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.
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