Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic \”hic\” sound. Hiccups may result from a large meal, alcoholic or carbonated beverages or sudden excitement. In some cases, hiccups may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. For most people, a bout of hiccups usually lasts only a few minutes. Rarely, hiccups may persist for months. This can result in weight loss and exhaustion. Hiccupping is a symptom. It may sometimes be accompanied by a slight tightening sensation in your chest, abdomen or throat.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if your hiccups last more than 48 hours or if they are so severe that they cause problems with eating, sleeping or breathing. Hiccups that last more than 48 hours may be caused by a variety of factors, which can be grouped into the following categories. A cause of long-term hiccups is damage to or irritation of the vagus nerves or phrenic nerves, which serve the diaphragm muscle. Factors that may cause damage or irritation to these nerves include:
A tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck 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: Men are much more likely to develop long-term hiccups than are women. Other factors that may increase your risk of hiccups include: Mental or emotional issues. Anxiety, stress and excitement have been associated with some cases of short-term and long-term hiccups. Surgery. Some people develop hiccups after undergoing general anesthesia or after procedures that involve abdominal organs. Most people get hiccups sometimes. They should only last a few minutes в you can usually wait for them to go away or treat them yourself without seeing a GP. Although many people find these things helpful, there\’s no evidence that they work for everyone.
There\’s often no obvious reason why you get hiccups, but some people find certain things trigger their hiccups, such as: strong emotions, like excitement In rare cases, hiccups that last longer than 48 hours can be due to a medical condition or a medicine you\’re taking. Your GP will want to find out if your hiccups are caused by a health condition or medication you\’re taking в treating the condition or changing your medicine should stop your hiccups. If there\’s no obvious cause, they might be able to prescribe medicine to treat your hiccups. This doesn\’t work for everyone.