Hiccups are spasms of the diaphragm muscle. They are repeated and cannot be controlled. This results in an odd, sometimes uneasy gasping sensation and sound with each hiccup.
Hiccups are common. There are many possible causes, including:
Phrenic Nerve and Diaphragm
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Call your doctor if your hiccups:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may need tests if the doctor is concerned that the hiccups may be caused by a condition. These tests might include:
Many treatments for hiccups involve stimulating nerves that may be involved. This can be done by:
Some drugs may help hiccups, including:
It is not known why some people get hiccups. There are no sure ways to prevent developing them. However, if you are prone to hiccups, you might want to avoid:
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Library of Medicine
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Hiccups. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated January 25, 2012. Accessed December 3, 2012.
What causes hiccups? KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/hiccup.html . Updated October 2011. Accessed December 3, 2012.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2013