How to Get Rid of Hiccups: 15 Tricks That Could Work
These spasms of your diaphragm muscle are not harmful, but until you find a hiccups cure, they can drive you nuts. So when you’re desperate to know how to get rid of hiccups, try these tricks.
What are hiccups?
Hiccups occur when your diaphragm spasms or contracts briefly closing your vocal cords and making the signature hiccup noise, according to Mayo Clinic. Anything from overeating or drinking carbonated beverages to swallowing air while chewing gum could cause hiccups. Although science knows what a hiccup is, scientific hiccup remedies are more of an enigma. There isn’t tons of research on the effectiveness of hiccup remedies, but many have years of anecdotal evidence. Some of the popular treatments could stimulate nerves connected to your diaphragm. Here are the tricks for how to get rid of hiccups that might be worth a try.
Swallow something sweet
A spoonful of sugar is a popular hiccups cure because its graininess could slightly irritate the esophagus or stimulate the vagus nerve, according to some research. A spoonful of sugar was found to be effective in 19 out of 20 patients. With this easy hack in mind, beware that more than the occasional hiccup could also be warning signs of these 8 other health problems.
…Or something sour
One study found that sour compounds, like those found in vinegar, relieve hiccups. A little might go a long way, so try just a drop or teaspoonful of vinegar on your tongue.
Have some peanut butter
A big spoonful of peanut butter like this one is a classic cure if you’re wondering how to get rid of hiccups. In the process of chewing and getting it off your tongue and teeth, your swallowing and breathing patterns are interrupted. Some experts think the nut butter helps by coating the esophagus, but most think it has more of a mental calming effect which helps you control your breathing, according to the Guardian. Want to stop them before they start? Check out the reasons you might be getting hiccups in the first place.
Enjoy a little honey
Honey works similarly to peanut butter when it comes to stopping hiccups. Put one teaspoon of this honey, stirred in warm water, on the back of your tongue, and swallow it. Like peanut butter, this process might help control your breathing. Bonus: Honey is also a known infection fighter and cough soother. We bet you didn’t know these mind-blowing facts about hiccups.
Brown bag ’em
Breathe slowly and deeply into a small paper bag. (Stop if you feel light-headed.) This could increase the carbon dioxide level in the blood and make the diaphragm contract more deeply to bring in more oxygen. Although this remedy is ultimately unproven, it might provide relief, according to Mayo Clinic.
Chew up some dill
Here’s a simple, pleasant-tasting trick on how to get rid of hiccups: Slowly chew a teaspoon of dill seeds. This traditional cure may work because swallowing the seeds stimulates the vagus nerve to make the hiccups stop. Did you know that hiccups could be a sign of this life-threatening condition?
Try the paper towel trick
Place a single layer of paper towel over the top of a glass, then drink through the towel. You’ll have to “pull” harder with your diaphragm to suck up the water, and concentrated gulping counteracts spasmodic muscle movements of hiccups. These hiccups are just one of many strange body reactions. Learn the explanations behind some more bizarre body phenomena.
Drink or gargle ice water
Ellis E. Mbeku/Shutterstock
If you don’t have paper towels, you can still get rid of hiccups with just plain water. Try slowly sipping or gargling with some H20 for hiccup relief. The contractions from swallowing the water help to stop the spasms in the diaphragm, according to health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Plug your ears while drinking water
Although it seems silly, plugging your ears while sipping a glass of water could be how to get rid of hiccups for you. Anecdotal evidence from an emergency room doctor shows this method might work.
Suck on a lemon
Biting or sucking on a lemon wedge is another popular hiccup remedy. If you have time, suck on a lemon wedge soaked in non-alcoholic bitters. According to a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, this treatment cured 14 out of 16 people with hiccups, Best Health reports. Looking for more home remedies? These are the 18 best home remedies for every ailment.
Hug your knees
Sit comfortably before bringing your knees to your chest and keep them there for two minutes. Pulling your knees in compresses your chest and could help stop diaphragm spasms, per Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Pull on your tongue
Gently pull on your tongue to stop the hiccups. Sticking out your tongue helps stimulate the vagus nerve and ease diaphragm spasms, while avoiding gag reflexes, according to Medical Daily.
Massage your neck
This is one of the more strange techniques for how to get rid of hiccups. Try massaging or rubbing the carotid arteries on the right and left sides of your neck for potential hiccup relief.
Hold your breath
Try holding your breath for short intervals and repeat every 20 minutes or so to halt hiccups. Is it a hiccup or a burp? If it’s the latter, you’ll want to know these 9 ways to tell if your burping habits are normal.
Pop your ears
Popping your ears with the Valsalva technique could stop the hiccups, too, some research suggests. To pop your ears with this technique, close your mouth and pinch your nose while trying to exhale and force the air out, Tonic reports. Hiccups are only one of 14 bizarre bodily functions you just can’t control.
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