Hiccup is an involuntary movement of the muscle at the base of the lungs, the diaphragm, resulting with rapid closure of the vocal cords leading to the issue of the typical sound associated with hiccups. The factors causing it may be more variable, from heavy meals to intake of alcohol, fizzy drinks or hot or spicy food, but also stress or emotional state of excitement, a sudden change in temperature or ingesting air.


The base of a hiccup that has lasted more than 48 hours may, however, be of damage or irritation to nerves, a tumor or an infection of the central nervous system, metabolic disorders, traumatic brain injury, or taking medication (such as barbiturates, steroids, tranquilizers or anesthetics). Forms of hiccup of this type are more frequent in men and can interfere with feeding, rest or with the ability to speak.


What kind of diseases can be associated with hiccup?

The following diseases may be associated with hiccups:


  • Cysts in the neck
  • Diabetes
  • Ebola
  • Encephalitis
  • Goiter
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Laryngitis
  • Meningitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cervical cancer


Remember that this is not an exhaustive list and it is highly recommended to consult your doctor, in case of symptom’s persistence.


What is the therapy for hiccups?

In most cases, hiccup is resolved by itself. To pass it quickly you can try to breathe in a bag, drink, sip or gargle with a glass of cold water or hold your breath.


If you need a treatment, the doctor will prescribe intake of drugs or, in more complicated cases, recommend the use of more invasive solutions, such as the injection of anesthetics or systems implantation for the stimulation of the vagus nerve. In some cases the use of complementary approaches such as hypnosis and acupuncture.


When is most likely to contact your doctor in case of hiccups?

If symptoms last longer than 48 hours or if it interferes with feeding, sleeping or breathing it is good to seek medical attention