What Is A Hiccups: Is it Contagious?, Congenital Disease, and Can It Happen To Animals?

Almost everyone must have had a hiccup. The condition that is accompanied by the sound of ‘hik’ certainly makes us feel uncomfortable and immediately drink water to relieve it. Actually What Is A Hiccups: Is it Contagious?, Congenital Disease, and Can It Happen To Animals?

By listening to this article, you’ll know how to stop the hiccups that occur constantly. You may also wonder why you got this. What happens when you hiccup?


What Is A Hiccups?

Hiccups, otherwise known as singultus in medical language, are ‘hik’ sounds that appear accidentally when the diaphragm muscles tense or contract uncontrollably. The diaphragm itself is a dividing muscle of the chest and abdominal cavity that plays an important role in human breathing.

As a result, air enters the lungs suddenly. This causes the respiratory valve to close very quickly, resulting in a pinched sound.


Is it Contagious?

Hiccups usually only last for a few minutes and do not harm health. However, in some cases, hiccups can occur continuously and do not stop for several days, even months. This could indicate another health problem.


What are the causes of hiccups? Can it be caused by a congenital disease?

Hiccups can happen because of things. Starting from the problem of body organs, nerves, to the type of medicines commonly consumed.

Causes of mild hiccups

Mild hiccups are usually caused by the following:

  • Drink fizzy drinks
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating too much
  • Emotional excitement or stress
  • Sudden temperature changes
  • Swallowing air while chewing gum or sucking candy


Causes of unnatural hiccups

The cause of unnatural hiccups is common in people who have several disease problems suffered. This can last up to 48 hours or more.

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Various triggers that result in hiccups with long intensity, including:

Brain problems

The condition of the brain’s troubled blood vessels can lead to impaired brain function. This affects the appearance of hiccups lasting for up to days. Some diseases due to vascular problems, among others:

  • Stroke
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Brain aneurysm


Problems with the peripheral nervous system

Long-term hiccups can also be caused by damage or irritation to the peripheral nervous system. This affects the movement of the diaphragm muscles.


Abnormalities in the digestive system

Hiccups are conditions that are likely to be closely related to digestive system problems, such as:


Increase in stomach acid

  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Tumor or esophageal cancer


Postoperative hiccups

Some cases of diaphragm muscle tightening occur after surgery. The use of anesthesia before surgery can lead to prolonged hiccup conditions. However, until now it has not been ascertained whether the condition arises as a result of the operation itself or triggered by the use of anesthetics.


Metabolic system abnormalities

The body’s troubled metabolic system can be the cause of long-term hiccups. Diseases related to the body’s metabolic system are diabetes and kidney failure.


Consumption of certain medications

Here are the drugs that can trigger the appearance of hiccups:

  • Parkinson’s Treatment
  • morphine
  • Steroids
  • Azithromycin
  • Aripiprazole


However, there are times when the condition is caused by other health problems and symptoms continue to appear even more than 48 hours. The doctor will usually prescribe the following medications for hiccups that never go away:

  • Chlorpromazine
  • Gabapentin
  • Simethicone
  • Prokinetic drugs
  • Baclofen
  • Nifedipine
  • Midazolam
  • Methylphenidate
  • Lidocaine
  • Sertraline


How to get rid of hiccups?

Usually, this condition can disappear on its own without the need for medical help or treatment.

Here’s how to get rid of hiccups you can try:

Holding your breath

Holding your breath is one of the most popular ways of coping with hiccups. Here’s how to hold your breath to overcome hiccups:

  • Take a deep breath through the nose, then hold your breath for about 10 seconds.
  • Then, exhale gently and repeat 3-4 times.
  • Repeat these steps every 20 minutes if the hiccups you experience never go away.
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Breathe with a paper bag

You can use a blank paper bag that is quite thick, such as a paper bag. Then, follow the steps below:

  • Attach the neck of the paper bag to the area of your mouth and nose, not to the entire face.
  • Make sure the entire mouth and nose area are covered with paper bags.
  • Breathe in the paper bag.

Breathing in a paper bag makes you over time inhale carbon dioxide. As a result, the previously contracted diaphragm muscles will relax again.


Gargle with water

You can gargle with water for 30 seconds to pump the diaphragm work.


Drink a quick glass of water

You can stop hiccups by drinking a glass of water fast. Just grab a glass of water and drink nine or ten sips quickly.

What Is A Hiccups: Is it Contagious?, Congenital Disease, and Can It Happen To Animals?

Why can hiccups happen constantly?

The cause of persistent hiccups can occur due to inflammation, injury, or tumors in the brain. Therefore, chronic hiccups will usually disappear after the brain tumor patient undergoes brain stem lesion surgery.


How are hiccups diagnosed?

Temporary hiccups will disappear on their own without further examination or treatment. Meanwhile, prolonged hiccups require further examination to find out the cause.

First of all, the doctor will perform a physical examination on the patient, especially a neural examination related to balance and coordination, muscle strength, reflexes, sensory nerves, and vision.

Several supporting examinations are needed to find the cause of hiccups, namely:

Blood test

You should look for signs of infection to trigger hiccups.


Imaging tests

To detect the presence of abnormalities that affect the nerves. Some types of imaging tests can be done, namely X-rays, CT scans, or MRI.

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To view the condition of the esophagus and respiratory tract.


Electrocardiography (ECG)

To check for heart conditions.


What are the complications that arise from hiccups?

In general, this condition does not harm health, especially the type that is still relatively mild. However, you need to be aware of the condition lasts chronically or persistently for more than 48 hours.

Complications arising from long-term hiccups include:

Weight loss and dehydration

If this condition occurs for a long time and has a short pause, you may have difficulty eating and drinking normally.



If hiccups continue to occur, even while you are asleep, you will likely have trouble sleeping and continue to wake up at night.



Chronic hiccups are very tiring for the body, especially if the condition affects your diet and drinking.


Difficulty communicating

Not only eating and drinking, but this condition may also disrupt your communication with others.



Clinical depression is another complication that is likely to stem from persistent hiccups.


Longer wound recovery

Persistent hiccups can cause postoperative wounds to take longer to recover. This certainly increases the risk of infection or bleeding after surgery.


Can It Happen To Animals?

Just like humans, hiccups can occur in all animals that have a diaphragm as a separator between respiratory organs and digestive organs, including all mammals. However, because animal and human physiology are different, the hiccups they produce do not always sound the same.

When animals hiccup, the acoustic properties of their organs affect how this disorder sounds.


Hiccups in Cats

Cats have hiccups, usually experienced as children. Sometimes, when eating, an adult cat will make audible hiccups.


Hiccups on Horses

Hiccups on Horses are called ‘thumps’. His voice is not heard in the throat area, but it is along the chest. This seems to be related to electrolyte imbalance.

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