14-Month Hiccups: Daniel Clavin Has Been Hiccuping Since July 2012, Says 'They've Taken Over My Life'

By Josh Lieberman on September 4, 2013 2:51 PM EDT

sugar
Daniel Clavin has had the hiccups for 14 months, and has undergone medical tests and tried home remedies -- like a spoonful of sugar -- to no avail. (Photo: Flickr: scelera)

Daniel Clavin, a software worker living in County Roscommon, Ireland, has been hiccuping since July -- of last year. After a night of drinking, Clavin, 37, woke up with the hiccups after a hangover. The hangover went away, but 14 months later, the hiccups still have not.

Clavin hiccups about every seven seconds, meaning he's hiccuped some 5.25 million times since last July. He will sometimes pass out from hiccuping. He sleeps some nights in a spare room so as not to bother his wife, Susan. 

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Clavin has had a number of medical procedures to get to the bottom of his hiccuping. He's had a cat scan, two endoscopies, altered his diet and has gone to a chiropractor. Clavin has also tried every old wives' tale remedy for hiccups, including spoonfuls of sugar, getting scared and drinking through a straw, all to no avail. 

"They've taken over my life," Clavin said. "I've no idea why they started -- I'd had more to drink than I had for some time but it was nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual mix of beer and spirits." He added, "There are times when I can't breathe for 30 seconds because they lock up my diaphragm. "Nights are bad and sometimes I wake up and the whole bed is shaking because they are so violent and I'll go to sleep in a different room so Susan can get some rest."

Clavin will soon undergo an MRI, an idea he got after reading about the case of Chris Sands, a 29-year-old man from England who had hiccups for three years. Sands eventually had an MRI done, which revealed a brain tumor.

"Obviously that's a worst-case scenario but I need to have one done at least to eliminate it," said Clavin.

According to Medical Daily, hiccups result from "an unprovoked spasm of the diaphragm followed quickly by the obstruction of the vocal cords producing the distinctive noise." When hiccups last longer than a month, they are known as intractable hiccups. 

The Guinness record-holder for the longest case of hiccups goes to Charles Osborne, a man from Anthon, Iowa, who started hiccuping in 1922 and didn't stop until February 1990 -- 68 years later.

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