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Difference Between Burp and Hiccup

Burp is a release of trapped wind or air from the mouth while hiccup is the reflex rhythmic jerk of diaphragmatic muscles with a slight ‘his’ sound.

What is a Burp?

The release of air or wind, through the mouth from the upper gastrointestinal tract with a slightly unpleasant noise is calla ed burp.

A burp is also called belceruptstus, mouth flatus, etc.

In humans, burping can be of two types:

  • Normal or physiological
  • Pathological 

A burp can be considered unacceptable or rude in some cultures, while in some cultures it’s not really looked down upon. As failure to burp or suppressing a burp can deem many negative effects on the body, hence it’s important to burp when necessary. However, cultural and societal norms must be considered before the act.

Different causes of burping up are:

  • Trapped air or wind due to eating fast/ without a break, swallowing this along with byproducts of food can release nitrogen and oxygen gases mixture.
  • Certain drugs when taken for a long period e.g. metformin for diabetes etc.
  • Carbonated drinks like soda, beer, etc.
  • Patients who have hiatus hernia peptic ulcers can experience and burps odorous.
  • Pathological conditions like GERD, allergies to certain foods, diseases in the gallbladder, H. Pylori infection,ons etcThe inability to burp is rare but it occurs. There are different medical and pathological reasons behind this disorder.
  • R-CPD also known as Retrograde cricopharyngeal dysfunction.
  • R-UESD also known as Retrograde upper esophageal sphincter dysfunction.

In these conditions, the muscles fail to relax and can present with the symptoms like inability to burp, increased bloating, flatulence etc.

It can be diagnosed by manometric-resolution esophageal) or fluoroscopy.

A single dose of Botox injection can do the trick and treat the condition.

What is a Hiccup?

The repetition of diaphragmatic muscle contraction which can be involuntary, many times in a single minute is known as hiccups. 

Scientifically, it is known as singultus. Singultus is a Latin word for catching breath in between crying. 

They are myoclonic jerks hence involuntary or reflex actions.

The characteristic ‘hic’ sound is produced by vocal cords when they are closed several times in a minute due to myoclonic jerks of diaphragm.

Hiccups can occur either individually or they might occur in bouts. 

Several home remedies are known to treat or shorten the duration of hiccups. Medical intervention is not required normally. It is required only in rare cases of chronic hiccups.

Hiccups can occur in males, females, children of all ages and even babies inside the womb (intrauterine hiccups).

Although they decrease with age, the chronic hiccups usually occur in adults, especially males.

The duration of hiccups between each jerk is usually constant, with a rhythmic pattern. It can cause a short but obvious tremor in the shoulder, throat or full body with an unpleasant distraction between normal breathing patterns.

Different causes of hiccups are:

  • Trapped air due to excessive air swallowing
  • GERD
  • Opiates abuse
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Eating or drinking quickly without break
  • Prolonged laughing
  • Spicy foods
  • Carbonated drinks like soda, beer etc
  • In rare cases, myocardial infarction can present as hiccups.
  • Medical conditions like vagus nerve damage, kidney failure, meningitis, MS, stroke etc

Usual duration of hiccups is 30 minutes. Above 30 minutes is considered as a bout and if it goes on for more than 48 hours, medical intervention might be needed.

More than a month of hiccups is known as ‘intractable’. 

Treatment is either through old wives’ tales or through distraction techniques. In the case of intractable cases, medicines used are Gabapentin, proton pump inhibitors, metoclopramide, etc.

Hiccups due to underlying conditions like GERD etc, are treated automatically with the treatment of the condition.

Other techniques are acupuncture, massage, sedatives and persistent rectal digital massage.

Table showing Comparison between Burp and Hiccup

Summary of Difference between Burp and Hiccup 

  1. Hiccups are the spasmodic rhythmic movements of diaphragmatic muscles while burping is a simple release of gas through the mouth, because of gastric muscles.
  2. Hiccups can be idiopathic or pathological. If they persist for more than 48 hours, they are considered pathological. Burping is mostly not related to any serious underlying problem.
  3. Nerve damage can be involved in hiccups while no innervation or nerve damage is involved in burping.
  4. Both hiccups and burping can be found in babies as young as intrauterine foetfetusesreatment of burping is mostly treating the underlying cause like antacids, proton pump inhibitors etc. If hiccups persist for more than 48 hours, medical intervention is needed and drugs of choice are Gabapentine, metoclopramide etc.


Is burping the same as hiccups?

Burping and hiccups are two different responses of the body to external stimuli, burping being the release of gas or air from mouth, hiccups being spasmodic and rhythmic movement of intercostal muscles.

What is the difference between a burp and a belch?

Although burp and belch are synonymous, and mean the same thing, that is release of gas from the mouth. However, belching is thought to be louder than a regular burp.

What does it mean if you burp and hiccup?

It usually doesn’t mean anything when you burp and hiccup, both being normal bodily reactions. It becomes pathological when it persists for a longer period of time and affects your routine.

Does hiccups mean you have gas?

One of the many possible causes of hiccups may include having had gases in the stomach. It can also be triggered by swallowing too much air when eating fast.

Are baby hiccups from not burping?

Yes, while feeding babies, air can get trapped in the stomach causing hiccups and it can help if they are being helped to burp by taking a break in between meals.

How do you get rid of hiccup burps?

There are different medical and nonmedical ways to get rid of burps and hiccups. Dustramaneuverseuvres are the most common and treat the underlying cause.

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References :

[0]Author links open overlay panelAlbert J. Bredenoord, & Although belching and hiccups are regarded as normal behaviours. (2012, September 12). Management of belching, hiccups, and Aerophagia. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Retrieved April 17, 2023, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1542356512010476

[1]Define_me. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2023, from https://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565%2812%2901047-6/fulltext

[2]Hopman, W. P., van Kouwen, M. C., & Smout, A. J. (2010, April 14). Does (supra)gastric belching trigger recurrent hiccups? World journal of gastroenterology. Retrieved April 17, 2023, fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2852831/

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