• Question: Why do we have hiccups?

    Asked by liamthorne to Cassie, Karen, Sofia, Tommy on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Cassandra Raby

      Cassandra Raby answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Hmm… interesting! I also hate getting hiccups as I make such an odd squeaky sound everytime… *embarrasing*

      So – the medical term for hiccups is: synchronous diaphragmatic flutter. But maybe we should stick to calling them hiccups.

      Hiccups happen when your diaphragm contracts as a reflex (i.e. your brain can’t really do much about it), which affects your lungs. It also makes your vocal cords contract, which is why I make silly noises!

      So there are a couple of theories as to why this should even happen.
      1) Maybe it’s part of our evolutionary heritage! Our ancestors were all amphibian-like and they gulp air across their gills. This uses a reflex – just like the reflex of hiccups… so is this just a left over bit of our ancestors!
      2) Maybe it’s part of our current reflexes for breathing whilst drinking milk, as hiccups are only found in mammals (milk drinking babies!). So when babies are drinking milk they can get bubbles in the tummy… and maybe hiccups are a way of getting it all out!

      So, I hope that helps! 🙂

    • Photo: Sofia Franco

      Sofia Franco answered on 22 Nov 2013:

      Cassies has done the hard job of answering this one 🙂 I don’t think I can do better, so I will just stick to a: Well done Cassie!