Everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced a hiccup.
And on that same note, I am sure that everyone at some point in their life, has also experienced some sort of “cure” for their hiccup ailment.
Whether it was a good old wives’ tale or something scientifically researched, I’m sure we all have tried an array of solutions to relieve our hiccups.
Perhaps you already have a great method that works perfectly for you every time or maybe your someone still searching for the next good remedy.
What some of us may not realize, however, is the simple facts about hiccups such as:
What causes hiccups?
Why do we hiccup?
And, once we start is there a real way to stop? If there is, what the heck is it?
Well, worry no more, because concocted for you below is a detailed article that will explain all the questions you can ever think up about hiccups from their causes to their remedies along with much more.
- What are Hiccups?
- What Causes Hiccups?
- Certain Medical Conditions Make You More Likely to Contract Hiccups.
- How to Know When Your Hiccups Are a Dangerous.
- Medications for Retractable Hiccups.
- Side Effects of Prolonged Hiccups.
- Cures for Hiccups.
- Hiccups in Babies – Causes and Cures.
- Keeping Hiccups Away.
What are Hiccups?
Hiccups, which are also referred to as hiccoughs are medically referenced as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF) and also by the term singultus.
Now, when it comes to hiccups there are just as many cures and remedies as there are names, but before we get deep into solving your problem, it’s a good idea to first understand what hiccups are and what causes them.
Hiccups happen either in singularity or in longer sessions at a time. These sessions are commonly referred to as bouts and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, or even a few days. The hiccups, when in bouts, happen rhythmically. In other words, there is the same amount of time between each hiccup.
While they were originally thought to occur after you eat or drink something too fast which, in turn, causes your body to react with the diaphragm suddenly contracting involuntarily. This, along with your larynx (or voice box) contracting at the same time as the diaphragm and the glottis also simultaneously contracting with the two later, effectively block the flow of air and cause your body to hiccup.
What Causes Hiccups?
While the way your body hiccups has not changed, there are much more reasons for the hiccup than before. To be honest, experts as still divided on the true cause of our hiccups. There is still no real reason that can be scientifically proven without a doubt.
- We all the biggest one that we have heard forever – you breathed in too much air, such as chewing gum for a prolonged period of time.
- Hot food has been thought more often to be the cause of our hiccups because it can irritate the phrenic nerve, which is located near the esophagus.
- Gas in the stomach that is pushed against the diaphragm.
- And of course, there’s still the bad rap that food receives for causing us hiccups especially when it is eaten too fast of too much has food has been eaten at one time.
- Some folks have been known to report hiccups after fizzy drinks, which experts now tell us to avoid because of their hiccupping cause.
- Dry bread has also been known to cause hiccups.
- Bad habits that we should all avoid anyway are now also causing us to hiccups: alcoholic beverages and smoking.
- Apparently simply having a bloated belly increases your chances of contracting hiccups.
- Sudden changes in temperature. Not only in the room, but also in your stomach, such as from drink or eating something extremely hot or cold.
- The last known growing reason that is believed to cause hiccups is now doses of some medications such as opiates, benzodiazepines, anesthesia, corticosteroid, barbiturates, and methyldopa to name a few.
While not all of these above causes are going to cause every single person to happen into a bout of hiccups, these are the main causes that hiccups have been narrowed down to.
Certain Medical Conditions Make You More Likely to Contract Hiccups.
If you haven’t figured this already, while hiccups seem like a small thing we all don’t think about much until we contract them, there is a lot more to the bodily convulsion than meets the eyes.
Because in addition to the foods and medications that you can cause you to hiccup, it has also been documented that some medical conditions can heighten your likeliness to obtain hiccups.
- Most gastrointestinal condition are thought to heighten your odds of hiccups such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), or even a small bowel obstruction.
- Some respiratory conditions like Pleurisy, Pneumonia, or Asthma also make you more likely to contract hiccups.
- Conditions that affect the Central Nervous System such as traumatic brain injuries, Encephalitis, a brain tumor, or even a stroke seem to raise your odds.
- There are also heightened odds if you suffer from a condition that irritates the Vagus Nerve (which starts in the brain, specifically the medulla) like meningitis, pharyngitis, or goiter.
