Hiccups are involuntary spasms of the diaphragm, the muscle that connects your chest and abdomen and controls your breathing.
Each contraction is followed by an abrupt closing of your vocal cords, resulting in the “hic” sound. A case of hiccups normally lasts only a few minutes for most people.
Hiccups might last for months in rare cases. This might lead to weight loss as well as tiredness.
A symptom is hiccupping. A mild tightness sensation in your chest, belly, or throat may accompany it at times.
When should you see a doctor?
If your hiccups linger longer than 48 hours or are so severe that they interfere with eating, sleeping, or breathing, make an appointment with your doctor.
The following are the most common causes of hiccups that persist less than 48 hours:
• Consumption of carbonated beverages
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Consuming excessive amounts of food
• Emotional stress or excitement
• Extreme temperature swings
• Chewing gum or sucking on candy to inhale air
Hiccups that persist longer than 48 hours can be caused by a number of different things, which can be classified into the following categories.
Irritation or nerve injury
Damage to or irritation of the vagus or phrenic nerves, which serve the diaphragm muscle, is a cause of long-term hiccups.
These nerves can be damaged or irritated by a variety of factors, including:
• Your eardrum is being touched by a hair or something else in your ear.
• You have a neck tumor, cyst, or goiter.
• GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
• Laryngitis or a sore throat
Disorders of the central nervous system
Your body’s natural control of the hiccup reflex can be disrupted by a tumor or infection in your central nervous system, or damage to your central nervous system as a result of trauma.
Here are several examples:
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Hiccups that last a long time can be caused by:
• Electrolyte deficiency
• Kidney problems
Factors that are at risk
Men are far more prone than women to acquire long-term problems. Other variables that may make you more susceptible to hiccups include:
• Emotional or mental problems
Short-term and long-term hiccups have been linked to anxiety, stress, and excitement in some cases.
After receiving general anesthesia or surgeries involving abdominal organs, some people get hiccups.