What are hiccups

What are hiccups

Hiccups are automatic contraction of the stomach — the muscle that isolates your chest from your mid-region and assumes a significant function in relaxing. Every constriction is trailed by an abrupt conclusion of your vocal strings, which delivers the trademark “hic” sound.

Hiccups may result from an enormous dinner, heavy drinker or carbonated refreshments or unexpected energy. Now and again, hiccups might be an indication of a basic ailment. For the vast majority, an episode of hiccups for the most part endures just a couple of moments. Seldom, hiccups may continue for quite a long time. This can bring about weight reduction and fatigue.


how to cure hiccups
hiccups after eating

Typically, the stomach, an dome shaped muscle between your lungs and stomach, pulls down when you breathe in to give air access to your lungs, and afterward loosens up when you breathe out so air can stream back out of your lungs to leave your nose and mouth.

Yet, on the off chance that something aggravates your stomach, it can fit, driving you to abruptly suck air into your throat, where it hits your voice box. That makes your vocal lines abruptly close, making the unmistakable “hic!” sound.

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Hiccups are the involuntary contractions of the stomach. The contractions occur automatically. It is the muscle that segregate chest from abdomen and plays an important part in breathing. By the sudden closure of vocal cord contraction is followed and which produces the “hic” sound. When we inhale to let air into our lungs a dome-shaped muscle diaphragm between our stomach and lungs pulls down and when we exhale diaphragm relaxes so air can flow back out of our lungs to exit our mouth and nose. When something irritates our diaphragm, it forced us to suddenly suck air into our throat, where it hits our voice box. That makes our vocal cords suddenly close, producing the distinct “hic” sound. There is no way to precede hiccups. There is usually a slight tightening of the throat or chest with each spasm earlier to make the distinctive hiccup sound. The cases of hiccups end and start quickly most of the time. Episodes of hiccups generally last only a few minutes. Hiccups are considered persistent if the hiccups last longer than 48 hours, and the hiccups that last longer than two months are considered difficult or intractable to manage.

What are the Causes of Hiccups?
There are several causes of hiccups that have been identified. There is no list of triggers. Hiccups often go and come for no evident reason. Common possible causes of short-term hiccups include:

  • Eating too much food

  • Eating more spicy foods

  • Taking very cold and hot foods

  • Taking alcohol

  • Taking carbonated beverages

  • A rapid change in the temperature

  • Emotional stress or excitement

  • Inhaling air while chewing gum

  • Inhaling too much air

The most of the hiccups are caused by the irritation or injury to either the phrenic nerve or vagus. The phrenic nerves and vagus control the movement of our domed-shaped muscles diaphragm .These nerves may be influenced and affected by:

  • Irritation of our ear drum and this irritation is caused by a foreign object.

  • Throat soreness

  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland that is called goiter.

  • Gastroesophageal reflux in which into the esophagus the stomach acid is backed up and esophagus is the tube that transfer the food from mouth to stomach.

  • Cyst or tumor of an oeshophagus.

Central Nervous System is also the cause of hiccups. The Central Nervous System consist of spinal cord and brain. Our body may lose the ability to control hiccups if the central nervous system is damaged. Damage to the central nervous system may lead to constant hiccups include:

  • A chronic degenerative nerve disease known as the multiple sclerosis.

  • Infections that cause swelling in the brain are encephalitis and meningitis.

  • Brain Injury or head trauma

  • Hydrocephalus the accumulation of fluid on the brain.

  • The other brain infections and neurosyphilis

The longer period hiccups can be caused by:

  • Overtaking of alcohol

  • Use of Tobacco

  • A degenerative brain disease known as the Parkinson’s disease.

  • Chemotherapy treatments and cancer.

  • Kidney failure

A medical procedure can also cause us to develop long term hiccups accidently. These procedures are used to diagnose other problems and include:

  • To access the heart muscle the use of catheters can cause hiccups.

