February 7, 2016

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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 disorders).
  • Abdominal surgery can also irritate the nerves that control the diaphragm, causing hiccups.
  • Strokes or brain tumors involving the brain stem, and some chronic medical disorders (such as renal failure) have also been reported to cause hiccups.
  • noxious fumes can also trigger hiccups.
  • sudden changes in temperature
  • fear or excitement

Some medications may also have hiccups as a side effect, for example:

  • medications for acid reflux
  • most benzodiazepines, including diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), and lorazepam (Ativan)
  • levodopa, nicotine, and ondansetron (Zofran)
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Reviewed on 7/15/2015