- Even conditions that affect the metabolism, for example, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and diabetes.
- Things as simple as physical reaction also come into play. While these can be thought of more as causes than conditions that heighten hiccups, they include excitement, anxiety, stress, hysterical behaviors, and shock.
However, even with all these figured implications for explaining hiccups, they tend to just show up when they feel like it. There is no sure-fire way to figure when they will. Even doctors examining a patient, and even the patient themselves, rarely know the true cause or officially how it happened.
How to Know When Your Hiccups Are a Dangerous.
Now, while hiccups usually treat themselves and can disappear on their own as quickly as they appeared, that is not always the case.
It has been known for hiccups to become a serious medical problem that will require treatment. While it is an uncommon occurrence, when hiccups last longer than one month they are called retractable and medical attention is needed.
There are many treatments for hiccups, there are even some medications that have been developed for the treatment of prolonged hiccups. Sometimes, it will even be discovered that a medical problem is the root of the hiccup development.
But, before you go running off to the doctor for what seems like a long run if hiccups, you have no need to worry unless your hiccups have lasted longer than 48 hours. If it hasn’t persisted for that amount of time just yet, you’re probably fine and have no reason for worry. They will most likely resolve all on their own.
If, however, in the event that they do not, you should be sure to check with your doctor.
They’ll want to run through some things with you to make sure your problem isn’t serious. They will ask for a few details concerning the hiccups (how long, how often, when did they start, etc). And then most often start from there with a simple general physical examination which is followed by a deeper neurologic exam that will check a patient’s reflexes, balance, coordination, eyesight, sense of touch, muscle strength, and muscle tone.
If the patient seems as though they are in good health and there is no need for concern, the doctor (usually at this point only a GP – a General Practitioner/Primary Care Physician) will allow the patient to be released with no further instructions than to only wait for the hiccups to clear on their own or try some simple remedies.
However, in some cases, the GP will decide that there may be a deeper underlying cause for the hiccups.
If that is the case, they may order a few diagnostic tests which can include a few blood tests that will be used to check for conditions such as an infection, kidney disease, or diabetes. A few imaging tests which will probably include a chest X-ray, a CT scan, and/or an MRI scan.
These tests will be used to determine whether or not there are any anatomical abnormalities present and discover where they are so that they can be treated. If there are, they may be affecting the phrenic or vagus nerve or even the diaphragm, which we know are key factors in the effect of hiccups.
An Endoscopic test may also be performed to check for any abnormalities in the throat. It’s a simple procedure in which the doctor will insert a flexible tube with a small camera (an endoscope) down the patient’s throat which allows them to check the windpipe and the esophagus.
In some instances, there will even be an ECG (electrocardiogram) to check for heart-related conditions. In this test, the patient’s heart rate is measured for electrical activity.
If there is a serious discovery of an underlying medical condition that is deemed the cause of the hiccups, then the doctor will obviously take the necessary steps from there to help you combat and treat the newfound condition. Once the underlying condition is treated, more often than the not the hiccups will subside.
Medications for Retractable Hiccups.
Although, in the event that no other cause has been found other than a serious case of the hiccups then there may be a drug prescribed for treatment.
If there is a medication that needs to be added to help the patient overcome their hiccups, it will usually be two weeks of a low-dose that may be gradually increased until the hiccups are finally relieved. The two weeks is a standard length and may be lengthened or shortened depending on key variables in the patient such as the severity of the hiccups, the general health of the patient, and their age.
The drugs that have been developed for such this cause are:
- Baclofen (Lioresal) which is a muscle relaxant, chlorpromazine which is an antipsychotic medication that is proven to alleviate hiccups in patients.
- Gabapentin which was at first used for the treatment of epilepsy but is now more commonly prescribed for things such as neuropathic pain and is helpful in calming hiccups.
- Haloperidol which is another antipsychotic drug.
- Metoclopramide (Reglan) which, despite being an anti-nausea medication, has been known to be effective in helping with hiccups.
- Anesthesia has been prescribed for hiccups even though it is commonly used before surgeries to induce a loss of sensation or consciousness
- Corticosteroids, drugs used to reduce inflammation, are now prescribed for hiccups.
