What Are Hiccups and What Are the Causes of Hiccups?

Well, hiccups are no big problem, but they can embarrass you, especially when you are making a report in front of an entire meeting room. In fact, hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, the muscle above your abdomen that helps breathing. The major causes include drinking carbonated beverages, eating too much, excitement or emotional stress.

What are hiccups?

As mentioned earlier, hiccups are contraction of diaphragm, the muscle that seperates your chest from your abdomen and helps breathing. Because each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, it produces the characteristic “hic” sound. They can happen to people of all age groups, including infants and the elderly.

Causes – drinking carbonated beverages, eating too much and more

The most common triggers for hiccups that last less than 48 hours include:

  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating too much
  • Excitement or emotional stress
  • Sudden temperature changes
  • Swallowing air with chewing gum or sucking on candy
Causes of hiccups lasting over 48 hourse:

Hiccups that last more than 48 hours may be caused by a variety of factors, which can be grouped into the following categories.

Nerve damage or irritation

Damage to or irritation of the vagus nerves or phrenic nerves may lead to long-time hiccups. Factors that may cause damage or irritation to these nerves include:

  • A hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum
  • A tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Sore throat or laryngitis
Central nervous system disorders

A tumor or infection in your central nervous system or damage to your central nervous system as a result of trauma can disrupt your body’s normal control of the hiccup reflex. Examples include:

  • Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Tumors

In addition to the above, they can also be triggered by metabolic disorders and drugs, such as:

  • Alcoholism
  • Anesthesia
  • Barbiturates
  • Diabetes
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Kidney disease
  • Steroids
  • Tranquilizers
* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.