What are Hiccups?


A hiccup is a sudden, involuntary contraction (spasm) of the diaphragm muscle. When themuscle spasms, the vocal cords snap shut, producing the hiccup sound. Hiccups are medically known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter or singultus (SDF).

What Causes Hiccups?

The most common triggers for hiccups that last less than 48 hours include:

  • Eating Quickly
  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating too much
  • Excitement or emotional stress
  • Sudden temperature changes
  • Swallowing air with chewing gum or sucking on candy

How Long do Hiccups Last?

Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours are called persistent hiccups. Hiccups that last longer than a month are called intractable hiccups. While very rare, intractable hiccups can cause exhaustion, lack of sleep, and weight loss. Both persistent and intractable hiccups may be a sign of a more serious health problem and must be checked by a doctor.

Treatment of Hiccups

Most cases of hiccups can be cured or resolve in a short time, and rarely are a medical emergency. doctor may rarelyprescribe medications such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), haloperidol (Haldol), and metoclopramide (Reglan) for severe, persistent hiccups. Hiccups can be prevented by avoiding overeating, eating too quickly, or drinking too much.

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