During the physical exam, your health care provider may perform a neurological exam to check your:
- Balance and coordination.
- Muscle strength and tone.
- Sight and sense of touch.
If your health care provider thinks that an underlying medical condition may be causing your hiccups, the provider may recommend one or more of the following tests.
Samples of your blood may be checked for signs of diabetes, infection or kidney disease.
Imaging tests may be able to detect issues inside your body that may be affecting your diaphragm or the nerve that controls your diaphragm, called the phrenic nerve. Or these tests may show issues with a main nerve in your nervous system, called the vagus nerve. Imaging tests may include a chest X-ray, a CT or an MRI.
These procedures use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope that contains a tiny camera that is passed down your throat and into your esophagus, sometimes called your food pipe. The purpose is to check for issues in your esophagus or your windpipe.
Most cases of hiccups go away on their own without medical treatment. If an underlying medical condition is causing your hiccups, treating that condition may stop the hiccups.
If your hiccups last longer than two days, medicines or certain procedures may be needed.
Drugs used to treat long-term hiccups include baclofen, chlorpromazine and metoclopramide.
If less invasive treatments aren't effective, your health care provider may recommend an injection of an anesthetic to block your phrenic nerve to stop hiccups.
Another option is to surgically implant a battery-operated device to deliver mild electrical stimulation to your vagus nerve. This procedure is most commonly used to treat epilepsy, but it also has helped control long-term hiccups.
Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this condition.
Lifestyle and home remedies
There's no certain way to stop hiccups. But if your hiccups last longer than a few minutes, these home remedies may provide relief, although they are not proven:
- Breathe into a paper bag.
- Gargle with ice water.
- Hold your breath.
- Sip cold water.
If you have ongoing hiccups, lifestyle changes may help, such as:
- Avoiding carbonated beverages and foods that give you gas.
- Eating smaller meals.
When long-term hiccups don't respond to other remedies, alternative treatments, such as hypnosis and acupuncture, may help.
Preparing for your appointment
You may initially talk with your family health care provider about your ongoing hiccups. Your health care provider may refer you to a specialist if you have long-term or severe hiccups.
What you can do
Consider writing a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms.
- Information about health problems you've had.
- Information about your parents' or siblings' health problems.
- The medications and dietary supplements you take.
- Questions you want to ask your health care provider.
What to expect from your health care provider
Your health care provider may ask:
- When did your hiccups start?
- How often do they happen?
- What worsens or relieves them?
- What medicines are you taking?
- Have you had a sore throat or earache?
- Do you have indigestion symptoms or bloating?
- Have you had a sore throat or changes in your voice?
- Have you had chest pain, a cough or difficulty breathing?
- Do you have headaches or other symptoms that might be linked to your brain or nervous system?
Preparing for questions will help you make the most of your time with your health care provider.