Hiccups are caused by a sudden and involuntary contraction of the diaphragm.  The actual reason for hiccups is not known. Hiccups usually last only a few minutes and there are few tricks to stop it.

Usually, the diaphragm contracts slowly and steadily, filling the lungs with air. If you hiccup, the contraction is sudden and air is sucked into the lungs rapidly. The throat closes up and the flow of air to the lungs abruptly stops. The typical sound of hiccups is caused by the sudden closure of vocal cords. Hiccups may be triggered by an irritation to the oesophagus or stomach:

  • ​eating too fast or too much at a time.
  • eating food that is too hot or cold.
  • flatulence.
  • carbonated drinks.
  • heavy use of alcohol.
  • gastric acid travels upwards to the oesophagus due to gastric reflux.


​Hiccups usually last only a few minutes and go away of their own accord.  If hiccups persist you can try the following home remedies:​

  • ​drink water from the opposite side of the cup
  • ​hold your breath as long as you can.
  • ​​slowly swallow a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
  • ​blow into a paper bag.

When should you seek medical advice?

​You should seek medical advice, if​

  • If the hiccups persist over 2 days 
  • if you get hiccups frequently and they disrupt your normal life.​​

More information

The producers of the instruction

​​​​Emergency care professionals have produced the instruction in collaboration with Terveyskirjasto.​


Updated  22.4.2021