Handling Hiccups with Acid Reflux

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

What are hiccups?

According to the Mayo Clinic, hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a large sheet of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. This muscle plays an important role in your breathing. When you have hiccups, each involuntary contraction of the diaphragm is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which makes the hiccup sound.

Does acid reflux cause hiccups?

Hiccups can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as eating too fast, eating too much, or drinking carbonated beverages. Hiccups also have been associated with acid reflux. Heartburn may irritate the diaphragm and cause it to contract. Even in infants, hiccups may be associated with reflux.

How are hiccups treated?

Most of the time, hiccups are annoying but not a serious problem. However, if hiccups last for more than a couple of days, they can irritate the diaphragm and disrupt eating and sleeping. They can also make acid reflux worse. A recent review of 15 published studies involving a total of 341 patients with persistent or intractable hiccups found no treatment that can safely and reliably stop the condition. Instead, researchers concluded that the most effective way to manage hiccups is to address the underlying condition.

If you suspect your acid reflux may be causing frequent hiccups, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor, who may treat your acid reflux more aggressively to see if this makes the hiccups disappear.

Dr. Tracy Davenport is a health writer, advocate and entrepreneur who has been helping individuals live their best life. She is co-author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux. Follow Tracy’s love of smoothies on Twitter.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Tracyshealthyliving.com. Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.