Imagine you are in the middle of a job interview or a much-awaited date, and you start hiccupping. Ah, once, it would be funny, twice maybe hilarious, and anything more than that is usually just annoying.
Hiccups are incessant, uncontrollable contractions of the diaphragm-the muscle that parts the chest from the abdomen and plays a vital role in breathing. When the diaphragm contracts, the lungs take in oxygen. When the diaphragm relaxes, the lungs release the carbon dioxide. Each diaphragm contraction is trailed by a sudden closure of vocal cords, producing the rhythm called hiccups (1)
There are many reasons that lead to hiccups, some of them are physical, and some are emotional (1,2). Few such reasons include:
For most people, a stretch of hiccups usually lasts a few minutes. Rarely, hiccups persist for longer duration but if it does, it may be because of:
The research revealed that in addition to the above reasons, the consumption of drugs like steroids or some sedatives can also trigger long-term hiccups. And sometimes certain procedures, requiring general anesthesia, can also lead to hiccups (2,3)
So, if your hiccupping is interfering with your normal eating, sleeping, breathing, etc. or if it lasts for more than 2 days, you should talk to your doctor immediately
To know more about hiccups, stay tuned to our next blog…
Written by Dr. Shikha Sharma, Reviewed by Dr. Harshi Dhingra