  • Bronchoscopy a treatment in which an instrument is used to look inside our lungs.

  • Tracheostomy the creation of surgical opening in the neck to allow breathing.

Hiccups after eating
What causes the hiccups after eating? The reasons of hiccups after eating are following:

  • Eating excessively fast

  • Unexpected and outrageous temperature changes

  • Hot and fiery nourishments

  • Devouring carbonated beverage

  • Eating excessively

Causes of hiccups are several. Some of the causes are eating too much food, eating more spicy foods, taking alcohol etc. The most of the hiccups are caused by the irritation or injury to either the phrenic nerve or vagus.

Risk Factors
The possibility of long-term hiccups to develop is more in men than women. The factors that may increase the risk of hiccups include:

  • Mental or emotional issues
    Excitement, stress and anxiety are associated with some cases of long- term and and short-term hiccups.

  • Surgery
    After procedures that involve abdominal organs and after undergoing general anesthesia some people develop hiccups.

The factors that may increase the risk of hiccups include: Mental or emotional issues and surgery. The possibility of long-term hiccups to develop is more in men than women

Possible Complications of Untreated Hiccups
A long time episodes of hiccups can be harmful to our health. The long time episodes of hiccups are also uncomfortable. If left undiagnosed, long term hiccups can disturb our eating habits and sleeping lead to:

  • Weight loss and dehydration.

  • If hiccups occur at short intervals, it can become difficult to eat properly.

  • Long-term hiccups can cause depression.

  • Long-term hiccups can be exhausting.

  • Hiccups also causes the communication problems.

  • Hiccups make it difficult for post-surgical wounds to heal and increases the risk of infections.

  • Irregular heart beat and gastro-esophageal reflux.disease

  • Constant hiccups causes sleeplessness.

The long time episodes of hiccups are uncomfortable. The long term episodes of hiccups may be harmful for our health. If left undiagnosed, long term hiccups can disturb our eating habits

vocal cords

Symptoms of the hiccups
The symptoms of the hiccup may include:

  • Involuntarily sucking of the air into the throat.

  • Closing of the epiglottis makes a “hic” sound.

  • A sharp contraction of the diaphragm and this contraction is felt just below the breastbone.

  • The hiccups stop after a few minutes.

  • Hiccupping is a symptom and sometimes may be accompanied by slight tightening of our abdomen, throat or chest.

The more common symptoms of the hiccups include: Involuntarily sucking of the air into the throat,A sharp contraction of the diaphragm and this contraction is felt just below the breastbone, Closing of the epiglottis makes a “hic” sound.

Treatment for Hiccups

How to cure hiccups by home treatment?

It is necessary to discuss how to cure hiccups? Sometimes hiccups will go away after a hours or a few minutes with no medical treatment. If they remain for a longer-period of time then it necessary to visit a doctor. The following steps may help us in how to get rid of the hiccups:

  • Eating some granulated sugar.

  • While you inhaling place pressure on your nose.

  • For a short period of time hold your breath, breath out, do it three or four times and do this every 20 minutes.

  • Lean forward so that you easily compress your chest.

  • Rubbing of the eyeballs can cure hiccups.

  • Drinking of a water rapidly.

  • Breathing of air into the paper bag instead of plastic bag.

  • Gargling with very cold water

  • Hugging the knees close to chest for a short time cure hiccups.

  • Putting the finger in throat can cure hiccups.

  • Pull on the tongue gently.

  • Taste a tiny amount of vinegar

  • Biting a lemon can also cure hiccups.

Is there medical treatments for hiccups?
If the long-term hiccups interfere with the person’s quality of life then the doctor may prescribed a drug to the patient. If a person is suffering from the underlying condition then managing the condition will probably cure the hiccups. If there appears to be no underlying health condition then the following medications may help:

  • A muscle relaxant, baclofen

  • An anti-seizure medication (gabapentin) this can help can remove the symptoms of hiccups.

