Hiccups are an episode of repeated, uncontrollable spasms of the diaphragm muscle. This results in an odd, sometimes uncomfortable gasping sensation and sound with each hiccup.
Everyone experiences hiccups at one time or another. Some unusual medical conditions result in hiccups that persist for long periods of time and may be very difficult to control.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
Risk factors for hiccups include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. If you have the hiccups, they will be evident during the exam. If the doctor is concerned that the hiccups may be caused by some underlying illness, you may need tests. These tests might include:
Many treatments for hiccups involve stimulating various nerves that may be involved. This can be done by:
It is not known why some people get hiccups and others don't. There are no sure ways to prevent developing this condition. However, if you're prone to hiccups, you might want to avoid:
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Library of Medicine
Canada Health Portal
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment. Lange Medical Books; 2001.
Ferri's Clinical Advisor . Mosby; 2000.
Last reviewed November 2009 by Robert E. Leach, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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