How to Get Rid of Hiccups
For the 100th time you just hiccuped. Frustrated to try and go about your day, you are willing to try anything to get them to stop. Thankfully hiccups rarely last more than an hour or two. Unless you are Charles Osborne, who holds the world record for suffering from hiccups for 72 years.
Most remedies for hiccups are found simply by trial and error. They are different things that people have tried over the years and simply found that they have worked for them. Some of the remedies may appear to be completely obscure, while others may make complete sense.
The good thing is, no matter which ones you try, hiccups will usually resolve themselves on their own, and other than being obnoxious and distracting, they truly are harmless.
What is a Hiccup?
Before you can really find a “cure” for hiccups you must first understand what a hiccup is and what causes it to occur. A hiccup is caused by the spasm of the diaphragm. When this happens it causes the vocal cords to move and make the hiccup sound. The diaphragm is a muscle located at the bottom of your chest. It aids in breathing. While inhaling, the diaphragm pulls downward assisting your lungs to fill with air. When you go to exhale, the diaphragm then pushes upwards to assist your lunges in expelling air from them.
When it is functioning correctly, many people are not even aware of their diaphragm muscle, until it starts to spasm and causes annoying hiccups to occur. Many people try to remedy them because they can be obnoxious, or they are self conscious that others around them may notice.
The truth is most people have experienced the same thing for themselves and do not give it a second thought, and may not even notice when someone else has them.
What Causes Hiccups?
The most common causes of hiccups are eating or drinking too quickly or too much at one time, laughing hard, or from types of food or beverages, like carbonated soda that can irritate the diaphragm. Very rare causes of hiccups are a result of illnesses and underlying medical conditions, including: abdominal surgery, stroke, side effects from medication, brain tumors, or noxious fumes.
Because hiccups are not considered a medical emergency, and usually resolve in a short amount of time on their own, it is extremely rare to have to visit your doctor for treatment for hiccups. If you find one of these causes frequently result in you getting hiccups, your best option is to take note of them and do what you can to keep them from occurring again in the future.
- The many home remedies for hiccups are extremely diverse. Some remedies even recommend doing the same thing but in different way. Like drinking water. There are half a dozen different ways to drink water to see if it helps to relieve your hiccups. One way you can try to help remedy your hiccups is to sip on some water.
- If that does not help, then you can then try this second method of water. Instead of drinking it slowly, you can drink it as fast as you can to see if that helps to stop the hiccups from continuing. If neither of these methods of drinking water help to reduce your hiccups, then you can try a third approach.
- Try drinking the water bent over. This method takes a bit of concentration to do successfully, but if you can the concentration may actually be the thing that resolves your hiccups.
- A fourth approach of drinking water to remedy hiccups is to take a glass of cool water, put an all metal piece of cutlery, like a dinner knife or spoon. While drinking the water, make sure the utensil touches the temple portion of your head. The metal ionizes the water, and you have to concentrate to do this, which the combination of the two is often enough to relive the hiccups from persisting.
- Lastly, instead of actually drinking the water, try gargling ice cold water to try and stop your hiccups.
So Water Did Not Work, Now What
- For many people, water is enough to get rid of their hiccups, or maybe it is simply the amount of time it takes to drink the water that calms the diaphragm. But many people find the different water remedies are not enough to resolve your hiccups.
- There are a number of different home remedies which people have often sworn by you can always give a try to get rid of your hiccups. One simple option is to pull hard on your tongue. This affects the vagus nerve, which may then stop the hiccups from continuing.
- If this does not work, another remedy that helps by using your nervous system is to take the palm of your hand, and firmly press your thumb of the opposite hand into the palm between the thumb and first finger. This method is easy enough to do you can do it just about anywhere, and it is a little less awkward than having to pull on your tongue.
- Lastly, if you can get someone to startle you, it can also affect your nervous system, and may help to relieve the symptoms of hiccups.
Control Your Breathing
- If you still have not been able to remedy your hiccups, there are a number of different things you can try to control your breathing. Since the diaphragm is what controls breathing and also causes hiccups, this is a great option for stubborn hiccups.
- First option is to simply hold your breath. One option is to try and hold your breath for ten seconds.
- Another option is to try to hold your breath for as long as you can to stop the hiccups.
- If neither of these options works for you, then you can try to do some breathing exercises. Breathe in for a count of ten slowly. Then exhale for a count of ten slowly. Try this four or five time to see if your hiccups stop.
- If not, a final breathing method you can try is to grab a paper bag, not a plastic bag. Hold the paper bag over your nose and mouth and slowly exhale and inhale into it five times. Then take a break and try it again.
Instead of Drinking, Try Eating
- There are also a number of different methods to relieve hiccups by using different types of food to help relieve them. One of them is to take a slice of lemon, bite down on it, and suck the juice out of it. The idea is that the acid in the lemon will help to stop the hiccupping from continuing.
- If this does not work, and you want to get the sour flavor from your mouth, there is a second food remedy that might help better. In this method, you take a pinch of sugar and place it on the middle of your tongue. Simply close your mouth letting the sugar dissolve before swallowing the sugar. This should then help to stop the hiccups. A final food remedy is to try to eat a piece of bread or toast.
Try another Drink
- If water, nerves, or food are not helping to solve the problem, try your hand at one of these other drink options. First of all, try taking a shot of bitters. Bitters are an alcoholic drink that consists of different herbal ingredients, roots, and fruit flavors. It is an old home remedy for hiccups that many people swear by.
- It might be from the herbal ingredients or the extreme bitter taste, but either way, it seems to work for many. A second drink option is to take a shot of apple cider vinegar. This is not intended to be a drink, but it often is digested for a number of different ailments to help alleviate them, hiccups being one of them.
- Lastly, some people swear that drinking a glass of cold milk will help to alleviate hiccups. If you are not lactose intolerant, and not full from all of the water you have already tried drinking, it might be a great option.
Time to Call a Doctor
Chances are, by the time you have tried all of these different remedies, your hiccups have stopped on their own. This is extremely rare, but if they have not stopped within three hours time, you should consult your doctor.
They can evaluate your situation and determine if there is an underlying medical cause for the persistent hiccups that needs to be addressed. Also, if your hiccups get to the point where you are not able to breathe properly, you should go to the emergency department for immediate treatment.
Lastly, if you are taking any type of medication or have any medical disorder which has been known to cause hiccups, and they are troublesome, you should contact your doctor. While none of these remedies are harmful to a person, not ensuring other medical ailments and side effects from medication are addressed in a timely manner are potentially dangerous.