Who doesn’t hate their sentences being rudely interrupted by the belch-like noises known as hiccups?
For many, these annoying little anomalies are a bane to mankind’s existence. A touch dramatic? Perhaps, but why do we hiccup in the first place?
What Causes Hiccups?
No one knows the real reason that the dreaded hiccups start, but we do know how it works.
The main culprit is the diaphragm, a large muscle that sits interior to the lower rib cage and is primarily responsible for breathing.
As the diaphragm spasms involuntarily, it causes a sudden intake of air. The glottis muscle in the windpipe opens and closes repeatedly, preventing the air from reaching the lungs and creating the distinct “hiccup” noise.
We know how it happens, but we still don’t know what physiological advantage, if any, it gives us.
Popular Theories Surrounding The Hiccups
Theories abound on why humans hiccup, but as of yet, there’s no clear-cut answer, only theories.
Evolutionists claim that the hiccups are a remnant of our evolutionary transition from water to land. From gill-based ventilation to lungs, scientists compare this evolution to a tadpole turning into a frog.
This theory gives the hiccup great significance by suggesting that it’s the only reason we were able to evolve from sea creatures to land dwellers.
Other scientists believe that the hiccup reflex gives babies an advantage when it comes to nursing, but as of yet, neither of these theories have been proven.
These People Had The Worst Hiccups Ever
If you regularly get bouts of hiccups, just remember that it could always be worse! For example, you could be like Charles Osborne.
Osborne developed a serious case of hiccups when a hog fell on him in 1922. He was unable to get rid of them for 68 years, and the Guinness Book of World Records gave him the world-title for hiccup longevity.
Then there’s Jennifer Mee, a 15-year-old girl that gained some fame in 2007 when she hiccuped roughly 50 times per minute for 5 straight weeks.
Fortunately, for most people the hiccups can be gotten rid of with a mouthful of peanut butter, being frightened, drinking lots of water, or holding their breath.
Hopefully, one day we’ll know for sure the real reason that we hiccup, and maybe we’ll finally be rid of them!