How to Get Rid of Hiccups: 6 Easy Remedies

Almost everyone had hiccups once in their lifetime. It is evident that hiccups go on their own for a while, but they can be annoying and hinder eating and talking.

Though the human body is limitlessly awe-inspiring, it sometimes creates incredibly infuriating situations. Hiccups are considered life’s little annoyances, especially while doing something crucial like sitting in the middle of a job interview, get-together, lecture, and any time of life.

People have bought countless ways to get rid of them, from breathing into a paper bag to eating a teaspoon of sugar. But which is the best remedy? Read on to develop an insight into the most fascinating and effective ways to get rid of hiccups.

What Are Hiccups?

Hiccups are considered involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, which is nothing but a muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. When those contractions and vocal cords snap shut, they create a typical ‘hic’ sound.

When something annoys the diaphragm, it contracts and allows air to suck into the throat, causing hiccups. If hiccups last for more than a few days, they are called persistent hiccups1. Whereas, if they last for months, rare but still possible, they are known as intractable hiccups.

Why Do Hiccups Happen?

Before getting the answer to how to get rid of hiccups, have a look at the list of Irritants in the diaphragm causing hiccups:

  1. Eating too fast and swallowing air.
  2. Eating or drinking too much.
  3. Consuming carbonated drinks or alcohol.
  4. Being stressed, anxious, or emotionally excited.
  5. Suffering from diseases that irritate the nerves that control the diaphragm.
  6. Abdominal surgery.
  7. Strokes or brain tumors.
  8. Metabolic disorders2.
  9. Breathing harmful fumes.
  10. Central nervous system disorders.
  11. Certain medications.
  12. Lifestyle factors such as consuming alcohol, smoking, and eating sugar.

How To Get Rid of Hiccups?

Hiccup remedies are supported by ages of anecdotal and historical pieces of evidence. There are not many scientifically proven ways to get rid of hiccups, but here is a list of some research-proven answers to how to get rid of hiccups. These are the tips for short spells of hiccups.

1. Breathing and Posture Methods

Usually, a change in breathing or deep breath and posture can unwind your diaphragm and provide a solution to getting rid of hiccups.

  • Practice Regular Breathing

Interrupt your respiratory system with slow and regular breathing. For instance, breathe in and out for a count of five.

  • Hold Your Breath

Inhale a massive gulp of air, hold it for about 10 to 20 seconds, and then exhale slowly. Repeat as required.

  • Breathe Into a Paper Bag

Situate a paper bag over your mouth and nose. Slowly breathe in and out by deflating and inflating the bag. Avoid using a plastic bag.

  •  Grasp Your Knees

Sit down in a comfortable position by bringing both knees towards the chest and holding them in that position for a few minutes.

  •  Flatten Your Chest

Lean or bend forward to flatten your chest to exert pressure on the diaphragm. This can help you in getting rid of the hiccups.

  • Plug Your Ears

When experiencing hiccups, put an area of soft skin between the earlobes and the base of the skull to send a relaxation wave from the vagus nerve which is a part of the nervous system associated with the diaphragm. The Vagus nerve is attached to the heart and the lungs.

  •  Practice Valsalva Maneuver

To perform the Valsalva maneuver, try to exhale while pinching the nose and keeping the mouth closed.

2. Take Help of Pressure Points

Pressure points are regions in the body that are exceptionally sensitive to pressure. Applying pressure on these areas with your hands may help you relax your diaphragm or raise your vagus or phrenic nerves, providing you with an answer to how to get rid of hiccups.

  •  Drag-On Your Tongue

Dragging the tongue will stimulate the nerves and muscles in the throat. Practice this technique by grabbing the tip of your tongue and kindly pulling it forward once or twice.

  •  Compress Your Diaphragm

The diaphragm separates the abdomen from the lungs. Use hands to exert pressure on the area exactly below the end of the sternum.

  •  Squeeze The Nose Closed While Swallowing Water

Drink water and immediately press the nose to close it while swallowing the water to stop hiccups.

  • Pinch Your Palm

Take your thumb and apply pressure to the palm of the other hand.

  •  Massage The Carotid Artery

You can find a carotid artery on both sides of the neck. It is the same artery that you feel while checking the pulse by touching the neck.

To initiate the massaging of the carotid artery, you have to lie down, turn the head towards the left, and massage the artery on the right side of the neck in a circular motion for a few seconds (5 to 10 seconds).

