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What Causes Hiccups After Eating?

author image August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.
What Causes Hiccups After Eating?
Young girl covering her mouth. Photo Credit XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images


Hiccups are involuntary spasms of the diaphragm, the muscle at the base of the lungs. The quick closing of the vocal cords that follows creates the distinctive hiccup-sound. Food choices, eating behavior, temperature changes and emotional stress commonly cause hiccups after eating. If hiccups last longer than a few days, MedlinePlus suggests seeking medical attention, as they may indicate a serious medical condition.

Certain Foods and Beverages

Certain foods and beverages can trigger hiccups. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), hot or spicy foods, such as hot peppers, miso and curry and hot or spicy liquids are particularly known to cause hiccups. Drinking carbonated beverages, such as soft drinks or sparkling water, can also cause hiccups, due to swallowing air. In addition, the more carbonation a person consumes, the greater his or her chance becomes of hiccupping. Last but not least, excessive alcohol consumption may result in hiccups.

Eating Too Much or Too Quickly

Eating too much at one sitting can cause the diaphragm to distend or become irritated, causing it to contract and result in hiccups. Eating too quickly commonly causes hiccups, in part because people who eat rapidly tend to swallow excessive amounts of air. Since people who eat quickly prove more likely to overeat, demonstrating both simultaneously may heighten a person's chance of experiencing hiccups even further.

Sudden Temperature Changes

Temperature changes during the course of a meal may cause hiccups. According to, "Why Do We Hiccup?," an article published in Medical News Today in Apr., 2004, hiccups may occur in response to a disturbance in the nerve pathways between a person's brain and his or her muscles. This interruption in nerve communication tends to happen more often when temperatures shift dramatically or suddenly--from warm to cold, or vice versa. Moving to an air-conditioned restaurant after spending time in the sun, for example, may result in hiccups.

Emotional Stress or Excitement

Emotional stress commonly disrupts digestion, as it can cause muscle tenseness. Whenever the body experiences muscle tension that affects the diaphragm, hiccups will likely occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, emotional excitement has a similar effect on the body and can lead to hiccups. While emotional stress and excitement in general increases a person's chance of developing hiccups, stress and excitement during the course of a meal proves most likely to cause hiccups after eating. Arguments at the dinner table, for example, may result in hiccups.

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