The following medicines are recommended if the above medicines does not work:

  • Haloperidol or chlorpromazine medications can remove hiccups.

  • Reglan or metoclopramide medication may help some people with hiccups.

  • Hiccups related to anesthesia or surgery can treat by Ketamine or Ephedrine.

A low-dose and two-weeks course of medication will usually prescribed by the doctor. The dosage is gradually increase until the hiccups are gone. The dosage will depend on the severity of hiccups.


Does there is any need of test for hiccups?
When a person have persistent hiccups lasting more than 48 hours or sometimes occur the short bout of hiccups and the doctor find an obvious cause then the person will most likely want to do some tests.
The earlier test are the chest x-ray test, heart tracing test and blood test. These look for changes such as chest problem, heart diseases and blood chemistry.
Some test may be prescribed depending on the individual situation.

The following tests can be used to identify the cause of intractable and persistent hiccups:

  • Blood test should be done to determine the signs of kidney disease, infection and diabetes.

  • Liver functions test

  • an echocardiogram ( to ■■■■■ the heart function)

  • an endoscopy( lungs and airways can be examined by this)

If the hiccups cannot be cured by the home remedies treatment and by the medication prescribed by the doctor then a surgeon may inject medication into the phrenic nerve to temporarily block the nerve’s action. The surgeon cut the phrenic nerve that controls a domed shaped muscle diaphragm. The other option is to surgically implant a battery-operated device that deliver mild electrical stimulation to our vagus nerve.

Hiccups can be cured by some home remedies. If hiccups are not cured by the home remedies then the patient must go to the doctor and the doctor will prescribed some medicines for hiccups. Surgery is done if the hiccups are not cured by the home remedies and medication.

Sometimes the causes hiccups are preventable and some ways to reduce the hiccups risk include:

  • Evading the rapid changes in temperature

  • Not taking sodas or alcohol

  • Eating in a moderate way and not too rapidly.

Some hiccups are short-time and alleviate after a short while but if they remain constant it is necessary to go to doctor.

There are some ways by which we can prevent the risk of hiccups, such as eating in a moderate way, evading the rapid changes in temperature and not taking alcohol.

Hiccups in infants and babies
How to get rid of baby hiccups is a general question .Hiccups in infants, babies and newborn are common as in adult and they are generally of no concern. If a mother is feeding a child and hiccups start during feeding the mother will stop feeding until the hiccups go away in a baby or infant. sometimes continuing the feeding will stop the hiccups in a baby or in an infants. If the baby often hiccups while feedings, feed the baby when he or she is already relaxed. If the child hiccups seems to upset him consult the doctor.

Hiccups in infants, babies and newborn are common as in adult and they are generally of no concern. If the baby often hiccups while feedings, feed the baby when he or she is already relaxed. If the child hiccups seems to upset him consult the doctor.

Baby hiccups

Intractable hiccups
Most of the hiccups last for a few minutes and alleviate after sometime but some hiccups last for more than a month and these are known as the Intractable hiccups. It is also called an intractable singultus and chronic hiccups. These names are the another way to say hiccups. The intractable hiccups continued for 60 years but these are very uncommon occur in 1 about 100,000 people. Hiccups that last for 48 hours are called protracted and persistent hiccups. Causes of intractable hiccups are dehydration, exhaustion and weight loss.

some hiccups last for more than a month and these are known as the Intractable hiccups. The intractable hiccups continued for 60 years but these are very uncommon occur in 1 about 100,000 people.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do hiccups feel like?
Sensation of the hiccups is more rhythmic than other movements. Some people have explained it as a pulsating or twitch feeling that is akin to muscle spasm.

Can hiccups be a sign of something serious?
Chronic hiccups are related with many underlying disorders, ranging from brain strokes and tumors to pleurisy and pneumonia. Chronic hiccups also impact our quality of life if they interrupt our eating patterns and sleeping.

