John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
What are hiccups?
A hiccup is a sudden, involuntary contraction (spasm) of the diaphragm muscle. When the muscle spasms, the vocal cords snap shut, producing the hiccup sound.
Hiccups are often rhythmic. They are usually just a temporary minor annoyance, but prolonged hiccups may signal a major medical problem.
What causes hiccups?
Most of the time, there is no obvious cause for hiccups. However, there are some common known causes of hiccups.
Some causes of hiccups include:
- Eating too quickly and swallowing air along with foods.
- Eating too much (fatty or spicy foods, in
particular) or drinking too much (carbonated beverages or alcohol) can distend
the stomach and irritate
the diaphragm, which can cause hiccups.
- Any disease or disorder that irritates the nerves that control the diaphragm
(such as liver disease,
pneumonia, or other lung
- Abdominal surgery can also irritate the nerves that control the diaphragm,
- Strokes or
brain tumors involving the
brain stem, and some
chronic medical disorders (such as
renal failure) have also been reported to cause hiccups.
- Some medications may also have hiccups as a side effect, for example:
- Noxious fumes can also trigger hiccups.
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