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Hiccups (cont.)


What are symptoms of hiccups?

Hiccups can be described as brief, irritable spasms of the diaphragm that can occur for a few seconds or minutes. They infrequently last longer in normal individuals without any underlying medical problem.

What kind of a doctor treats someone with hiccups?

Because hiccups are rarely a medical emergency, you will likely first consult your family practitioner or internist. Children may see their pediatrician.

In the case of an emergency as described above you may see an emergency medicine specialist in a hospital's emergency department.

Other specialists who may be involved in treating hiccups include an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat specialist, or ENT), a gastroenterologist (a specialist in the digestive tract), a neurologist (a specialist in the brain and nervous system), a pulmonologist (a lung specialist), or a psychologist.

When should a person seek medical care for hiccups?

A person should see a doctor if the hiccups become chronic and persistent (if they last more than 3 hours), or if they affect sleeping patterns, interfere with eating, or cause reflux of food or vomiting.

Hiccups is rarely a medical emergency. If hiccups last for more than 3 hours, occur with severe abdominal pain, fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, spitting up blood, or feeling as if the throat is going to close up, the person should seek medical attention.

How is the cause of hiccups diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on physical evaluation. Laboratory testing is rarely necessary unless the hiccups are suspected to be a symptom of an associated medical condition. The tests to diagnose the associated medical condition will be done and tests will vary according to the associated condition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015

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Hiccups »

The term "hiccup" derives from the sound of the event. "Hiccough" erroneously implies an association with respiratory reflexes.

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