Are hiccups related to heart attack?
Hiccups are never a sign of heart attack or any other medical problem. Hiccups usually come from drinking too much alcohol, eating too much, emotional stress and excitement.

Is it normal to have hiccups everyday?
Stress and anxiety disorders can cause long term hiccups. If hiccups go and come, they are most likely a result of our eating habits and digestive functions. But if they remain for more than a few days talk with the doctor.

What causes hiccups at night?
The vocal cords suddenly close, and you get the hiccups. Hiccuping in the sleep can be caused by many number of things such as goiter, gastrointestinal reflux disease, pleurisy, multiple sclerosis or brain injuries.

Hiccups are the involuntary contractions of the stomach. The contractions occur automatically. It is the muscle that segregate chest from abdomen and plays an important part in breathing. There are several causes of the hiccups that have been identified. The symptoms of the hiccup may include: Involuntarily sucking of the air into the throat and a sharp contraction of the diaphragm and this contraction is felt just below the breastbone. Hiccups in infants, babies and newborn are common as in adult and they are generally of no concern.The long term hiccups can cause depression and other problems that’s why it is essential to cure the hiccups. Sometimes hiccups will go away after a hours or a few minutes with no medical treatment. If they remain for a longer-period of time then it is necessary to visit a doctor.

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How to stop hiccups?

How to get rid of hiccups?

“An involuntary contraction of the diaphragm and other respiratory organs that produce a peculiar gulping sound is known as hiccup.”

Hiccups are continuous and uncontrolled contractions of the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm is present below your lungs between the chest and abdomen boundary.

Typically, the stomach, a vault molded muscle between your lungs and stomach, pulls down when you breathe in to give air access to your lungs, and afterward loosens up when you breathe out so air can stream back out of your lungs to leave your nose and mouth.

However, in the event that something bothers your stomach, it can fit, constraining you to abruptly suck air into your throat, where it hits your voice box. That makes your vocal lines unexpectedly close, making the particular “hic!” sound.

What are hiccups?

Causes of Hiccups

Various reasons for hiccups have been distinguished. Nonetheless, there’s no conclusive rundown of triggers. Conceivable normal reasons for transient hiccups include:

Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours are classified by the kind of aggravation that caused the scene.

Most of the persevering hiccups are brought about by injury or bothering to either the vagus or phrenic nerve. The vagus and phrenic nerves control the development of your stomach. These nerves might be influenced by:

  • Disturbance of your eardrum, which might be brought about by an unfamiliar item

  • Throat aggravation or touchiness

  • A goiter (growth of the thyroid ■■■■■)

  • Gastroesophageal reflux (stomach corrosive support up into the throat, the cylinder that moves food from the mouth to the stomach)

  • An esophageal tumor or growth

Different reasons for hiccups may include the focal sensory system (CNS). The CNS comprises the brain and spinal cord. On the off chance that the CNS is harmed, your body may lose the capacity to control hiccups.

CNS harm that may prompt relentless hiccups incorporates: It includes

  • Brain injury
  • Accumulation of fluids on the brain and other brain infections.
  • Stroke
  • Meningitis and encephalitis
  • A chronic degenerative nerve disease is termed as multiple sclerosis.

Long term Hiccups

Hiccups are generally for short time but in some cases, they can stay for a long time. It’s normally a direct result of harm or irritation to the nerves associated with the stomach. Everything from a hair contacting your eardrum to a sensitive throat can influence these nerves, and in more genuine cases, a tumor, goiter, or growth in the neck can harm them.

Causes of long term Hiccups

  • Some central nervous system disorders.
  • Metabolic disorders like kidney disease and diabetes.
  • Drugs including tranquilizers and steroids.
  • In some operations in which anesthesia is required.

Consult with the doctor.

If you are facing hiccups for more than 2 days, and it is causing problems while eating, sleeping, and breathing then immediately consult with your doctor.

