What Causes Hiccups

December 1, 2023

If you’ve ever wondered where hiccups come from or whether you should be concerned about how often you get hiccups, you’re not alone. Although they can sometimes be irritating or occur at inconvenient times, hiccups are a harmless condition. For same-day illness diagnosis and treatment visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale.

What Causes Hiccups?

Hiccups are the involuntary contraction of your diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle under your lungs that contracts when you inhale to suck air into your lungs and relaxes as you exhale. Normally, your diaphragm contracts around your lungs in a rhythmic pattern naturally. However, certain circumstances can disrupt this rhythm and cause your diaphragm to contract quickly and irregularly, which is called a hiccup.

Unlike other reactions such as sneezing and coughing, there is no known medical reason for hiccups occurring. However, there are a few conditions which are understood to commonly cause hiccups to occur:

  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Stress
  • Eating a large meal
  • Breathing in or swallowing too much air

Does Hiccuping Indicate An Underlying Health Condition?

Although hiccups can be startling, they typically are harmless and resolve on their own. Prolonged hiccups that last for days can indicate an issue that requires medical intervention but those cases are rare. Most cases of the hiccups are both harmless and short lived.

The length of a hiccup spell can vary greatly depending on the person and the underlying cause that is causing the hiccups. Generally, hiccups resolve for most in under an hour. However, they certainly can last longer than that. In some cases, hiccups are silent. While other times they can make a high pitched noise caused by your windpipe closing quickly due to the disruption of airflow.

How To Stop Hiccups

Although your hiccups can be irritating or even embarrassing depending on the setting, they usually resolve on their own after a few minutes. Since medical professionals are unsure of the true purpose behind hiccups, there is no official way to immediately stop the hiccups once they start. However, there are some at home remedies that many believe can help relax the diaphragm and relieve hiccup spells:

  • Breathing into a paper bag for a minute to increase carbon dioxide
  • Lay in the fetal position to compress your lungs
  • Hold your breath for 10 seconds
  • Eat something acidic like lemons
  • Breath deeply for 10 breaths

Since there is no medical known cause of hiccups, it can be difficult to understand how to get them to stop. Patience is sometimes the only resolution to hiccup spells. But, you might want to try these methods to help get your diaphragm to relax and stop contracting.

Visit AFC Urgent Care for Same-Day Illness Care Near Hillsdale, NJ

Most of the time, hiccups are a harmless and unexplainable condition that resolves on its own within an hour. However, persistent hiccup spells that last days can be an indication of an underlying health condition that is causing your diaphragm to contract unwillingly. The medical professionals at AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale can evaluate your symptoms and ensure that your hiccups are not caused by a medical condition and provide lifestyle suggestions to help you avoid hiccup spells in the future.

If you’re suffering from unusual illness symptoms, getting a medical evaluation can help give you peace of mind about your health. At AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale, you never need an appointment to receive prompt medical care from our board-certified medical professionals. Simply walk into our clinic or schedule an appointment online. We accept most medical insurance plans and offer affordable treatment options. For additional questions regarding our clinic, please contact us directly by calling 201-523-9222.

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