- Chemotherapy, medicines used to treat cancers, are now even used for curing hiccups.
Side Effects of Prolonged Hiccups.
When hiccups are prolonged, they can be much more of a nuisance than just how annoying it is to break a sentence a few times. There are serious side effects to this condition such as:
- Weight loss which results from a difficulty in eating. This problem can arise not only from long-term hiccups but also when they come at short intervals.
- Insomnia is a major problem because as you can imagine, your body convulsing multiple times overnight can put a damper on getting comfortable and staying asleep if you can even fall asleep in the first place.
- Fatigue is also a large problem in people suffering from prolonged hiccups. They are usually exhausted, most likely from the difficulty to sleep and eat.
- Hiccups can also make it harder for patients to communicate properly.
- Patients suffering from a prolonged case of hiccups are considered to be at a higher risk of developing clinical depression.
- Another (and perhaps the biggest) problem for patients with hiccups is when that patient is also trying to heal from surgical wounds. If they are hiccupping all day long, it can take a much longer time for their wounds to heal, which also results in a much higher risk of developing an infection or for them to begin bleeding again after their surgery.
Remember, while these above side effects of prolonger hiccups can be a little frightening, hiccups have to last longer than a month for them to be considered threatening to your health and there is no real reason to call your doctor until your hiccups have lasted over 48 hours.
Cures for Hiccups.
Now, with the scary and deep matter of prolonger hiccups behind us, (even though I knew those of you reading through this right now suffering from hiccups of your own and you are looking for a sure cure and hoping and praying that the hiccups plaguing you right now stop in the next hour, or more hopefully, minutes because retractable hiccups will be now in your thought and dreams until they stop) if after the doctor examination there is no underlying cause and the doctor feels as though the hiccups will subside on their own without means of medication, you will be sent home with orders to let them try to surpass on their own and to try a few proven remedies.
While not all are scientifically proven, they at some point have worked for some people, therefore there is no reason why they may not work for you.
There’s always the old remedy of drinking water, which seems as though it will be timeless as a recommended cure for hiccups. You can try to drink the water slowly with small sips or you can gargle with very cold water to help you cure your hiccups.
These methods of drinking seem to be the most effective when it comes to a cure, but there are countless others and some of them you may find a little strange…
- Drink water with a straw while holding your ears is another well-known and relied on method. The temperature of the water isn’t extremely relevant to the cure, although it had been suggested to use cool/cold water. There is no real reason for this method to work and while it does work best on young people and children, adults may only have to try it a few times to see results. In other words, youngsters probably only need a few gulps and they should be good to go, if you’re a little older, it may take you few more gulps of water to see results.
- If you have one straw and the method doesn’t work, then consider using two straws instead with your glass of water. The only thing, don’t use both in the glass. When you pour your glass of water, you’re going to put one straw inside the water just like you normally would, but then you’re going to hold the other out alongside the glass. Put them both in your mouth and simply drink the water as you normally would, only make sure you drink it with large gulps.
- Try to drink without using your hands at all. This isn’t exactly magic trick worthy. Instead, simply sit in a chair and place your glass of water on another chair directly in front of you. Lean forward and, without using your hands to touch, tilt, or even hold the glass in any way, try to drink as much water as you possibly can.
- Drink upside down. Now to me, this one is a magic trick. I would say simply, but who are we kidding? Fill your (regular, mind you) glass or plastic cup only half-full (or half-empty) with water. Lie upside down, for example over the side of your couch/bed or try to more simply bend at the waist. Take a large gulp or two and then straighten yourself out. If the hiccups are gone – awesome! – if not, take another big gulp or two, upside down of course. If you’re struggling to drink upside down with a regular glass, you can always try to add a straw.
- Although this is not very highly thought of as a good method, as a last resort you can always try to eat something sweet. A teaspoon of granulated sugar works the best because it is most effective in overloading the nerve endings in the mouth, but anything sweet might do the trick.
- If you’re alone with the hiccups and want to be scared, try biting into a lemon wedge and sucking on the juice. When your body tastes the lemon, it released the same kind of reaction as someone scaring you. Yes, sugar can be added to the lemon to help ease the bitter taste and some folks like to play bartender and add a few drops of Angostura Oil to the wedge. They like to also think that it helps this remedy work more effectively.
