Hiccups are caused by an irritation in the diaphragm, which is the part of the body responsible for pulling air into the lungs upon inhalation and pushing it out with exhalation. An irritated diaphragm cannot function properly and causes you to abruptly suck in air which hits your voice box and makes a hiccup.
Beer and Hiccups
There are many different factors that can cause irritation in your diaphragm, though the carbonation in beer is one of those factors. Drinking carbonated beverages, such as beer, can cause short-term hiccups which generally last for a few minutes. Excessive beer drinking is another cause of short-term hiccups. In both cases, beer can cause your diaphragm to contract and you to hiccup for a short time.
You can treat short-term hiccups with a variety of home remedies that will cause carbon dioxide to build-up in your blood or stimulate the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the stomach. Holding your breath, quickly drinking a glass of water or putting sugar on your tongue are all common cures for short-term hiccups. Combining two or more treatments can also help to alleviate hiccups.
Hiccups that last for longer than three hours are considered long-term hiccups and require medical attention. Chronic hiccups that interfere with sleeping or eating should also be treated by a medical professional. Seek medical advice if your hiccups are accompanied by severe abdominal pain or spitting up blood.
Causes of Long-Term Hiccups
Long-term hiccups can be a sign of a more serious condition. A damaged or irritated vagus nerve is usually accompanied by hiccups that last longer than three hours. This type of damage generally does not result from drinking beer, however. The vagus nerve can be damaged from a tumor or cyst in the neck, a sore throat or a hair touching the ear drum. Only a medical professional can properly diagnose and treat long-term hiccups.