Also called: Hiccough

A hiccup is an unintentional movement of the diaphragm, the muscle at the base of the lungs. It's followed by quick closing of the vocal cords, which produces the "hic" sound you make. There are a large number of causes, including large meals, alcohol, or hot and spicy foods. Hiccups may also start and stop for no obvious reason.

There is no sure way to stop hiccups. You can try

  • Breathing into a paper bag
  • Drinking or sipping a glass of cold water
  • Holding your breath

Hiccups aren't usually serious. Contact your health care provider if they last for more than a few days.

Symptoms of Hiccups

The following features are indicative of Hiccups:
  • tightening sensation in the chest
  • tightening sensation in the abdomen
  • tightening sensation in the throat

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Common Causes of Hiccups

The following are the most common causes of Hiccups:
  • drinking carbonated beverages
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • eating too much
  • excitement or emotional stress
  • sudden temperature changes
  • swallowing air with chewing gum

Risk Factors for Hiccups

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Hiccups:
  • mental or emotional issues
  • use of general anesthesia during surgery
  • abdominal organs surgery

Prevention of Hiccups

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Hiccups. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid carbonated beverages and gas-producing foods
  • eat smaller meals

Occurrence of Hiccups

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Hiccups cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Hiccups can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Hiccups can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Hiccups

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Hiccups:
  • Physical exam: To check balance and coordination, muscle strength and tone reflexes
  • Blood Test: To check for signs of diabetes, infection and kidney disease
  • Endoscopic tests: To check for problems in the windpipe

Doctor for Diagnosis of Hiccups

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Hiccups:
  • Otorhinolaryngologist

Complications of Hiccups if untreated

Yes, Hiccups causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Hiccups is left untreated:
  • interfere with eating
  • interfere with sleeping
  • interfere with speech
  • interfere with wound healing after surgery

Procedures for Treatment of Hiccups

The following procedures are used to treat Hiccups:
  • Surgical procedures: This surgery implants a battery-operated device to deliver mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve

Self-care for Hiccups

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Hiccups:
  • avoid carbonated beverages and gas-producing foods
  • eat smaller meals

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Hiccups

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Hiccups:
  • Acupuncture: Suppress the involuntary contraction

Time for Treatment of Hiccups

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Hiccups to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Within 1 week

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Hiccups.

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