- Drink roughly half a teaspoon of either vinegar or pickle juice every 7-10 seconds until the hiccups cease.
- While you are swallowing, try simply placing gentle pressure on your nose to stop yourself from breathing. You can repeat this until the hiccups have subsided.
- Holding your breath is still considered a working treatment, but try it this way: hold your breath for a short time, then breath out, and then repeat three or four times. Be sure to do this every 20 minutes until your hiccups have cleared.
- In addition to the granulated sugar method mentioned above, you can also try a spoonful of brown sugar or honey. Hold the spoon in your mouth for about five seconds before you swallow and then take a sip of water. Note: it is not recommended to continue consuming spoonful of sugar after spoonful of sugar. So, is this doesn’t work consider switching to a different method.
- If neither of those are in your ballpark, try eating a nice spoonful of peanut butter. Place the spoon holding the peanut butter in your mouth for anywhere between 5-10 seconds. Swallow without chewing. Note: if you are allergic to peanuts, almond butter or Nutella can also be effective. Really anything with a sticky consistency similar to peanut butter will suffice.
- Swallow 1 teaspoon of salt that is followed directly by a small sip of water and slow breaths to make sure that you stay relaxed. Again, don’t try to repeat this method until your hiccups are gone. Move on to something different if you don’t see results the first time.
- Try breathing in as much as you can without letting any of the air out. Swallow. If it’s possible, continue to swallow and inhale until you can’t possibly do it any longer. When you get to that point, exhale in a controlled manner. This should reset your breathing and calm your hiccups.
- Practice open-mouthed swallowing. For this cure, open your mouth and keep it that way for a couple of minutes. When you feel the urge to swallow, go ahead, but try to keep your lips parted as you do so. This remedy should work within about three minutes as long as you continue to gulp every few seconds (especially if you feel a hiccup coming on). A few hiccups may escape, but just continue, they should clear. Note: you should not be wearing anything tight around your chest when you perform this remedy. If you are, be sure to loosen it.
- Figure eight breathing. Alright, well-imaged figure eight breathing. Simply picture your breath as you breathe, imagining that as it reaches the end of your nose it then slowing twists back around so that it then becomes the in-breath. Continue from there imagining your breath traveling as a figure eight through your nose. If that’s too much for you to think about (no judgment) then simply inhale as much as you possibly can and hold it before you exhale all but a small amount of the air. Continue with this for about 15-20 seconds, or until the hiccups are gone.
- Try to stretch your diaphragm by slowly breathing in until you feel as though you can’t inhale anymore. Try to feel the breath extending down towards your abdomen. Hold this breath for 30 seconds before you slowly release all the breath in your lungs. Repeat this 4-5 times or until your hiccups are gone.
- Inhale and exhale slowly only once. Make sure that as you exhale, you push out as much air as possible, or until your body forces you to inhale again. When you do inhale, do so deeply and stick out your tongue. Hold your breath for 40 seconds while you’re plugging your ears with your fingers. Like many of the above, repeat until you see results.
- Unbreathing-breathing, as I like to call it, is a cure in which you take a deep breath and hold it. Hold your mouth tightly shut and plug your nose. Now, simply begin to move your diaphragm as though you were breathing in and out really fast. Once the hiccups are resolved, or you need some more air, exhale. If the hiccups are still hanging around, repeat the process.
- Break out the nursery rhymes. For this cure, pinch the bridge of your nose and begin to spin in a clockwise direction while you sing “row, row, row, your boat” and continue spinning until you have sung this song five times. Now, while still pinching your nose, begin to spin in a counterclockwise direction while now singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Once you finish, you should find the hiccups cured. And while the songs may seem ridiculous, they help with timing in addition to inhaling and exhaling.
- If you experienced hiccups after you abruptly rose to your feet, then alert your body the same way once again. Try to lie down for a long period of time and the quickly stand up. If the hiccups persist after that, you can always try to reverse the method and instead stand for a long period of time and then suddenly lay down.
