"It's pretty much all the time," said Karley Reidzans, 17, of Zeeland. She's had the hiccups for almost two years. "They started, and we thought it was funny for the first few days, but then after like a month or so my mom took me to the doctor."
After several different doctors, Reidzans ended up at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids to see Dr. Daniel Fain, a pediatric neurologist.
"They don't appear like the typical hiccup that one would expect that goes away after a few minutes," Fain said.
Fain confirms that chronic hiccups is a real condition: "It's rare and it can have a lot of different causes, too,” he said.
However, Fain hasn't been able to figure out what's causing Reidzans' hiccups.
"We couldn't say exactly what it is," he told WZZM-TV. "It seems to be some sort of a brain misfire is all we can say right now. There may be something about the way that her body is perceiving certain stimuli. It may be the way her body is growing. We don't know for sure exactly."
And Fain adds there’s no guarantee Reidzans will ever grow out of them: “There's this chronic need for her to have a hiccup that we still don't understand."
Frustration doesn't even begin to describe how Reidzans feels.
“They are annoying and sometimes can hurt my chest and my throat, and it's not really fun," she said. "Especially when I get the one person who is like, ‘Oh, you got to be faking it.’"
They can also interrupt everyday life.
Reidzans’ mom, Michelle, is starting to worry that if they don't find a cure soon, hiccups could jeopardize her daughter’s future.
“I think about how it may affect her learning in the grown-up world," she said. "Getting a job in her field. Does someone want somebody with chronic hiccups which at the time of employment they may think not a big deal but in the long run, it is a big deal?"
So, they continue to search for a cure.
There are some studies on hiccups going on right now that would stimulate nerves to help stop the type of hiccups Reidzans has, but they are just in the preliminary phase of research.
Typical hiccups are an irritation of the diaphragm from swallowing too much air. Fain says in his 20 years of practicing pediatric neurology, he has never seen a case of the hiccups as severe or as long as Reidzans.
The longest recorded case of the hiccups is 60 years.