10 Home Remedies for Hiccups
There is nothing as annoying as suddenly getting the hiccups and not knowing when they’re going to stop. Hiccups are distracting, and can interfere with just about anything that you’re doing. We’ve all had them, we all hate them, and we’ve all tried an endless amount of tricks to try to get rid of them.
Hiccups start when your diaphragm involuntarily begins to spasm. Your diaphragm is a large muscle which is responsible for allowing you to breathe in and out. When your diaphragm spasms it causes you to inhale so quickly, that your vocal cords snap closed. That snap is responsible for the famous hiccup sound. While we never know when hiccups will suddenly start, here are the causes which are most often responsible for them1:
* Spicy foods
* Exposure to sudden changes in temperature
* Carbonated drinks
* Emotional variations (i.e. getting suddenly frightened)
Hiccups generally go away on their own within a few minutes, and on rare occasions can last for a few hours. Unfortunately there aren’t many scientific studies on hiccups and a cure for them, but people have been trying to stop hiccups for as long as humans have been around. So while there are no scientific studies we can look to, we can follow centuries of informal or anecdotal evidence. Using this history of evidence, we can recommend 10 home remedies for hiccups.
#1 – Cold Water Cold water works to stop your hiccups by creating a shock to your system. The one common factor among most of the ‘cures’ for hiccups is a way to disrupt your spasms, and a glass of cold water will do just that.
* Take a tall glass of cold water (make sure it’s not cold enough to give you a headache) and try to drink it in one go
* You can also try mixing in a spoon of honey
* If that doesn’t work, then you can try to gurgle with cold water for 30 seconds, rest and repeat
#2 – Regulate your Breathing Since what you want to do is disrupt the spasms, a good exercise to stop hiccups is to regulate your breathing and force yourself to breath strong regular breaths.
* Breathe in through your nose, deeply for 4-5 seconds, until your lungs are full
* Hold your breath for 5 seconds
* Breathe out through your mouth, let it take 4-5 seconds to empty your lungs
* Repeat this process a few times, your hiccups should go away quickly
#3 – Breath into a Paper Bag This is a great trick that most of us know about. You take a clean paper bag (you want to make sure there is nothing inside that you can accidentally breathe in) seal it over your nose and mouth and:
* Breathe in slowly with your nose
* Hold your breath for 5-10 seconds
* Breathe out slowly through your mouth
This works by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in your system, contracting your diaphragm more deeply which causes your body to try to get more oxygen.
#4 – Pressure Points There are a few pressure points that when stimulated, may help relieve your hiccups. Pressure points are points on your body which are especially sensitive to touch, applying pressure on these points is good for different things. In this case, there are a few pressure points which can help relieve hiccups2:
* Pull on your tongue, this can stimulate nerves and muscles in your throat. Take the tip of your tongue and pull it forward a few times, gently of course
* Squeeze your palm by using your thumb to put pressure on it. You can also move your thumb around massaging your palm.
* Press on your diaphragm by applying pressure just below your sternum.
* Massage the areas on your neck where you feel your pulse. This area is called the carotid artery. Use two fingers to make a circle motion while applying firm pressure.
#5 – Have Sex – Orgasm Have a little fun while fighting hiccups! There is actually a case study from 20 years ago which anecdotally studied the effects of sex and the orgasm on hiccups3. You can try this with your partner or go at it solo, it’s guaranteed to be the most fun you’ve had while trying to get rid of your hiccups!
#6 – Distract Yourself Hiccups will quite often go away on their own when you stop focusing on them. Turn on the TV, play a game, do a crossword puzzle or anything else that will take your mind off of the hiccups.
#7 – Cut back on Coffee Nothing is as effective in changing your breathing patterns with a bit of aerobic exercise. While we’re probably not going to be in the gym or ready to jog when hiccups attack, there are a few things we can do at home to get our breathing rate up and stop them:
* Jumping jacks
* Jump rope
* Squat jumps
#8 – Spoon Full of Sugar Swallowing a spoon full of sugar is an old hiccup cure, the coarser the sugar the better. It’s thought that the hard grains may stimulate the vagus nerve which helps interfere with the hiccup reflex. According to a study done way back in 1972, 19 out of 20 hiccuping participants stopped after a spoon full of sugar.
#9 – Lemons Sucking on a lemon, or something else just as sour is another old hiccup remedy. Take a lemon wedge and suck on it until all of this juice is gone, and your hiccups should go away. The strong sour juice disrupts the spasms in your diaphragm and can stop hiccups immediately.
#10 – Drink Water Upside Down A word of caution, this might not be the safest way to stop your hiccups but it’s a remedy that has been around since recorded history. What you want to do is bend at the hips while standing up until your head is upside down, then take a glass of water and drink it. This is another clever trick that can disrupt the diaphragm spasms and stop your hiccups. Practice caution with this one! So the next time you get hiccups, try these different cures and see which ones work for you!
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Hiccups References and Hiccups Information
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-hiccups#causes
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-hiccups#treatment
* National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2144777/
* New England Journal of Medicine: https://www.nejm.org/toc/nejm/286/6