Merck Manual

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Some Causes and Features of Persistent Hiccups

Some Causes and Features of Persistent Hiccups

Cause

Common Features*

Tests

Esophagus

Heartburn (burning pain that begins in the upper abdomen and travels up to the throat, sometimes with an acid taste in the mouth)

Chest pain

Sometimes a cough, hoarseness, or both

Symptoms sometimes triggered by lying down

Relief with antacids

A doctor's examination

Sometimes trying treatment with drugs to suppress acid production

Sometimes endoscopy of the upper digestive tract (examination of the esophagus and stomach using a flexible viewing tube)

Abdomen

Abdominal surgery (recent)

Obvious history of recent surgery

A doctor’s examination

Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, under the rib cage

Sometimes nausea and vomiting

Ultrasonography

A general feeling of illness (malaise)

Poor appetite

Nausea and sometimes vomiting

Sometimes darkening of the urine, then yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Mild discomfort in the upper right part of the abdomen

Blood tests

Liver cancers (including cancers that metastasized to the liver)

Long-standing discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen

Weight loss

Fatigue

Ultrasonography, CT, or MRI of the abdomen

Severe, constant pain in the upper part of the abdomen

Usually vomiting

Blood tests

Pregnancy

Usually a missed menstrual period

Sometimes morning sickness and/or breast swelling

A pregnancy test

Chest

Chest surgery (recent)

Obvious history of recent surgery

A doctor’s examination

Inflammation of the membrane around the heart (pericarditis)

Sharp chest pain that worsens with breathing and coughing

Electrocardiography (ECG)

Inflammation of the part of the membrane around the lung (pleura) near the diaphragm (diaphragmatic pleurisy)

Sharp chest pain that worsens with breathing and coughing

A chest x-ray

Cough, fever, chills, and chest pain

Sometimes shortness of breath

A chest x-ray

Other

History of excessive consumption of alcohol

A doctor’s examination

Certain brain tumors or strokes

Sometimes in people who are known to have had a stroke or who have a tumor

Sometimes recurring headaches and/or difficulty walking, talking, speaking, or seeing

MRI and/or CT of the brain

Usually in people who are known to have kidney failure

Blood tests

* Features include symptoms and the results of the doctor's examination. Features mentioned are typical but not always present.

CT = computed tomography; MRI = magnetic resonance imaging.