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Hiccups may result from a large meal, alcoholic beverages or sudden excitement. In some cases, hiccups may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. For most people, a bout of hiccups usually lasts only a few minutes. Rarely, hiccups may persist for months. This can result in malnutrition and exhaustion.
Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm – the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic "hic" sound.
Lifestyle and home remedies Although there's no certain way to stop hiccups, if you have a bout of hiccups that lasts longer than a few minutes, the following home remedies may provide relief, although they are unproven:
Breathe into a paper bag
Gargle with ice water
Hold your breath
Sip cold water
You may be able to decrease the frequency of hiccups by avoiding common hiccup triggers, such as:
Eating large meals
Drinking carbonated beverages or alcohol
Sudden changes in temperature
Excitement or emotional stress
Alternative medicine When long-term hiccups don't respond to other remedies, alternative treatments, such as hypnosis and acupuncture, may be helpful.
When to see a doctor Make an appointment to see your doctor if your hiccups last more than 48 hours or if they are so severe that they cause problems with eating, sleeping or breathing.
Lab tests are an important way that medical providers monitor your health. In fact, they make up about 70 percent of your medical record. Given that getting your blood drawn is so common, it is helpful to know more about the process.
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