Diseases & Conditions


HiccupsCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatment

What is Hiccups?

Hiccups (or hiccough) can be defined as the sudden, involuntary diaphragm muscle contractions. Nerves irritation that extends from your neck to the portion of chest can lead to hiccups.

Causes of Hiccups

Lots of conditions are linked up with hiccups, but up till now nothing concrete has come up in medical terms. If you have a habit of eating quickly, there is a good chance of you swallowing air along with your food. This is the main reason responsible for hiccups. There are other routines as well that might irritate the diaphragm like eating plenty of fatty foods or drinking too much make you more susceptible to hiccups. When this is the case, you will find that your stomach gets stretched. As hiccough occur in relation to drinking and eating, it is sometimes categorized as reflex, protecting you from choking.

Medications for Hiccups

Chlorpromazine is generally the first prescription medication that is going to be suggested by your health care provider. In addition, drugs like baclofen and phenytoin can also be quite effective in the treatment of hiccups.

Prevention of Hiccups

To reduce the hiccups frequency, make sure that you do not eat large meals. Further, stay away from drinking alcohol. Sudden modification in temperature can also cause hiccups, be careful in this regard.

Risk factors of Hiccups

According to recent research, men are more susceptible to long-term hiccups in comparison to women. Number of factors related to surgical routines may enhance the risk of developing hiccups. It includes general anesthesia, intubation, neck extension, organ manipulation and abdominal distension. Anxiety and stress are also been linked up with some hiccups cases. Prolonged hiccups may have an impact on your speech, eating and sleeping patterns.

Symptoms of Hiccups

Hiccups are basically brief, irritable diaphragm spasms that are there for only few seconds or minutes. Some of the common symptoms of hiccups are mentioned below:

  • Tightening in your chest
  • Tightening in your abdomen or throat

When to seek medical attention

You should take the help of your health care provider immediately if the hiccups become chronic and continuous, or if they has an impact on your sleeping or eating routines. Hiccups cases are not considered to be serious. However, if it lasts for more than two hours alongside severe abdominal pain, you will require an immediate medical attention. Diagnosis is implemented on the basis of physical evaluation.

Laboratory testing is not required unless your hiccough are a sign of other condition. Your blood samples are going to be taken for signs of kidney disease and diabetes. Imaging tests are also being implemented on some individuals. With imaging tests, there is going to be a detection of anatomical abnormalities that are having an impact on your vagus nerve.

Treatment for Hiccups

There are lots of home remedies that you can use for hiccups. Most of them can turn out to be quite advantageous. For example, hiccups will stop when then there is a build up of carbon dioxide in the blood. And that is exactly going to happen when you hold your breath. Some of the common home remedies are mentioned below:

  • Hold your breath
  • Drink glass full of water very fast
  • Become frightened
  • Use of smelling salts can also give you temporary relief

Treatment for hiccough is dependent entirely on how complicated your condition is. Initially, your health care provider is not going to prescribe you any medication but if the problem persists, you may need to take few medications for a period of three to four weeks. If nothing clicks, your health care provider is only left with the option of a surgery. With this surgery, your health care provider will disable your phrenic nerve.