Hiccups occur when a spasm contracts the diaphragm. This is a large sheet of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The spasm causes an intake of breath that is suddenly stopped by the closure of the vocal cords. This closure causes the "hiccup" sound.
A very full stomach can cause hiccups. This can happen when your child eats too much food too quickly or swallows too much air. These hiccups will stop on their own.
Most hiccups go away on their own within a few minutes to a few hours and don't require any treatment.
Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours are called persistent hiccups. Hiccups that last longer than a month are called intractable hiccups. Both kinds of hiccups may be a sign of a more serious health problem. Your child may get tests to help find the cause.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 20, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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