- Another method is to find a straight-backed chair and to try to put yourself into the crash position, much like if you would be instructed to do so by an airplane stewardess. To achieve this position (for those of you unsure) simply sit down and press your entire back along the back of the chair (straight-backed, remember, like a dining room chair). Once you are seated, slowly proceed to bend over into the tuck position and continue to bend until you feel slightly uncomfortable. Once you do, slowly squeeze your arms and try to squeeze your body. Hold your breath for 10 seconds before you can slowly sit back to the start position. You can repeat this if necessary. Note: this method is not advised for people who suffer from a back problem.
- Start to gulp as much air as you can until you burp. Eventually, this process will result in the air instead wanting to come up as burps instead of hiccups and should reset your vagus nerve (which we covered earlier).
- Coughing can sometimes do the trick as well to cure you of hiccups. Begin by counting the number of seconds between each hiccup. When you think one should be coming, or you feel one coming on, before it escapes cough loudly or even scream. If you repeat this 3-4 times you should be cured of your hiccups.
- Another trick is to try and stop the airflow at your neck. While this may sound dangerous, it’s not. All you need to do is simply breathe in very quick until you can’t breathe in anymore. Then, simply look downwards so that your neck is in a bent position. Stay in this position for about 10-20 seconds, forcing your body to hold the air down. After the time is up, return to normal position and think of the air staying down in your lungs. This simple process should disrupt your cycle of hiccups and cure you!
- If you think you can tolerate it (and if the hiccups have lasted long enough that you don’t care anymore) a good trick is to always try to have a friend tickle you. While they do have to do this for 30 seconds or longer in order for the sure to work, you should try to ask someone who you can trust to stop when they’re supposed to. The prolonged sensation of tickling will pose as a distraction from your hiccups – you’ll forget you ever had them!
- If you can’t handle tickling, then you can always ask your friend to scare you. But it has to be a really good one. It has to make you scream or at least gasp so that your breathing can be reset.
- For this next cure, you’re going to finally find a good use for your earlobes. Simply drink a normal-sized gulp of water but be sure no to swallow it! As you leave the water in your mouth, pull down on your earlobes while tilting your head back. Alright, once your head is back and you’re still pulling down on your earlobes, you can swallow. This should eliminate the hiccups.
- Another cure is to close up everything on your face, including your ears. Take your thumbs and press them along the tragus (or, the little flap on the front of your ear canal) press them inward and close the canal. Next, press your pinkie fingers along your nostrils in order to close your nose. Follow by closing your eyes. Once your face is closed, take a nice deep breath and hold it for as long as you possibly can. Although, once you finish this exercise and your hiccups are gone, try as best as you can to continue to breathe normally instead of following your natural reaction and breathing hard or panting.
- If none of the above have worked out for you so far, you can always try to stretch your hiccups away. Stand upright and place your feet hip-width apart. Place your thumb in the palm of your hand and keep your fingers stretched out. Then, look up toward the ceiling and stretch your arms up over your head toward the sky. In addition, pull your abs in as if you are trying to have your pants fall off your hips. Breathe deeply several times in this position. Note: if you perform this stretching and you don’t have any hiccups, you are likely to induce a yawn.
- Use Mezza di voce. I other words breathe using a singer’s breathing support. If you can control the movement of your diaphragm you can cure your hiccups. Start by slowly breathing in then, you guessed it, slowly breathe out. But breath out on “Si”. Now, continue breathing in and out following the out breath on a gradual crescendo and diminuendo. This exercise usually starts from a quiet tone which is then gradually and smoothly louder until it reaches a high volume, which is then made quiet once again. Hopefully, hiccups solved.
- While just drinking water (in any of the above ways and forms) is always a good, homespun cure for hiccups, consider adding a pencil to your glass of water. No, I don’t mean dropping it in the water glass. Instead, find a pencil and place it horizontally between your teeth. Bite down. Then, try to drink as much water as you can without the pencil falling out of your mouth. Don’t worry, you don’t have to drink the entire glass of water. Just a couple sips should do the trick. Note: Pencils will not hurt you – they do not nor have they ever contained any traces of lead.
- You can also consider swapping out the pencil for a metal spoon. Put the handle in your mouth while making sure the curved end cover’s one of your ears. Now drink your glass of water until it is empty. Hopefully, your hiccups will be gone.
