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.

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

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

Why do we hiccup?

Hiccups (also spelled hiccough) are sudden, involuntary contractions (spasms) of the diaphragm muscle. When the muscle spasms, the vocal cords snap shut, producing the hiccup sound.

Hiccups are often rhythmic. They are usually just a temporary minor annoyance, but prolonged hiccups may signal a major medical problem. The longest recorded hiccup attack is six decades!

Women and men tend to get hiccups equally as often, but hiccups that last more than 48 hours are more common in men. Hiccups can even occur in a fetus while still in utero.

The medical term for hiccups is singultus, which comes from the Latin word for “gasp” or “sob.”

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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