We are experiencing exceptionally high volumes in our emergency rooms.
Every patient is important to us, and we are doing all we can to provide care quickly and efficiently.
Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

What Causes Hiccups?

"Hic!" You've just hiccuped for what seems like the tenth time since you finished your big dinner. Wonder where these funny noises are coming from? The part to blame is your diaphragm (say: DIE-uh-fram). This is a dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of your chest, and all hiccups start here.

The diaphragm almost always works perfectly. When you inhale, it pulls down to help pull air into the lungs. When you exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and air flows out of the lungs back out through the nose and mouth.

But sometimes the diaphragm becomes irritated. When this happens, it pulls down in a jerky way, which makes you suck air into your throat suddenly. When the air rushing in hits your voice box, your vocal cords close suddenly and you're left with a big hiccup.

Some things that irritate the diaphragm are eating too quickly or too much, an irritation in the stomach or the throat, or feeling nervous or excited. Almost all cases of the hiccups last only a few minutes. Some cases of the hiccups can last for days or even months, but this is very unusual and it's usually a sign of another medical problem.

You've probably heard lots of suggestions for how to get rid of hiccups, and maybe you've even tried a few. Holding your breath and counting to 10 is one way some people can get rid of their hiccups. Other people say that drinking from the "wrong" side of a glass of water is the way to become hiccup-free.

Putting sugar under your tongue might work, too. And maybe the most famous treatment — having someone jump out and scare you when you're not expecting it — helps some people wave goodbye to their hiccups. Boo!

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.