Overview

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 or carbonated 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 weight loss and exhaustion.

May 24, 2017
References
  1. Bope ET, et al. Symptomatic care pending diagnosis. In: Conn's Current Therapy 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 6, 2017.
  2. Walsh D, et al. Hiccups. In: Palliative Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 6, 2017.
  3. Lembo AJ. Overview of hiccups. http://uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 6, 2017.
  4. Steger M, et al. Systemic review: The pathogenesis and pharmacological treatment of hiccups. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2015;42:1037.