Also, consult with your doctor if you are facing fever, stomach pain, and vomiting along with hiccups.

Risk factors for hiccups

Hiccups can occur at any age. Several factors can increase the risk of hiccups.


Male has more chances to develop long term hiccups as compared to females

Mental and emotional stress

Depression and anxiety increase the chances of long term and short term hiccups.


In surgeries, anesthesia is used most and it can trigger hiccups in some people.

Complications caused by hiccups

If hiccups are left untreated then they can cause some serious complications.

Persistent hiccups result in weight loss and swallowing problems that may also lead to cancer.

However, some general complications are

  • Weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Trouble in swallowing and eating


As we know that hiccups can also be the result of any serious medical condition. So it is very important to diagnose the exact reason for hiccups. Your doctor may recommend the following tests.

Laboratory tests

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney tests
  • Infection

Imaging tests

These tests include

  • MRI ( Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • X-ray of chest
  • Computerized tomography.

These tests are used to check the abnormalities of the diaphragm, vagus nerve, and phrenic nerve.

Endoscopy tests

These tests are somewhat difficult. As it involves a tiny camera that passes down into the throat to check abnormalities in the esophagus and windpipe.


For severe persistent hiccups, doctors prescribe

  • Haloperidol
  • Metoclopramide.
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Baclofen

Treatment and management of hiccups.

Once in a while, a basic change in your breathing or stance can loosen up your stomach.

1. Practice estimated relaxing. Disturb your respiratory framework with moderate, estimated relaxing. Take in a deep breath and count five minutes and then out for five minutes.

2. Hold your breath. Breathe in a huge swallow of air and hold it for around 10 to 20 seconds, at that point inhale out gradually. Practice it again.

3. Inhale into a paper sack. Spot a paper lunch pack over your mouth and nose. Gradually take in and out, flattening and expanding the sack. Never utilize a plastic sack

4.Pack your chest. Lean or twist forward to pack your chest, which squeezes your stomach.

5.Embrace your knees. Plunk down in a relaxed spot. Carry your knees to your chest and hold them there for two minutes.

6. Utilize the Valsalva move. To do this move, attempt to breathe out while squeezing your nose and keeping your mouth shut.

Weight focuses

  • Weight focuses are territories of your body that are especially delicate to pressure. Applying strain to these focuses with your hands may assist with loosening up your stomach or animate your vagus or phrenic nerves.

  • Push on your stomach. Your stomach isolates your mid-region from your lungs. Utilize your hand to apply strain to the zone just beneath the finish of your sternum.

  • Press your nose shut while gulping water.

  • Press your palm. Utilize your thumb to apply strain to the palm of your other hand.

  • Pull-on your tongue. Pulling on your tongue animates the nerves and muscles in your throat. Get the tip of your tongue and delicately pull it forward more than once.

  • Back rub your carotid conduit. You have a carotid course on the two sides of your neck. It’s what you feel when you check your heartbeat by contacting your neck. Then, turn your head to one side, and back rub the corridor on the correct side in a roundabout movement for 5 to 10 seconds.

Things to eat or drink

Eating certain things or changing the manner in which you drink may likewise assist with invigorating your vagus or phrenic nerves.

  • Drink cold water.
  • Drink cold water through a paper towel or cloth
  • Slowly drink a glass of warm water
  • Gargle ice water for 30 minutes
  • Eat a pinch of sugar
  • Suck on an ice cube and lemon
  • Place a vinegar drop on your tongue

How to prevent hiccups

  • Avoid spicy and hot foods.
  • Avoid alcoholic and carbonated beverages.
  • Eat slowly
  • Eat a small amount of servings per meal.
  • Deep breathing and meditation helps to prevent hiccups as they reduce stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I cure my newborn hiccups?

Baby’s hiccup can be cured by burping, the use of pacifiers, and by giving them ripe water.

How long do hiccups last?

