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Hiccups: Causes, treatment, and complications

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Added by admin in Health
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Description

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.

Causes

The most common triggers for hiccups that last less than 48 hours include:

  • Drinking carbonated beverages

  • Drinking too much alcohol

  • Eating too much

  • Excitement or emotional stress

  • Sudden temperature changes

  • Swallowing air with chewing gum or sucking on candy

Hiccups that last more than 48 hours may be caused by a variety of factors, which can be grouped into the following categories.

Nerve damage or irritation

A cause of long-term hiccups is damage to or irritation of the vagus nerves or phrenic nerves, which serve the diaphragm muscle. Factors that may cause damage or irritation to these nerves include:

  • A hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum

  • A tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck

  • Gastroesophageal reflux

  • Sore throat or laryngitis

Central nervous system disorders

A tumor or infection in your central nervous system or damage to your central nervous system as a result of trauma can disrupt your body's normal control of the hiccup reflex. Examples include:

  • Encephalitis

  • Meningitis

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Stroke

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Tumors

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