are unintentional movements (spasms) of the diaphragm followed by rapid closure of the vocal cords that persist for an extended period of time. Hiccups often develop for no apparent reason and typically go away on their own after a couple minutes. However, chronic hiccups last over two days and in rare cases, may continue for over a month. Hiccups that recur over long periods of time are also considered "chronic." Depending on how long the hiccups last, affected people may become exhausted, dehydrated and/or lose weight due to interruptions in sleep and normal eating patterns. Other complications may include irregular heart beat and gastroesophageal reflux. The exact underlying cause is often unknown; some cases may be caused by surgery, certain medications and/or a variety of health problems such as central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) abnormalities, psychological problems, conditions that irritate the diaphragm, and metabolic diseases. Treatment of chronic hiccups varies but may include medications and/or surgery. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.