you would like to ponder!!! 🙂