Although pretty much everyone at some point in their lives has experienced hiccups, not everyone knows exactly what causes hiccups. Hiccups are, in essence, involuntary diaphragm spasms. The sudden diaphragm contractions rapidly shut down the vocal cords, which then causes the identifiable hiccuping sound to occur. In general, hiccups last for just a few minutes at a time. It can be helpful to understand and be aware of the primary causes of hiccups in order to perhaps avoid having to experience them in the future!
- The most common causes of hiccups are simple dietary issues that can usually be easily resolved. These include excessive eating and eating at too quick of a pace. Fast eating can cause you to swallow air, which then leads to hiccups. Other very common hiccups causes include drinking too much alcohol, emotional stress (such as anger) and rapid changes in temperature (like going outside into the cold from a heated building). Consumption of especially fatty or spicy foods also triggers hiccups. Another very common hiccups cause is noxious fumes (such as brand new paint on the walls of a house).
- Hiccups, as harmless as they may usually seem, also can occasionally be a sign of a serious condition that involves the central nervous system. Infections, trauma-induced damage and tumors of the system can all change the body's handling of the hiccup movement. These disorders include multiple sclerosis, stroke, encephalitis and meningitis.
- Any drugs and disorders that are associated with the metabolism could also bring upon hiccups. Drugs that could cause hiccups include steroids, barbiturates and tranquilizers. As for metabolic conditions that could cause hiccups, they include diabetes and failure of the kidneys.
- Abdominal surgery is often conducted on individuals that are suffering from disorders that are related to the abdominal cavity. In some situations, people experience excessive hiccups after having this surgery completed.