What causes hiccups ? Causes & Treatments – MedicineNet

What causes hiccups ? Causes & Treatments – MedicineNet


What causes hiccups? Hiccups are an inspiratory sound that results from the sudden, involuntary, and intermittent contraction of the inspiratory diaphragm and muscles. It is a common problem, but annoying. Learn how to stop it.

The hypo , which medicine is called singulto consists of an inspiratory sound produced as a result of the sudden, involuntary contraction, and intermittent diaphragm (a muscle that is in the base of the lungs) which causes the epiglottis closing, causing the typical hic soundĀ  .

Hiccups, which usually start for no apparent reason and usually go away within a few minutes, can affect people of all ages; in fact, even fetuses can hiccup, and it’s very common in babies up to six months of age, which is often a concern for new parents.

If it lasts less than 48 hours, it is considered a recurrent hiccup or hiccup attack, it is called persistent if it lasts more than 48 hours but less than a month, and it is diagnosed as refractory or rebellious if it lasts for more than a month, in which case it is It is necessary to consult a doctor to investigate its possible causes.

Why do we have hiccups?

The diaphragm descends when we inhale so that the lungs fill with air, and rises when we exhale to facilitate the exit of air from the lungs. When this mechanism is altered and the diaphragm rises or falls earlier than normal, breathing becomes different, causing hiccups.

Hiccups are usually a temporary and benign disorder, which barely lasts a few minutes and resolves spontaneously, but in exceptional cases it can last for days, weeks, or months, becoming then refractory or rebellious hiccups , which need medical attention because it may have its origin in gastric, thoracic, metabolic or neurological disorders, and even be a symptom of diseases such as stomach ulcer , esophagitis or pancreatitis , among others.

Some possible causes of hiccups are:

  1. Eating too much or too fast.
  2. Drink carbonated drinks.


  1. Consume alcohol or tobacco


  1. Irritation of the diaphragm.
  2. Stomach disorders.
  3. States of nervousness or excitement.
  4. Abdominal surgery
  5. Eating spicy or highly seasoned foods or liquids .
  6. Having any disease or disorder that irritates the nerves that control the diaphragm.
  7. How to stop hiccups
  8. There are no specific or scientifically proven measures to curb hiccups, and what works for some people may not help others at all, but some suggestions you could try are:



Have a glass of cold water.

Drink water bending your body forward.

Hold your breath and then breathe out slowly, repeating the process several times.

Take a tablespoon of sugar.

Breathing repeatedly into a paper bag.

Take a teaspoon of lemon or a little vinegar.

Get scared when you find yourself off guard (although this may not be recommended for some people, and should not be done with children).

Medications (should only be administered in case of persistent hiccups and under medical prescription).

Hiccups in babies

In the case of babies , experts explain that there are no remedies to stop hiccups and you have to wait patiently for them to pass spontaneously. It is considered harmless for the little ones, but if the child has frequent or very prolonged hiccups (half an hour or more) it is advisable to consult with the pediatrician to rule out that it is a digestive, respiratory or neurological problem.

Interestingly, hiccups could play a role in neonates, as a study by scientists from the Department of Research in Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at University College London (UCL) found that every time a newborn has hiccups it triggers a great wave of brain signals that could help the baby learn to regulate his breathing .

The research, published inĀ  Clinical Psychophysiology , included 13 newborn babies who had persistent hiccups. The children were both premature and term infants , with a gestational age of between 30 and 42 weeks and underwent electroencephalography to record their brain activity, placing them electrodes on the scalp.

The researchers found that contractions of the diaphragm muscles as a result of hiccups elicited an intense response in the brain’s cortex, specifically, two large brain waves followed by a third. Since the third brain wave is similar to the one that generates a sound, this would allow the newborn’s brain to relate the sound of hiccups with the sensation of the muscular contraction of the diaphragm.

According to Dr. Lorenzo Fabrizi, lead author of the work, hiccups could be helping the baby’s brain learn to control the respiratory muscles, since breathing can be controlled voluntarily with the upward and downward movement of the diaphragm. This expert adds that when we are born the circuits that process bodily sensations are not fully developed, so creating these connections is key in the proper development of newborns.

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