Hiccups are very common, and everyone experiences it at some time or another.
Mostly they stop after a few seconds, but if they continue, can get a bit annoying as they interfere with talking and eating.
Eating a spoonful of sugar or breathing in a paper bag are a few remedies that many people vouch for. But what works is not known. Very few remedies are scientifically proved to be able to get rid of hiccups.(1, 2)
Why Do Hiccups Occur?
The diaphragm is a muscle that helps breathe in and out. This muscle begins to spasm involuntarily and as you inhale the vocal cord snap shut, making a distinctive sound. Various lifestyle factors can cause hiccups, such as:
- Easting fast
- Eating spicy foods
- Intake of carbonated drinks
- Drinking alcohol
- Stress, fear, anxiety and emotional excitement
- Changes in body temperature
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Hiccups At Home
Hiccups occur in short bouts. If they continue for more than 48 hours, a doctor should be consulted, as there can be an underlying condition such as asthma, pneumonia, or inflammatory bowel disease, requiring treatment.
Breathing and Posture Techniques
Changing the breathing technique or posture can help relax the diaphragm. It can be done in the following ways:
- Practice measured breathing in which you can breathe in for a count of five and breathe out for a count of five.
- Inhale a large gulp of air and hold it for 10-20 seconds then slowly breathe out.
- Breathe in a paper bag by placing a paper bag over the mouth and nose. Breathe in and breathe out by deflating and inflating the bag.
- Sit in a comfortable position and bring the knees towards the chest. Hold in for two minutes.
- Lean or bend forward and compress the chest. This puts pressure on the diaphragm.
- Try to exhale while keeping the nose and mouth closed.
There are certain pressure points on the body that are sensitive to pressure. Putting pressure on these points can relax the diaphragm and stimulate vagus and phrenic nerves.
- Put pressure on the diaphragm by applying pressure on the area just below the sternum. This separates the abdomen from the lungs.
- Squeeze the nose while drinking water.
- Grab the tip of the tongue and pull it out. It stimulates the nerves and muscles in the throat.
- Apply pressure on the palm with the thumb of the other hand.
- The carotid artery is present on both sides of the neck. Massage the artery in a circular motion, to get relief from hiccups.
Things to Consume To Stop Hiccups
- There are a few things that if you drink or eat can help get rid of hiccups.
- Sipping ice water slowly can stimulate the vagus nerve and stop hiccups
- Drink warm water slowly without stopping to breathe
- Drink water through a paper or towel
- Suck an ice cube
- Gargle with ice water
- Suck a lemon with a bit of salt to it.
- Eat sugar and let it stay on the tongue for a few seconds before swallowing.
- Put a drop of vinegar on the tongue
Ayurveda science recommends, taking one teaspoon of honey and castor oil and dipping a finger in the mixture and licking it. You can also put a teaspoon of honey stirred in warm water on the back of the tongue.
One teaspoon of peanut butter can help get rid of hiccups in children. While chewing and swallowing it the breathing gets interrupted and can help with hiccups.
Ice cream can be a cure and also a treat. The cold nature and the process of swallowing can help relax the diaphragm.
Other Remedies to Stop Hiccups:
There are a few science-backed remedies that can help get rid of hiccups.
Orgasm: A study involving a man with hiccups for four days found them stopping after he had an orgasm(1)
Rectal massage: One more case study found a man getting relief from hiccups after getting a rectal massage(2)
Mostly, hiccups go away within a few minutes of hours. If they last for more than two days, speak with your doctor.
Sometimes there is no condition just stubborn hiccup, troubling you. In such a case the doctor would prescribe medicine to stop them. The medicines include baclofen, chlorpromazine, metoclopramide.
How To Prevent Hiccups?
Mostly hiccups are triggered by lifestyle factors and can be prevented by changing the habit.
- Avoid carbonated drinks, spicy foods, and alcohol
- Eat slowly
- If the baby has hiccups, just hold the baby against the shoulder and pat back gently.
- Eat small servings
- Practice breathing techniques.
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