St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Hiccups

    Singultus

    A hiccup is an unintentional movement (spasm) of the diaphragm, the muscle at the base of the lungs. The spasm is followed by quick closing of the vocal cords, which produces a distinctive sound.

    Considerations

    Hiccups often start for no apparent reason and usually disappear after a few minutes. In rare cases, hiccups can last for days, weeks, or months. Hiccups are common and normal in newborns and infants.

    Causes

    • Abdominal surgery
    • Disease or disorder that irritates the nerves that control the diaphragm (such as pleurisy or pneumonia)
    • Hot and spicy foods or liquids
    • Harmful fumes
    • Stroke or tumor affecting the brain

    There may be no obvious cause for hiccups.

    Home Care

    There is no sure way to stop hiccups, but there are a number of common suggestions that can be tried:

    • Breathe repeatedly into a paper bag.
    • Drink a glass of cold water.
    • Eat a teaspoon of sugar.
    • Hold your breath.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Contact your health care provider if hiccupsgo onfor more than a few days.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    If hiccupscontinue to the point that you visit your health care provider, a medical history will be taken and a physical examination will be performed.

    Medical history questions may include:

    • Do you get hiccups easily?
    • How long has this episode of hiccups lasted?
    • Didyou recently eat something hot or spicy?
    • Didyou recently drink carbonated beverages?
    • Have you been exposed to any fumes?
    • What have you tried to relieve the hiccups?
    • What has been effective for you in the past?
    • How effective was the attempt?
    • Did the hiccups stop for a while and then restart?
    • Do you haveother symptoms?

    Diagnostic tests are rarely needed unless a disease or disorder is suspected as the cause.

    To treat persistent hiccups, the health care provider may perform gastric lavage or massage of the carotid sinus in the neck. Do not try carotid massage by yourself. This must be done by a health care provider.

    If hiccups continue, medicines may help. Tube insertion (nasogastric intubation) may also help.

    In very rare cases, if medicines or other methods do not work, treatmentsuch asphrenic nerve block may be tried. The phrenic nerve controls the diaphragm.

    References

    Bilotta F, Rosa G. Symptomatic care pending diagnosis; hiccups. In: Bope ET, Kellerman RD, eds. Cohn’s Current Therapy: 2013. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 1.

    BACK TO TOP

          Self Care

            Review Date: 1/22/2013

            Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            History
            Mission
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs
            Assessment

            Newsroom
            Services
            Brain & Spine
            Cancer
            Heart
            Maternity
            Orthopedics
            Pulmonary
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            mystlukes
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Health Risk Assessments
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Volunteer
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            Careers
            Careers
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile