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syz's avatar

Why, why do I hiccup while sneezing?

Asked by syz (32700 points ) February 15th, 2013

I tend to have paroxysmal sneezing fits, and I will often hiccup concurrently. It hurts! What it is about my freaky physiology that causes this?

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4 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

Sneezing stimulates the vagus nerve (especially the rapid-fire kind of sneezing you’re doing, which creates drastic oscillations in chest pressure). The vagus nerve is instrumental in coordinating swallowing and breathing, so when it gets over-stimulated like that, the breathing/swallowing signals go haywire, and that fires up the hiccups.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@thorninmud That’s impressive.

ETpro's avatar

Hicneezing does hurt. I’ve had it happen. But the dreaded hiccup coupled with a big burp, The hicurp, is seriously painful and the pain of even one lingers. And the worst part is there’s no warning one is coming. If you knew, you could hold your breath to stop the hiccups, and see what belching feels like while holding your breath.

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