How Long do Hiccups Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: From 1-2 minutes to many years (when it’s chronic)

Who doesn’t get the hiccups now and then? Anyone, at any age, can be affected. They’re harmless, but if they persist for a long period, they could indicate a serious condition. Reasearch says that the longest hiccups lasted for 60 years.

Everyone experiences hiccups at some point in their lives. While hiccups normally go away itself after a few minutes, they can be bothersome and make it difficult to eat and talk. Hiccups are frequently arranged. Hiccups are normally simply a minor irritation, but persistent hiccups can indicate a serious medical concern. The longest hiccup attack ever recorded is six decades!

Hiccups affect both men and women equally, however men are more likely to have hiccups that persist longer than 48 hours. Even when still in the womb, a foetus can have hiccups. Hiccups are known medically as singultus, which originates from the Latin word for “gasp” or “sob.”

How Long do Hiccups Last?

TypeDuration
Normal Hiccups1 minute to an hour
Chronic HiccupsSeveral years

Normal hiccups last only for minutes or sometimes for an hour or two. Contact your doctor if your hiccups linger longer than two days or are severe enough to prevent you from eating, breathing, or sleeping. They may be able to prescribe medicine or do tests to determine why your hiccups aren’t going away.

Most of the people get hiccups for a short duration and those hiccups are completely harmless. But, there are situations when people start getting persistent hiccups. Those kind of hiccups are a matter of concern. Chronic hiccups are defined as having several recurring occurrences of hiccups over an extended period of time.

In some people, chronic hiccups can linger for years and are usually a sign of a medical problem. They can also be harmful to one’s health. When they keep you awake most nights, you may become exhausted. Chronic hiccups can also cause significant weight loss by affecting your appetite or desire to eat.

Why do Hiccups Last That Long?

Hiccups occur when your diaphragm spasms uncontrollably. The diaphragm is a big muscle that aids in inhalation and exhalation. When your vocal chords spasm, you inhale quickly and your vocal cords clamp shut, making a distinct sound. Generally, that sound (hiccups) keeps occurring in intervals of 6-7 seconds.

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Normal Hiccups

Hiccups can occur for a variety of reasons to different people. To some people it has medical reasons and to others, emotional. Among the most common causes are drinking alcohol, eating fast, too much stress, over consumption of beverages containing carbon, nervousness or excitement and eating food that is spicy.

Hiccups can be quite irritating but every problem has some kind of home remedy available. It happens a lot of time when people decide to treat themselves at home rather than consulting a doctor. Well, it can be a good idea unless the problem is severe and is not getting treated at home. The same is the case with hiccups. It can be treated by taking a deep breath, quickly drinking a glass of water or taking a bite out of a lemon.

Chronic Hiccups

The cause of chronic hiccups isn’t always recognised. It could also take a long time to figure out what’s causing the problem. Some of the potential reasons that cause chronic hiccups are some abdominal surgery that you have been through recently, Cancer, Anesthesia, Tumors and Irritation in the nerves that are responsible to control breathing.

This kind of hiccups last for more than just a few minutes or hours. In most cases, treating chronic hiccups entails more than merely drinking a glass of water. The majority of treatments for persistent hiccups needs the assistance of a medical practitioner. This is because they cause health problems and can also be an indication of a chronic health problem.

In most cases, you won’t be able to cure or solve the problem at home. Treatment options vary according to the underlying reason and may include taking medicines as prescribed by your doctor and going through a surgery that implants a device to stimulate the nerve electrically.

Conclusion

So, now you know that hiccups that generally last for a few minutes, can be a matter of concern as well. Everything is bad when happens in excess. It is upon us pay attention to our health. So, from now on, whenever you get hiccups, always remember to make sure that you are not experiencing it persistently.

References

  1. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/wk/ane/2017/00000125/00000004/art00017
  2. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008768.pub2/abstract