What is Hiccup?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is when the diaphragm contracts involuntarily and the vocal cords close, causing the characteristic sound of this anomaly. Its causes range from a sudden emotional shock, excess food, and drinking alcoholic or carbonated soft drinks, to the point of being a sign of an underlying disease. Hiccups usually last a few minutes, but in some cases, they can last for hours or days. Prolonged and persistent hiccups, more common in men, can affect nutrition, speech, sleep, and healing. If the hiccups last more than two days, the causes vary and are grouped as follows:

Nerve damage:

When the vagal nerves of the diaphragm are injured or altered. It can be due to issues such as:

  • Neck tumors.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux.
  • Laryngitis.
  • Objects that touch the tympanic membrane.
  • Goiter.

Nervous system disorders:

  • Stroke.
  • Brain trauma.
  • Tumor.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Meningitis.
  • Multiple sclerosis.

Metabolic disorders and substances:

  • Diabetes.
  • Loss of electrolytes.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Steroids.
  • A
  • Alcohol.
  • Anesthetics.
  • Sedatives

Signs and symptoms Hiccup

The hiccup itself is the symptom, although it can sometimes appear along with these others:

  • Slight tightness in the chest.
  • Throat tremor.
  • Mild abdominal discomfort.

When the hiccups last for more than two days or if it’s intense, see your doctor immediately.

Diagnosis and treatment Hiccup

Once the doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination that will include a neurological approach to check:

  • Reflexes.
  • Tactile response.
  • Visual acuity.
  • Sense of balance.
  • Coordination.
  • Muscle tone and strength.

If there are signs of an underlying condition, your doctor will order blood tests and imaging studies such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.

Normally, there is no need to receive treatment for hiccups, but when it lasts too long, you can receive pharmacological treatment, or use a surgical procedure to correct any anatomical abnormality that causes it.

In case the hiccups are a symptom of another illness, this should be treated first.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • cun.es
  • topdoctors.es
  • cigna.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Ezquerra-Osorio A, Vergara-Suárez A. Singultus, an update in causes, diagnostic protocol and treatment. Med Int Mex. 2021;37(1):78-85.
  • Pabón-Moreno A, Gaitán-Quintero GA, Beltrán-Carrascal EJ, et al. Síndrome del área postrema. Med Int Mex. 2021;37(4):613-618.
  • Boland-Rodríguez E, Estrada-Jaime MA, Soto-Salazar LG. Singultus as initial symptom of infection due to SARS-CoV-2. Med Int Mex. 2020;36(5):745-748.

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    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.