Hiccups are repetitive, uncontrolled involuntary contractions of diaphragm, a muscle just below your lungs. It marks the boundary between chest and abdomen.

Closure of vocal cords lead to a characteristic sound and when your airway closes you get "hic" sound.

Physiology of hiccups

The phrenic nerve is responsible for the hiccup. Stimulation by the nerve causes spasm of the diaphragm and the sound heard occurs when the diaphragm contracts and pulls air against closed larynx

Why do we hiccup : Causes

  • Rapidly eating

  • laughing

  • getting a lot of air in

  • Galping down big drinks. especially carbonated ones

  • Suddenly excited or scared

Also caused by some pathological disease include

Respiratory disease .like pneumonia or pleurisy of diaphragm

Foods like Hot or spicy food that irritates the phrenic nerve which is near esophagus

In rare, they can caused by something like stroke or tumor

Liver masses can cause irritation of the diaphragm can cause hiccups

Medications that can lead to hiccups

  1. Diazepam/valium

  2. alprazolam

  3. lorazepam

  4. corticosteroid

If your hiccups persist long you should definitely consult a doctor because scientifically hiccups can also be caused by the result of gastritis, stroke and tumor. So if you visit a doctor at correct time you can treat pathology and hence hiccup. Then you can live a great life

Home remedies to get rid of hiccups

  • Hold your breath for several seconds or longer

  • Pop your ears along with Valsalva maneuver- breath out against your closed mouth and nose

  • Pull on your tongue for some time

  • breath into a paper bag

  • Drink a glass of water quickly

  • Eating peanut butter

  • Swallowing granulated sugar

  • Biting and licking on lemon

  • Drink a glass of water which will stimulate the nose and throat

  • Do something which will excite the patient and suddenly to stop breath

Hiccups in Newborns

Most babies get hiccups in first year of their life and is generally not a cause for concern.

During feeding air gets trapped in their little stomach and cause then to hiccup. Also many mothers can feel their infants hiccupping inside the womb during their pregnancy period and have felt like quick, rhythmic jerks in uterus.

If hiccups happens frequently in newborn this may be due to gastroesophageal reflux (baby heartburn). This occurs when partially digested food and stomach acid come back through the food pipe. As these things pass the diaphragm and irritate phrenic nerve and triggers hiccup

How to prevent newborn hiccups

  • Burp the baby during feeding to reduce amount of air in their stomach

  • Feed your baby in upright position.

  • Do not lay the baby after breastfeeding

  • Hold your baby upright for 20 minutes after each feed

  • Do not overfeed the baby.

  • ensuring the baby's mouth and bottle so that no air get trapped inside

How to stop hiccups in newborns

  • Make them laugh

  • do something silly so they forget these hiccups

  • do something exciting the baby suddenly to stop their breath

  • using a pacifier

  • rubbing the back of the baby

Hiccups in animals

Hiccups also can happen in any animal that has diaphragm, a separator muscular sheet or membrane between the organs of breathing and the organ of digestion. That's why animals hiccups just as humans do

Although the physiology of animals is entirely different from humans, that's why hiccups they produce won't necessarily same sound

Also animals lacking the breathing apparatus don't hiccup For eg. birds, reptiles, and amphibians which breath other means of muscular contraction can't hiccup


  • Eating - cant eat when you hiccup, it may lead to stuck the foods in lungs

  • Sleeping - Prolonged hiccups persist during sleeping hours, it is very hard to gain continuous sleep

  • Speech - Difficult for person to speak

  • Delayed wound healing - when you continuously hiccupping your body also shake so its very difficult to heal your post surgical wounds


Medications for severe or chronic hiccups

Chlorpromazine - First line treatment



deforming agents

Muscle relaxants - Baclofen

Proton pump inhibitors - to treat gastroesophageal reflex, which promotes hiccups

Prolonged severe hiccups are treated by surgically crushing phrenic nerve that innervates the diaphragm

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