Duration of hiccups varies from person to person as it also depends on the factor that triggers it. Hiccups can last from a few minutes to hours in normal individuals. If you are facing hiccups for two days then you should consult with the doctor.

Are hiccups good or bad?

Hiccups are abnormal contractions of muscles due to certain reasons. It can last up to a few minutes to hours. It is a normal and harmless situation.

Hiccups are bad if it lasts for more than two days. It may be the symptom of any chronic disorder.

How do you get rid of stress hiccups?

Stress hiccups can be prevented by deep breathing and meditation. However, distract your attention to any other object while you are receiving hiccups. Diverting attention helps to get rid of hiccups.

Why do we drink water when we hiccup?

Most hiccups result when air passes through the lung faces any kind of obstruction. It produces a peculiar sound termed as a “hip” sound. So, we drink water to normalize the airflow through the lungs.


Hiccups are the automatic contraction of stomach muscles. Several causes of hiccups have been identified. Eating too much and eating more spicy foods at the common causes. However, hiccups can be indication or symptom of some severe chronic disease. So, if a person is facing persistent hiccups lasting more than 48 hours then he should consult a doctor.

Related topics

How to get rid of hiccups?

How to get rid of baby hiccups?

How to stop hiccups?

What causes hiccups?

Hiccups after eating

How to cure hiccups?

Causes of hiccups


The hiccup is the result of a sudden and involuntary contraction of the diaphragm muscle, which is located between the chest and abdomen.

Human body illustration highlighting the diaphragm, muscle involved in hiccups.
In the vast majority of cases, it is a self-limiting problem, of short duration and of no clinical relevance. In some people, however, hiccups can be persistent, becoming a chronic problem and difficult to control.

What is the diaphragm?

The diaphragm is a muscle that is located between the chest and abdomen, being the main muscle of breathing. Thanks to the movement of the diaphragm, we are able to fill and empty our lungs with air.

The hiccup comes when our diaphragm undergoes a rapid and involuntary contraction, causing us to breathe in air. As this respiratory movement is unwanted, also involuntarily, our vocal cords suddenly close, preventing the entry of air, causing the well-known sound of hiccups, which resembles a snap.

The closing of the vocal cords prevents air from reaching the lungs, sometimes making it go to the stomach. That is why some people swallow air during hiccups.


Most hiccups last a few minutes, disappearing spontaneously or after a few manoeuvres, such as drinking cold water or holding your breath. In some people, hiccups can take several minutes to disappear.

Ordinary hiccups rarely have any clinical significance, and an average evaluation is not necessary for them.

More rarely, an episode of hiccups can last for several hours. When the hiccup lasts more than 48 hours it is called a persistent hiccup. When it lasts more than a month, it is called an intractable hiccup. Both persistent and intractable hiccups are usually caused by illness and should always be evaluated by a doctor.



Common hiccups

We don’t know exactly why simple hiccups appear, which last a few minutes and disappear spontaneously. Hiccups are thought to be caused by situations that somehow irritate the diaphragm. In 80% of cases, hiccups occur due to spasms only in the left portion of the diaphragm. Why that is, we don’t know.

The situations that most often trigger hiccup attacks are:

  • Eat a lot until your stomach is full.

  • Eat really fast.

  • Sudden changes in body temperature.

  • Emotional stress.

  • Anxiety.

  • Swallow air.

  • Foods with lots of pepper.

  • Drink sodas or other fizzy drinks.

  • Drink alcohol.

  • Smoke.

  • Sleep deprivation.

  • Fever.

Why the above situations work as a trigger for hiccups in some people, and only at certain times, is still unknown. If you often experience hiccups, try to find the most common trigger to avoid it. Sometimes small changes in habits, such as eating more slowly, are enough to decrease the frequency of attacks of hiccups.

Persistent or intractable hiccups

Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours can be caused by a variety of factors, which are generally grouped into the following categories (items 2.1 to 2.4):

Irritation of the diaphragm nerves.

