The most common triggers for short-term hiccups include:

  • Eating too much
  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Sudden temperature changes
  • Excitement or emotional stress

Hiccups that last more than 48 hours may be caused by a variety of factors, which are generally grouped into the following categories:

Nerve damage or irritation

The most common cause of long-term hiccups is damage 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 hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum
  • Sore throat or laryngitis
  • A tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck
  • Gastroesophageal reflux

Central nervous system disorders

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:

  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tumors
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Traumatic brain injury

Metabolic disorders and drugs

Long-term hiccups can be triggered by:

  • Alcoholism
  • Anesthesia
  • Barbiturates
  • Diabetes
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Kidney failure
  • Steroids
  • Tranquilizers
Jun. 03, 2011