Learn About Hiccups

What is the definition of Hiccups?

A hiccup is an unintentional movement (spasm) of the diaphragm, the muscle at the base of the lungs. The spasm is followed by quick closing of the vocal cords. This closing of vocal chords produces a distinctive sound.

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What are the alternative names for Hiccups?


What is some background information about Hiccups?

Hiccups often start for no apparent reason. They most often disappear after a few minutes. In rare cases, hiccups can last for days, weeks, or months. Hiccups are common and normal in newborns and infants.

What are the causes of Hiccups?

Causes may include:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Disease or disorder that irritates the nerves that control the diaphragm (including pleurisy, pneumonia, or upper abdominal diseases)
  • Hot and spicy foods or liquids
  • Harmful fumes
  • Stroke or tumor affecting the brain

There is usually no specific cause for hiccups.

How do I perform a home exam for a Hiccups?

There is no sure way to stop hiccups, but there are a number of common suggestions that can be tried:

  • Breathe repeatedly into a paper bag.
  • Drink a glass of cold water.
  • Eat a teaspoon (4 grams) of sugar.
  • Hold your breath.
When should I contact a medical professional for Hiccups?

Contact your health care provider if hiccups go on for more than a few days.

What should I expect during a doctor appointment?

If you need to see your provider for hiccups, you will have a physical exam and be asked questions about the problem.

Questions may include:

  • Do you get hiccups easily?
  • How long has this episode of hiccups lasted?
  • Did you recently eat something hot or spicy?
  • Did you recently drink carbonated beverages?
  • Have you been exposed to any fumes?
  • What have you tried to relieve the hiccups?
  • What has been effective for you in the past?
  • How effective was the attempt?
  • Did the hiccups stop for a while and then restart?
  • Do you have other symptoms?

Additional tests are only done when a disease or disorder is suspected as the cause.

To treat hiccups that do not go away, the provider may perform gastric lavage or massage of the carotid sinus in the neck. DO NOT try carotid massage by yourself. This must be done by a provider.

If hiccups continue, medicines may help. Tube insertion into the stomach (nasogastric intubation) may also help.

In very rare cases, if medicines or other methods do not work, treatment such as phrenic nerve block may be tried. The phrenic nerve controls the diaphragm.

Who are the top Hiccups Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Institute Of Health Science

Changwon, KR 

Jung Kang is in Changwon, Republic of Korea. Kang is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Hiccups. They are also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Hiccups, Agranulocytosis, Febrile Neutropenia, and Acute Pain.

Highly rated in

University Of Auckland

Wellington, WGN, NZ 

Billie Bradford is in Wellington, New Zealand. Bradford is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Hiccups. They are also highly rated in 1 other condition, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Hiccups and Obesity.

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Highly rated in

Tohoku University Graduate School Of Medicine

Southern Tohoku General Hospital 
Koriyama, JP 

Kazuo Fujihara is in Koriyama, Japan. Fujihara is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Hiccups. He is also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Neuromyelitis Optica, Optic Neuritis, Transverse Myelitis, and Multiple Sclerosis.

What are the latest Hiccups Clinical Trials?
A Feasibility Double-Blinded, Randomized Study of Educational Materials for Hiccups
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What are the Latest Advances for Hiccups?
A Missed Case of Area Postrema Syndrome Presenting with Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder.
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Midazolam-Induced Hiccups Reversed by Flumazenil: A Case Report.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : January 16, 2021
Published By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

American Cancer Society website. Hiccups. www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/hiccups.html. Updated February 1, 2020. Accessed April 12, 2021.

National Institutes of Health, Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center website. Chronic hiccups. rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6657/chronic-hiccups. Updated February 1, 2021. Accessed April 12, 2021.

Petroianu GA. Hiccups. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2021. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:24-26.