Whether old or young, all humans have had episodes of hiccups. The short moment when they occur can make one uncomfortable. Some episodes disappear on their own, but in most cases, they stay longer than you expect. At those times, hiccups interfere with you eating and talking, and this can be very uncomfortable.
There are several tricks many have developed or used in getting rid of mild or serious hiccups. I can remember some saying “drink water seven times in succession.” But not all these tricks are actually effective for getting rid of hiccups, the fact that there are limited studies that support the effectiveness of these remedies makes it hard to find a concrete solution to hiccups.
In this article, we will talk about the possible causes of hiccups, and some remedies that may work for you. Note, not all the remedies will work for you, but some will work.
Causes of Hiccups
Hiccups are given birth to when the diaphragm starts to contract involuntarily. The large muscles, which makes it easier for you to breathe in and out is the diaphragm. When the diaphragm spasms, you inhale suddenly, and the vocal cord snaps shut, which gives birth to the sound you make when you have hiccups.
Hiccups can be caused by the following:
- When you eat too quickly.
- When you drink too much
- Taking too much spicy food
- Taking carbonated drinks
- Stress or emotional excitement
- Drinking alcohol
- As a result of some chronic illnesses, etc.
In any case, there are several ways to get rid of hiccups irrespective of the intensity. When it lasts for more than 24 – 48 hours, it is best to speak with your doctor.
Home remedies for Hiccups
There are several techniques you can use when dealing with hiccups. They include breathing and posture techniques, pressure point technique, food options, etc.
Breathing and posture technique
One of the easiest ways to overcome hiccups is through a simple change in breathing and posture. This will help relax the diaphragm. Here are some specific things you can do:
- Measure your breath: change the pace at which you breathe. This disruption in your breathing will affect your respiratory system. Measured breathing like counting five when you breathe in and out will help eliminate hiccups.
- Hold your breath: inhale a large volume of air, and hold the air for 20-30 seconds, then breathe slowly again. Repeat if hiccups do not stop instantly.
- Breathe into a paper bag: put your nose and mouth into a paper bag or lunch bag. Then breathe in and out slowly ensuring you inflate and deflate the bag. Plastic bags won’t work, only paper bags.
- Hug your knees: sit comfortably, then bring your knees to your chest, and maintain the position for up to 2 minutes.
- Try Valsalva maneuver: this maneuver requires you to exhale while you pinch your nose, and tightly close your mouth.
- Compress the chest: to compress your chest, bend forward as this will put more pressure on the diaphragm.
Pressure point technique
The pressure points are the parts of the body that are highly sensitive to pressure. When pressure is applied to those points, your diaphragm tends to relax, and this will help stimulate your phrenic nerves or vagus. Here are some things to try;
- Pulling the tongue: when you pull on your tongue, you will end up stimulating the muscles and nerves in the throat. Do this by grabbing the tip of your tongue and pulling it forward gently once or twice.
- Press the diaphragm: what separates your abdomen from the lung is the diaphragm. You can apply pressure manually to the area below the end of your sternum.
- Swallow water while your nose is squeezed closed.
- Squeeze your palm. Then apply pressure to the palm of the other hand with your thumb.
- Massage the carotid artery: the carotid artery is present on both sides of the neck. That is what doctors and nurses feel when they check your pulse by touching your neck. To massage the carotid, lie down on a bed or chair, turn your head to the right, and massage the artery on the right side in a circular motion for at least 5 to 10 seconds.
Food and Drink for Combatting Hiccups
There are things you can eat, and some ways you’ll drink that can help get rid of hiccups. Consider the following options:
- Drink iced water: when you sip cold water gently, it will help stimulate the vagus nerve.
- Drink from the opposite side of the cup. Place the cup under your chin, and drink from the other side. (Yeah you read it right).
- Drink a glass of warm water without stopping to breathe for a few seconds.
- Drink water through a cloth or a towel. Cover the glass with cloth or towel then sip your water.
- Suck ice cube for a few minutes and then swallow it when it has reduced in size.
- Gargle cold water for at least 30 seconds. Repeat if hiccups do not stop immediately.
- Swallow a spoonful of honey or peanut butter. Ensure it dissolves in your mouth first before swallowing.
- Sugar: put some sugar on your tongue and allow it to dissolve for at least 5 to 10 seconds, then swallow.
- Put vinegar on your tongue.
Other possible solutions
Here are three other things that can work for you when you have hiccups.
- Gently tap or rub the back of your neck. When you rub the skin at the back of your neck, you can easily stimulate the phrenic nerve.
- Try poking the back of your throat with a cotton swab. Keep doing until you cough or gag.
- Try and distract yourself with other activities. Hiccups might disappear when you don’t pay attention to it.
There you have it, 23 easy things you can do to get rid of annoying hiccups. You can try one of these whether you’re indoors or outdoors. If you notice that there is a trigger for your hiccups, try and avoid this trigger. If you consistently have to battle with hiccups, try and speak with your doctor on how to deal with the condition.