- In some cases, patients have reported simply leaving their mouth open and breathing slowly has done the trick to reset their breathing. It’s at least worth a try.
- If you’re not into the fancy-smanshy methods of drinking water, some people have reported that simply taking 6-7 sips of water has done the trick to cure their hiccups.
- You can also try taking five sips of water. Breathe in while you swallow the water each time.
- Also, try pinching your nose and swallowing three times. This is a little more complicated than it sounds, but it works for a lot of patients!
- Occupy yourself with something else, anything else. Taking your mind off of your hiccups is a great way to forget about them and will make your body reset its breathing pattern. Distraction can be one of the best and most effective methods of curing your hiccups and it is the root of most of the remedies listed.
- If you like to live on the edge, you can always truly add something into your water glass. Experts suggest half a toothpick, but really anything you don’t want to swallow will do the trick. As you drink the glass of water, focus on the object floating around in there and concentrate on NOT swallowing it. The thought of something besides your hiccups should do the trick for you.
- While a brown paper bag is most often thought of as a way to calm someone who is in hysterics, it is also a method for curing someone of pesky hiccups. This is effective because it increases the amount of carbon dioxide that you are breathing in. This, in turn, gives your body something much more important to do rather than hiccup – get that carbon dioxide back out! Note: Be sure to breathe slowly and deeply during this method. If you breathe too fast, you’ll end up hyperventilating in addition to your hiccups, and that doesn’t sound like any fun. But seriously guys – just breathe into like you see in TV shows and movies. Don’t put it over your head.
- You can always try suction. Alright, don’t get dirty guys (that cure comes later). What I mean is, place a paper towel or napkin over a glass filled with water. Now, try to drink all the water out of the glass through the paper towel. The idea behind this method is that it takes much more suction for you to be able to achieve drinking the water, which forces your inner bits to work much harder and letting your body forgot about its hiccups.
- Okay – now you can get your mind stuck in the gutter, because it seems orgasms can cure you of hiccups. Back in the year 2000, a 40-year-old man was infected by a bad case of some serious hiccups. That was, until he reached the point of ejaculation in intercourse. This cured his hiccups for the next twelve months. This method, however, is not yet known whether or not to be effective for treating women with hiccups. I guess that will call for some further investigation…
- Another treatment that will allow you to keep your mind somewhere in the gutter is that of a rectal message. Yep, as crazy and strange, and maybe even a little gross as this sounds, this method is earning a spot as what patients suffering from prolonged hiccups should try before they intervene with medical attention it is so effective. The study was from 2006 and had a striking effect. Turned out that seven out of seven patients were cured of the incurable hiccups simply by simulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. The fella with the most luck? A 60-year-old man with acute pancreatitis gave a digital rectal massage a try and cured his hiccups. Even when they returned a few hours later he gave the massage another try and was cured once again.
- Alright – let’s get back on track here. No more strange, gutter-minded ways. Next up is something called the “African Way”. For this method, simply wet the pack of a piece of paper and then place it on the patient’s head. This should stop the hiccups.
- There is also a method called “The Middle Name Method”. For this cure, simply ask the patient their middle name, although don’t tell them why you want it. (FYI – you don’t have a real reason anyways other than to sure their hiccups, but don’t tell them that). Now, ask him/her to spell it for you. Once they have (hopefully they can) say: “Your hiccups are gone!” If this method worked, the hiccups will be gone immediately.
- You can always also try to take huge gulps of water. Although, make sure you’re holding your breath while pinching the bridge of your nose for 10 seconds before you swallow.
- You can try drinking dissolved cardamom powder. Making yourself a beverage made simply of cardamom powder may not seem like the tastiest things to guzzle down, but it could do the trick in helping you cure your hiccups. Simply mix one teaspoon of the powder with a cup and a half of boiled water. Mix well and allow the beverage to cool before you drink it. You may also want to strain out any of the excess powder before you consume the beverage.
- Relaxation, in addition to taking your mind off the problem, has also been known to be effective in curing hiccups. Successful relaxation processes to try range anywhere from restful sitting, yoga, listening to soothing music, meditation, and even deep breathing. If the hiccups persist, you can complete any or all of these multiple times during your day until you see a cure.