Like any muscle in our body, the diaphragm is controlled by our brain, which sends its orders through the phrenic nerve and the vagus nerve. Irritations of these nerves can cause unwanted movements of the diaphragm, causing prolonged hiccuping. The main situations that can cause irritation of the nerves that serve the diaphragm are:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux

  • Ulcers of the stomach or duodenum

  • Tumors in the chest or neck.

  • Goiter

  • Pharyngitis or tonsillitis

  • Irritations of the eardrum or foreign objects inside the ear.

  • Pneumonia

  • Pericarditis

Central nervous system diseases

Some brain injuries can affect the area that controls the movement of the diaphragm, leading to persistent hiccups. The main causes are:

  • Stroke

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Meningitis

  • Brain tumors

  • Head injuries.

Metabolic changes

Changes in our metabolism, levels of hormones or other substances in the blood, such as electrolytes (minerals) and glucose, can also lead to prolonged hiccups. The most common causes are:

  • Poorly controlled diabetes

  • Chronic renal failure

  • Changes in blood levels of potassium, sodium or calcium.

  • Chronic alcoholism


Some drugs are associated with prolonged hiccup attacks, including:

  • Anesthetics used in general anaesthesia

  • Corticosteroids

  • Anxiolytics of the benzodiazepine class (eg diazepam, alprazolam and lorazepam).

  • Levodopa.

  • Nicotine.

  • Ondansetron.

  • Alpha methyldopa.

Risk factors

Have you ever noticed that babies have recurrent hiccups? This is because the little ones still do not have a fully developed nervous system, so it does not act properly on the diaphragm.

Inadequate health habits, such as smoking, drinking large amounts of alcohol and talking while eating are also directly related to the occurrence of a hiccup crisis.


Common hiccups are not considered medical problems and do not need specific treatment, as they usually last a few minutes, disappearing even if nothing is done.

However, no one likes to have hiccups and most people end up looking for a way to shorten crises. As hiccups usually occur due to irritation of the diaphragm or its nerves, some simple manoeuvres, which stimulate at least one of these two structures, serve to abort the crises.

Many of the homemade solutions to hiccups really work and have a scientific basis for doing so. For example:

  • When we get scared, we suddenly increase the release of a hormone called adrenaline, which among hundreds of other actions, acts directly on the contraction of the diaphragm.

  • When we hold the air and take a few seconds without breathing, the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood rises, which is a strong stimulus for the brain to activate the nerves in the diaphragm, forcing it to contract.

  • When we drink cold water, the vagus nerve, which acts on the diagram, but also innervates from the throat to the stomach, is stimulated by the sudden change in temperature.


The main way to avoid hiccups is to identify triggers. If you start to sob after consuming a certain amount of alcohol, for example, moderate your consumption. Still, the problem can have unknown causes unrelated to recognizable triggers.

17 tips to help stop hiccups:

  • Get a fright.

  • Get tickled.

  • Hold the breath.

  • Gargle with cold water.

  • Drink ice water.

  • Suck ice.

  • Drink hot water (be careful not to be so hot that it can burn your mouth).

  • Breathe into a paper bag.

  • Suck lemon.

  • Eat ginger.

  • Pull the tongue (pull the tongue out with your fingers).

  • Touch the uvula (throat bell) with an object, like a straw.

  • Eat a spoonful of sugar or honey.

  • Bend your knees and hug your legs, compressing your chest.

  • Drink fluids while pressing your nose.

  • Try some vinegar.

  • Put your fingers in your ears.

How to treat persistent or intractable hiccups?

Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours should be investigated, as they are inevitably caused by a medical problem. In these cases, the treatment of hiccups involves the treatment of the underlying cause. If the patient has an ear infection, treatment is with antibiotics; if you have very low levels of sodium in your blood, sodium replacement stops the hiccup; if the cause is a medication, the medication is suspended, etc.

