Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Hiccups?

By James Madeiros


You’ve heard of all the home remedies, and perhaps even tried a few: you can hold your breath, have them scared out of you, eat a tablespoon of sugar or, if you’re desperate and agile, drink a glass of water upside down.

No matter what particular cure works for you, what causes hiccups is usually the same for all of us. Some causes, however, are more common than others. Most of us get hiccups as a result of expansion of the stomach or the movement of stomach acid. If not that, it may be an irritation of the phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm.

The question is whether alcohol can cause this expansion, acid movement or phrenic nerve irritation – and the answer is yes to all three.

Drinking alcohol can cause the stomach to expand, especially if it is a carbonated alcoholic beverage like beer, champagne and many mixed drinks. These drinks can also cause stomach acid to rise up into the esophagus to cause hiccups, and cause irritation of the nerve that controls the diaphragm.

It’s true that other food and drink can also cause these issues and the hiccups that follow. There’s evidence that spicy foods, tobacco use or even overexcitement can cause hiccups. While alcohol may not be the only cause, it is definitely one cause of the hiccups.

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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