Hiccups – Causes, Symptoms and Cure


A hiccup is one of the involuntary actions of our body. When the diaphragm muscles which is just below the lungs contract, the vocal codes shut resulting into hiccups. Therefore, hiccups are involuntary repetitive contractions of our body’s diaphragm muscle.

When there is any irritation in the nerve that connects your neck to the chest, hiccups occur.

The medical term for hiccups is singultus which is a Latin word and means “sob” or “gasp”.

Normally, when one hiccups it is said that someone is remembering him. But this is not the case, as many times it could give you a signal to call for emergency actions.

What Causes Hiccups?

  • Eating or drinking very often in short intervals. Generally, indigestion is the main cause of hiccups
  • Drinking Carbonated beverages like soda or cold-drinks
  • Nervous diseases
  • Excessive build-up of water between chest and lungs can cause hiccups
  • Anxiety, depression or any stress
  • Pneumonia which is a result of bacteria, virus or fungi
  • Brain tumors or strokes
  • Smoking habits
  • Fumes or certain types of medications

Hiccups are not harmful but can be dangerous when last for more than 48 hours. If it lasts more than 48 hours, chances are that one is suffering with nerve damage or nervous disorders or could be a result of drugs.

Men and women both can get hiccups but it is generally men who can have hiccups for more than 48 hours.

Complications of Hiccups

Though hiccups are not harmful but can interfere with your sleeping, eating and speaking activities.

How to Stop or Control Hiccups?

Mostly hiccups do not require any medical attentions but as mentioned above if it lasts more than 48 hours, check with your doctor.

A doctor can prescribe few medicines such as metoclopramide, haloperidol etc. for severe hiccups if needed.

Other Home Remedies to Get Rid of Hiccups

  • Drinking a full glass of water immediately
  • Holding your breath or pulling hard on your tongue
  • Smelling salts, gargling or eating citric food
  • Eat slowly and avoid overeating
  • Don’t eat too quickly
  • Avoid drinking too heavily
  • Quit smoking

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