Symptom hiccups (hiccups): What's it, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Hiccups; Sobs

Hiccups are a common involuntary condition., in which the diaphragm suddenly contracts, followed by a sharp closure of the vocal cords, which results in the sound "ik". Hiccups usually only last a few minutes, but in rare cases it can last for months, causing significant discomfort and disruption of a person's daily life.

Causes of hiccups

Hiccups can be caused by various factors., including:

  • Eating too fast or drinking carbonated drinks.
  • Drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes.
  • Emotional stress or excitement.
  • Swallowing air while chewing gum or sucking on hard candies.
  • Hot and spicy foods or liquids
  • Inhalation of harmful fumes

Medical reasons may include:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Disease or disorder, that irritates the nerves, controlling the diaphragm (including pleurisy , pneumonia or upper abdominal disease)
  • stroke or tumor, affecting the brain

Hiccup symptoms

The main symptom of hiccups is involuntary contractions of the diaphragm., causing the characteristic sound "ik". Other symptoms may include:

  • Discomfort in the chest or throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Fatigue or exhaustion

When to see a doctor

Most cases of hiccups are harmless and go away on their own.. Nonetheless, you should see a doctor, if your hiccups:

  • Saved over 48 hours.
  • Accompanied by severe abdominal pain or vomiting.
  • Occurs after a head injury or stroke.
  • Associated with difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • Prevents you from eating, sleep or do daily activities.

Questions, that your doctor may ask

When you visit the doctor for hiccups, he may ask you a series of questions, to determine the underlying cause. Some questions, which they can ask, include:

  • When did your hiccups start??
  • How often do you experience hiccups?
  • Do you have other symptoms, such as chest pain or difficulty breathing?
  • What medications do you take?
  • Have you had a recent head injury or stroke?
  • Have you recently traveled to another country??

Diagnosis of hiccups

To diagnose hiccups, your healthcare professional will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. He may also order tests., such as x-rays or blood tests, to exclude underlying diseases, which can cause hiccups.

Treatment of hiccups

In most cases, hiccups go away on their own and do not require treatment.. But, if hiccups don't go away, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Breathing exercises or relaxation techniques
  • Medicines, such as muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety medications
  • Nerve block
  • Surgical procedures, such as diaphragmatic pacing or phrenic nerve surgery

For the treatment of hiccups, that doesn't last long , the doctor may perform gastric lavage or massage of the carotid sinus in the neck. DO NOT try carotid massage on your own. This should be done by a doctor..

Home Treatment for Hiccups

If you have hiccups from time to time, there are several home remedies, which you can try to alleviate. Some home treatments include:

  • Drink a glass of water quickly
  • Breathe into a paper bag
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds
  • Suck on a lemon or a teaspoon of sugar
  • Gently pull your tongue

Hiccup Prevention

To prevent hiccups, you should avoid factors, who can cause it, such as eating too fast, drinking carbonated drinks or smoking cigarettes. You should also practice stress reduction techniques., such as meditation or yoga, to prevent emotional stress, hiccup.


Hiccups are a common involuntary condition, which can be caused by various factors. Although in most cases, hiccups are harmless and go away on their own., persistent hiccups could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If you experience persistent hiccups or if the hiccups are accompanied by other symptoms, you should see a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Used sources and literature

American Cancer Society website. Hiccups. Updated February 1, 2020. Accessed April 12, 2021.

National Institutes of Health, Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center website. Chronic hiccups. Updated February 1, 2021. Accessed April 12, 2021.

Petroianu GA. Hiccups. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn’s Current Therapy 2021. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:24-26.

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