What Causes Hiccups?

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What is a Hiccup?

Hiccups are the result of an involuntary spasm of your diaphragm, which is a muscle in your chest that plays a role in breathing. As your diaphragm tightens, the space between your vocal cords closes, leading to the characteristic "hic" sound.

There is no definitive cause for hiccups, although there are some things that are linked with hiccups. Some of these things are:
  • 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
Prolonged hiccups can lead to things like insomnia and depression. Cases of hiccups that last more than 48 hours should be referred to a doctor.
There are many things that are known to help patients get rid of hiccups. For prolonged cases of hiccups, drugs such as muscle relaxants can be prescribed. Most cases of hiccups resolve without treatment. Some causes of hiccups can be avoided, such as alcohol and eating too quickly.
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Other Facts About Hiccups

1. There was a man in Bristol who had hiccups for 27 years.
2. The longest recorded case of hiccups lasted 68 years. They stopped about a year before he died.
3. A man in England had a case of hiccups for 3 years that caused him to loose his job as a singer. He also had a hard time sleeping because of the hiccups.


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