- If none of the above methods have done the trick for curing your hiccups, then you do have one last option: bargaining. If you’re friends with someone who has a bad case of the hiccups, simply wait for them to hiccup. As soon as they do, tell them that you will pay them $20 to hiccup right now. Most likely, they won’t be able to offer you a hiccup and their problem will be resolved (not to mention, you’ll be able to save yourself $20). If, however, they can manage to hiccup under the pressure, I think this is a perfectly fine case where you can be a taker-backer.
Even with all these above-listed remedies and cures, obviously not all of them are scientifically backed and not all are going to work for everyone.
If you’re not into reading through countless bouts of “malarkey” and you want some real facts, these remedies below are a quick list of the scientific cures that were published by the NHS and CDC.
These should work for anyone suffering from hiccups and in the event that they don’t, you can always start referring to the list above once again.
- Breath in deep and hold that breath for about ten seconds. Breathe out slow. You can do 3-4 repetitions of this breathing exercise, rest, and then do it again every 20 minutes until your hiccups are gone.
- Breathing into a bag is considered a top-notch cure (although again – not over your head guys).
- Sit down and hug your knees to your chest for a couple minutes, compressing your diaphragm. This should ease your hiccups.
- Gargling ice water is a real cure as well.
- Attempt drinking from the far side of the glass: Stand and bend over the glass, putting your mouth on the opposite side that is facing away from you (the place that would rest on your nose if you were drinking normally). As you’re bending over the glass, be sure to tilt it away from you and drink as much as you can.
- Gently compress your chest, such as you do leaning over.
- Place a couple drops of vinegar in your mouth (enough to taste).
- Put gentle pressure on your nose while you swallow.
- Place granulated sugar in your mouth and allow it to melt before you swallow.
- Press on your diaphragm, lightly.
- Sip on very cold water very slowly.
- Slowly drink down a glass of warm water without stopping to breathe.
- Suck on a thin slice of lemon as though it were candy.
- Burping is also considered a scientific way to solve hiccups. Some folks result to drinking fizzy drinks to help them burp, although this can be counteractive because some experts also say that fizzy drinks are the cause of hiccups…
- Some experts suggest pulling on your tongue which can be achieved by holding the tip of your tongue in between your fingers and gently tugging. This is another method that resets the vagus nerve and eases the spasms in the diaphragm (although, they also noted, that this often doesn’t really work).
- The last thing anyone can suggest: Just wait them out. More often than not, hiccups will go away all on their own without having to do anything about them. Some experts even say that by simply waiting and worrying about them you’ll make them worse. So, relax and go distract yourself, you’ll be fine.
Now, there are a few very important things that you should remember as you try to cure your hiccups:
*If during breathing exercises you swallow too much air, it’s a possibility that it will result in a stomach ache. This will eventually go away when you burp, but it could be slightly painful for a little while.
*Consuming vast amounts of sugar, salt, vinegar, or pickle juice can cause harm to your health. Don’t repeat these cures multiple times. Simple move onto something different if they do not offer you relief within the first 1-2 times.
*If a remedy/cure makes you uncomfortable or is painful – don’t go through with it! There are countless other remedies. Simply move on. Another one is bound to work just as well. There’s no cure worth hurting yourself over. It’s just hiccups. They’re most likely to go away on their own.
Hiccups in Babies – Causes and Cures.
Now, as you have obviously figured the above remedies and cures, although most are proven effective ways for adults and children to cure their hiccups, they wouldn’t work so well for little babies.
So how the heck do you go about helping them with a spurt of terrible hiccups?
Never fear, there are plenty of remedies for them too. It is important to understand that hiccups in babies younger than twelve months are completely normal and no serious concern should arise from them if they are typical hiccups.
However, just like in adults, there are a few key times when you should consult your babies doctor.
For example: if the hiccups seem painful or make your baby very upset it is a good idea to call you doctor. If the hiccups are disturbing their sleep you should also talk to your doctor.
Also, while hiccups are common in children under the age of twelve months, if they are still regular (as in quite a few times during the day) after your baby’s first birthday, consult your doctor. There could be a serious underlying issue.
