Hiccups

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

17 Weird Body Quirks Slideshow

Check out these 17 weird body quirks and their causes.

  1. Black hairy tongue
  2. Eye twitching
  3. Brain freeze
  4. Black hairy tongue
  5. Hiccups

Quick GuideWeird Body Quirks in Pictures: Brain Freezes, Hiccupping, & More

Weird Body Quirks in Pictures: Brain Freezes, Hiccupping, & More

Hiccup definition and facts

  • A hiccup is a sudden, involuntary contraction (spasm) of the diaphragm muscle. When the muscle spasms, the vocal cords snap shut, producing the hiccup sound.
  • Common causes of hiccups include:
    • eating too quickly,
    • eating or drinking too much,
    • diseases that irritate the nerves that control the diaphragm,
    • abdominal surgery,
    • strokes or
    • brain tumors,
    • noxious fumes, and
    • certain medications.
  • Most cases of hiccups can be cured or resolve in a short period of time and are rarely a medical emergency. See your doctor if hiccups last more than three hours, or if they disturb your eating or sleeping habits.
  • Home remedies or ways to get rid of hiccups include: holding your breath, drinking a glass of water quickly, pulling hard on your tongue, biting on a lemon, gargling with water, and using smelling salts.
  • Rarely, a doctor may prescribe 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 to help prevent hiccups.
Reviewed on 10/7/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Wilkes, G., et al. “Hiccups.” Medscape. Nov 03, 2014
< http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/775746-overview>

Wilkes, G., et al. “Hiccups Treatment and Management. Medscape. Nov 03,2014
< http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/775746-treatment>

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