3. What To Eat or Drink To Get Rid of Hiccups?

Eating or drinking certain things will also help to stimulate vagus or phrenic nerves. Here is a list of things to eat or drink while suffering from hiccups.

  • Drink Ice Water

Slowly sipping cold or ice water may help to activate the vagus nerve.

  •  Slowly Drink a Glass of Warm Water Without Pausing To Breathe

Take a glass of warm water, hold your breath and sip the entire water in one sip.

  •  Drink Water With a Cloth or Paper Towel

When taking in water, the rhythmic contractions produced in the esophagus counteract the spasms generated in the diaphragm. But, if it doesn’t stop the hiccups, then place a layer of cloth or paper towel on the mouth of the glass and drink through it as you will have to pull harder with your diaphragm to suck up the water, which will stop the hiccups.

  •  Take In An Ice Cube

Put an ice cube in your mouth for a few minutes, then swallow it once it reduces to a reasonable size by melting.

  • Gargle Ice Water

Gargle ice water for around 30 seconds and repeat as per the requirement.

  •  Eat a Spoon of Honey or Peanut Butter And Avoid Hot or Spicy Foods

Take in a spoon of honey or peanut butter, allow it to dissolve in the mouth, and then swallow it. Also, take a break from eating things like hot or spicy foods.

  • Eat Some Sugar

Place a pinch of granulated sugar on the tongue, let it be there for 5 to 10 seconds, and then swallow.

  • Suck On a Lemon

Take a slice of lemon, add a bit of salt to it and suck that lemon slice. In the end, rinse out the mouth with water to protect teeth from citric acid.

  • Place a Drop of Vinegar on The Tongue

A drop of vinegar can generate a sour taste in the mouth, stopping hiccups in its track.

  •  Eat Some Dill Seeds

Swallowing dill seeds will activate the vagus nerve and stop the hiccups.

4. Miscellaneous Methods

There are some other solutions as well to the question of how to get rid of hiccups:

  •  Pat or Rub the Back of Your Neck

Rubbing or tapping the back of the neck will stimulate the phrenic nerve and help in stopping hiccups.

  •  Jab the Back of the Throat With the Cotton

Gently rub the back of the throat with the cotton till you get a gag or cough. And the gag reflex will stimulate the vagal nerve.

  •  Distract Yourself While Getting Engaged

Hiccups generally go away on their own when you stop focusing on them by getting occupied with some other work. For instance, play a video game, do some calculations in the head, talk to someone, or do something relatable.

5. Medical Treatment For Hiccups (Especially For Chronic Hiccups)

  • Chlorpromazine or Thorazine are considered first-line medicine for hiccups.
  • One can also go for baclofen and metoclopramide.
  • Medical relaxants, sedatives, and stimulants will help to prevent symptoms of hiccups.3
  • The phrenic nerve4 surgery will help at an inconvenient time because the phrenic nerve controls the diaphragm.  It is only used when an individual suffers from prolonged hiccups that do not respond to other treatments.

6. Perform Stress Management Techniques

Anxiety and stress are considered major reasons for many health problems, and emotional stress has been considered one of the causes of hiccups.

Try experimenting with stress management techniques to stop the arrival of hiccups like meditation, deep breathing, and so on.

A Takeaway

Feed in your mind that none of these remedies has been scientifically proven but rather research-proven because there isn’t any particular answer to how to get rid of hiccups. The above list of solutions has been practiced by numerous people worldwide to get rid of hiccups.

Hiccups are described as self-limiting, which will disappear on their own after a few minutes to a few hours. Unless your hiccups continue for more than 48 hours or cause difficulties breathing, eating, or sleeping, it’s appropriate to observe annoying but harmless spells of hiccups. Otherwise, look for doctors who will provide medical advice on how to get rid of hiccups.

Your hiccups might sip at the moment, but on the sunny side, there are answers to how to get rid of hiccups-just experiment with the above techniques before relying on the right one for you.

Read more from us here.

9 Surprising Facts About Hiccups
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  1. Howard, Robin S. “Persistent hiccups.” BMJ: British Medical Journal 305.6864 (1992): 1237. ↩︎
  2. Heindel, Jerrold J., et al. “Metabolism disrupting chemicals and metabolic disorders.” Reproductive toxicology 68 (2017): 3-33. ↩︎
  3. Lewis, James H. “Hiccups: causes and cures.” Journal of clinical gastroenterology 7.6 (1985): 539-552. ↩︎
  4. Davis, J. Newsom. “Phrenic nerve conduction in man.” Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 30.5 (1967): 420. ↩︎

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Priyanka Ohri

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