On that note, these simple remedies below are effective in helping your baby find relief from the hiccups.
- Try taking a break to burp your little one. Hiccups are caused by the same kind of motions in babies as they are in adults. Burping your baby can relieve any excess gas stuck in their tummies and it also puts them in an upright position. This should alleviate, and help to keep away, hiccups. Note: When burping your baby, try rubbing or gently patting their back. Never hit them too hard, as they are fragile and can easily be hurt.
- Hiccups are not always contracted after or while your baby is eating. If this happens, simply offer them a pacifier. The sucking motion and relaxation should calm their diaphragm and soothe the hiccups.
- You can always let the hiccups run their course. Most of the time the hiccups will resolve all on their own and don’t need any further attention. After all, this is a natural occurrence in adults and babies.
- Although this method has not been scientifically proven to work, it has been known that gripe water can be effective in curing babies from their hiccups. You can try to feed them a little of this product which is usually sought to cure babies from colic and other digestive/intestinal discomforts. This is special water that includes a mixture of herbs that range from fennel, chamomile, ginger, and cinnamon. As always – it a good idea to check with your doctor before you administer anything to your baby.
- Try sitting down in a rocker with your baby and rubbing their back in an upwards motion (never down) almost as though you are burping them. This will help to move out whatever gas is causing their hiccups.
- Some experts recommend not using a swing that moves back and forth as it can worsen the hiccupping reflex.
- Keep your baby in an upright position after feeding to help alleviate their hiccups. Even if your baby has not eaten recently and they contract hiccups, holding them in an upright position nearly always will clear them right up within a few minutes.
- It is also reported that breastfeeding your baby when they contract hiccups can help to resolve them. If you bottle feed, remember to take breaks to allow for burps (the AAP American Academy of Pediatrics – recommends ever 2-3 ounces).
- Some recommend giving your baby a cup of water when they start with a bout of hiccups. You can also use cooled, boiled water.
- It is also been noted that you can give a small slice of lemon to a baby to reduce the intensity and frequency of the hiccups.
- Some people turn to aromatherapy for the cure of hiccups in their babies. It’s usually achieved by placing a drop of mandarin essential oil on a piece of tissue paper for your baby to inhale. Although always make sure that your baby never ingests the oil. That can lead to serious adverse consequences.
- Winding your baby is a process much like burping, only the baby is placed over your shoulder from their lower back upwards and you can softly rub their back. This, much like burping your baby, should work out any extra air in their system that is causing the hiccups.
*It is very important to note that there are many remedies for adults that should not be used or tried on infants. Stick to the above remedies that are mentioned and never under any circumstances should you try to use the paper bag method.
Never hold your babies tongue and do not try to startle your baby.
And never ever try to make your baby hold their breath.
Also, make sure to proceed with caution if you chose to use the lemon method (as your baby is likely to think this is disgusting and may enter into a fit of crying, which could result in something much worse than hiccups).
*Another warning: There is a remedy that tells parents to sweeten their baby’s water with honey. I cannot stress this enough: If your baby is under 12 months of age DO NOT use this method. Honey is not recommended for babies of that age, it is actually extremely dangerous for them. There is even a warning on the back of the honey container!
*Always be sure to consult your doctor before starting your baby on medications or administering aromatherapy.
Keeping Hiccups Away.
Of course, even with all these remedies and explanations found throughout this article, it’s always best to not have to deal with hiccups at all.
So, here are a few key ways that you can use to try and prevent them from even happening in the first place. I didn’t say they were plausible or that you can or will bother to try them, but they were worth mentioning.
- Try your best to avoid any abrupt changes in temperatures, not only in the room but also in your stomach (which means refrain from drinking extremely hot/cold beverages).
- No matter how good the food may be, don’t eat it too fast.
- Avoid having large meals.
- Don’t drink anything fizzy.
- And the worst of all – avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. Actually, no alcohol at all. (I know, yeah right, and as you can see – we’re all still suffering through the hiccups and seeking cures.)
For keeping hiccups away in babies, think along the same lines.
- Try not to feed your little one too fast. If they drink too fast, try changing the nipple on their bottle to a slow-flow.
- Try to feed them only when they are relaxed and calm and/or when they are really hungry.
- