DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
CLICK TO ENLARGE
|Hiccups: What causes them|
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.
Hiccups may result from a large meal, alcoholic beverages or sudden excitement. In some cases, hiccups may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. For most people, a bout of hiccups usually lasts only a few minutes. Rarely, hiccups may persist for months. This can result in malnutrition and exhaustion.
- Bilotta F, et al. Hiccups. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..C2009-0-38984-9--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&about=true&uniqId=236797353-5. Accessed April 13, 2011.
- Smith HS. Hiccups. In: Walsh D. Palliative Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05674-8..50167-5&isbn=978-0-323-05674-8&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05674-8..50167-5&uniqId=239212396-6. Accessed April 13, 2011.
- Lembo AJ. Overview of hiccups. http://uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 13, 2011.