However, the problem behind persistent hiccups is not always easily identifiable. In other cases, the disease that causes the hiccup has no specific treatment, as in patients who have had a stroke or head trauma. Therefore, the doctor often needs to use some drugs that inhibit hiccups, without necessarily acting directly on their cause. Some medications used to stop persistent hiccups are:

  • Chlorpromazine (the most used and most studied drug to treat hiccups).

  • Haloperidol.

  • Baclofen.

  • Metoclopramide.

  • Gabapentina.

Other options for persistent hiccup control are acupuncture and hypnosis.

In extreme cases - very rare, by the way -, surgery may be necessary, with the implantation of an electrical stimulator in the diaphragm, similar to the pacemakers used in the heart.


More than 80% of babies experience frequent episodes of hiccups. In fact, babies start to sob even when they are fetuses, inside the womb. Hiccups are believed to be important for the development of fetal respiratory systems, serving as exercises for the diaphragm and other respiratory muscles.

The more immature the nervous system is, the more common the crises of hiccups will be. ■■■■■■■■■ babies have more hiccups than full-term babies, which in turn have more hiccups than babies older than 6 months.

Babies’ hiccups cause far more discomfort to their parents than they do to themselves. The sobbing baby is in no pain or irritation. Babies are not as bothered by hiccups as we are adults.


It is impossible to prevent babies from having hiccups, especially in newborns. However, some tips help to minimize crises.

Hiccups in babies are usually triggered by food or a drop in body temperature. Babies who suckle too fast and swallow too much air tend to have more hiccups. Make sure your baby is always well warmed up and with the chest handle well done to minimize the appearance of hiccups. After feeding, leave it in an upright position so that it burps and decreases the amount of air in the stomach.

Do not use the tips to stop adult hiccups in babies; they don’t work and can still do harm. Don’t scare, don’t press your eyeballs, don’t pull your tongue and don’t squeeze your fontanelle. Remember that babies are not bothered by hiccups, be patient that after a few minutes it will disappear. As the baby grows, the crises become less and less common.

Hiccups in babies are only caused for concern if they are disrupting their usual activities such as sleeping or eating, or if they are persistent and do not go away after a few minutes. Frequent hiccups in babies over one year are also unusual. In these cases, mention the fact to the paediatrician that he will know what to do to find out if there is a problem behind the hiccups, such as gastroesophageal reflux, for example.


1. What happens to the hiccup?

Most of the time, the hiccup is caused by an irritation in the nerve called phrenic, which helps the movements of the diaphragm, a muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, in breathing. The exhalation of air happens when the diaphragm relaxes and, inhalation, when it contracts.

2. When is a hiccup dangerous?

And when we hiccup too much, the air enters the lungs with great force and the alveoli swell, which can cause muscle pain in the belly and also in the head. Hiccups in the elderly can be dangerous because the alveoli are more fragile, especially in smokers. Young children should also be careful.

3. How to deal with hiccups in babies?

In addition to the developing nervous system, very small babies can swallow a lot of air when breastfed. So it is common for them to have hiccups. Some measures help to prevent the problem:

  • Avoid leaving to feed the child when he is very hungry, as in these cases he tends to suckle with an uproar, which increases the risk of swallowing air;

  • Hold the baby in an upright position and encourage belching after he/she suckles.

Usually, the hiccup subsides in a few minutes and no action is necessary. If you want to try to shorten the crisis and the child has recently been breastfed, try burping him again. If the problem arises further from the meal, place the baby on the ■■■■■■ to encourage him to suck and cause the movement to restore the diaphragm.

If the baby’s hiccup lasts for hours, see a doctor to investigate the cause.

4. I am pregnant and sometimes I feel that my baby in the belly has a hiccup. It’s possible?

Yes, especially in the last 3 months of pregnancy the baby can already sob, it is part of normal development and does not require any measures. Usually, in these cases, the mother feels the movement repeatedly in the same region of the belly.