Important Facts You Need To Know About Hiccups

Important Facts You Need To Know About Hiccups


Hiccups are short contractions of the diaphragm or large muscle dividing the chest from the abdomen, or simple its a sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle. These may result in crowing or gasping sounds.


hiccups, a woman drinking from a glass of water


Possible Causes of Hiccups

  • Eating and drinking too quickly.
  • Drink carbonated beverages or alcohol.
  • Eat too much.
  • Swallowing air
  • Some medications, noxious fumes, anxiety and stress
  • Hiccups may occur during pregnancy
  • Sometimes it is associated with some serious underlying conditions which include:
  1. Peritonitis
  2. Pleurisy
  3. Amebic infections.
  4. Pneumonia and drunkenness.
  5. Cancer and tumors.
  6. Disorders of the stomach or esophagus, including GERD (a gastrointestinal and abdominal disorder).
  7. Pancreatitis and bladder irritation.
  8. Hepatitis and liver cancer.


Avoid anything that will irritate the diaphragm such as eating too much or too fast (especially fatty foods) or drinking too much (alcohol or carbonated drinks) can make a person prone to having hiccups.


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You can try simple measures, such as:

  • Deep breathing
  • Drinking a glassful of water rapidly.
  • Holding the breath or breathing into a paper bag will help to build up the carbon dioxide in the body and this may relieve the hiccups.
  • Tickling the nose or throat is also beneficial.
  • Puling on the tongue.
  • Swallowing dry bread or crushed ice



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At times a mild sedative will relieve the condition.

In more serious uncontrollable hiccups, it may be necessary to consider surgery on one of the phrenic nerves, but this is the last resort when all else has failed.

You should see your doctor right away if the condition become chronic and persistent:

  • if its last more than 3 hours
  • finding it difficult to speak
  • When the hiccups obstruct your sleeping pattern
  • Eating food becomes difficult
  • Causes reflux of food or vomiting.


Specialists who may be involved in treating hiccups include an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat specialist, or ENT), a gastroenterologist (a specialist in the digestive tract), a neurologist (a specialist in the brain and nervous system), a pulmonologist (a lung specialist), or a psychologist.

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