About Hiccups

A hiccup or hiccough is a myoclonus of the diaphragm that repeats several times per minute. In humans, the abrupt rush of air into the lungs causes the vocal cords to close, creating a "hic" sound. In medicine it is known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF), or singultus, from the Latin singult, "the act of catching one's breath while sobbing". The hiccup is an involuntary action involving a reflex arc. A bout of hiccups, in general, resolves itself without intervention, although many home remedies are often used to attempt to shorten the duration. Medical treatment is occasionally necessary in cases of chronic hiccups. Researchers at the Respiratory Research Group, University of Calgary, Canada, propose that the hiccup is an evolutionary remnant of earlier amphibian respiration; amphibians such as tadpoles gulp air and water across their gills via a rather simple motor reflex akin to mammalian hiccuping.

Contributions by Haakon, Jfdwolff, and GRAHAMUK.

New Questions for Hiccups

See All Questions