Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic "hic" sound.
Hiccups may result from a large meal, alcoholic beverages or sudden excitement. In some cases, hiccups may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. For most people, a bout of hiccups usually lasts only a few minutes. Rarely, hiccups may persist for months. This can result in malnutrition and exhaustion.
May 16, 2014
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- Lembo AJ. Overview of hiccups. http://uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 23, 2014.
- George J, et al. Hyponatremia and hiccups. National Medical Journal of India. 1996;9:107.
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