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What causes hiccups?

October 13, 2020

Ask the doctor

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 Image: © didecs/Getty Images

Q. Why do I get hiccups, and what can I do about them? I know they're not serious, but they sure are aggravating.

A. Hiccups are one of those minor maladies of man that they don't teach you about in medical school. But they can affect a person's life — particularly when they start at the wrong time. The first time I realized this was when hiccups started just as I was in the middle of giving a lecture to medical students. You want your lectures to be memorable, and this one may have been — not for what I said, but for the way it came out of my mouth.

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