Hiccups are automatic contractions of the diaphragm muscle which causes regular gulping movements. They usually occur without warning. There are no particular tests used to diagnose hiccups. Hiccups may result from overeating, drinking carbonated drinks or alcohol, sudden changes in temperature, eating spicy foods, or using tobacco. Here are some popular remedies that may stop a bout of hiccups:

  • Gargling ice water.

  • Swallowing granulated sugar.

  • Biting on a lemon.

  • Holding your breath, breathing fast, or breathing into a paper bag.

  • Bearing down.

  • Gasping after a sudden fright.

  • Pulling your tongue gently.

  • Distraction.

Hiccups are usually considered harmless and do not point to a serious medical condition. However, there can be underlying medical problems that may cause hiccups, such as pneumonia, diabetes, metabolic problems, tumors, abdominal infections or injuries, and neurologic problems. You must follow up with your caregiver if your symptoms persist or become a frequent problem.


  • Hiccups last for more than 48 hours.

  • You are given medicine but your hiccups do not get better.

  • New symptoms show up.

  • You cannot sleep or eat due to the hiccups.

  • You have unexpected weight loss.

  • You have trouble breathing or swallowing.

  • You develop severe pain in your abdomen or other areas.

  • You develop numbness, tingling, or weakness.