What causes hiccups?
Hiccups are caused by a spasm in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle between your lower ribs and back that helps you breathe. At times, it can contract quickly, forcing a quick exhalation of air from the lungs. As the air rushes past your vocal cords, they contract, causing a distinct “hiccup” sound.
There are a variety of reasons why hiccups may occur. In some cases, the cause is not known. In other cases, hiccups occur because the phrenic nerve (nerve that controls the diaphragm), the diaphragm, or the lungs become irritated. An illness, such as pneumonia, can irritate the phrenic nerve. Hot, spicy, or very cold food or beverages may irritate the diaphragm. Toxic chemicals from smoke or fumes can irritate the lungs. Each of these irritating factors could trigger hiccups.
Some surgeries can cause hiccups, though the exact reason for this is not known. In rare cases, hiccups can result from injury to a specific part of the brain, particularly due to stroke, trauma or a tumor.
What are the risk factors for hiccups?
A number of factors increase the risk of developing hiccups. Not all people with risk factors will get hiccups. Risk factors include:
- Male gender (males are more likely than females to develop hiccups)
- Recent surgery
- Spicy, hot or cold food or drinks
- Stress, either physical or emotional
What are hiccups?
Hiccups are muscle spasms in your diaphragm that push air past your vocal cords faster than normal, causing them to tighten in response. The result is often a distinct sound, or a “hiccup.”... Read more about hiccups introduction
What are the symptoms of hiccups?
Symptoms of hiccups include a sudden contraction of your belly and chest and a “hiccup” sound. A hiccup can feel like a cross between a burp and a sneeze. It is possible to have hiccups that do not make any sound or hiccups that you can hear but do not feel.... Read more about hiccups symptoms
How are hiccups treated?
There is no cure for hiccups, though there are many anecdotal treatments and cures. In nearly all cases, hiccups disappear and require no treatment. In the case of hiccups caused by another condition, such as a lung infection irritating the phrenic nerve (the nerve that controls the diaphragm), treatment of the underlying condition may prevent the hiccups from continuing.... Read more about hiccups treatments