To most people, hiccups are something of a joke. But to the hiccups sufferer they can be disturbing , embarrassing and even frightening. They are produced by a sudden, intermittent and spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm. But all sorts of things can start them off.
In babies, they can develop very easily because the nerve which normally controls the diaphragm hasn't been properly developed. It is even possible for a foetus in the womb to hiccup!
In children - and some adults - hiccups can start from eating too much or too quickly. In other people they develop after eating hot or spicy food, after exercising too soon after a meal or after swallowing air - this commonly happens when people try talking and eating at the same time - and can develop in conjunction with indigestion or wind.
Many articles taken from 'A word with the doctor', by Dr. John Windsor.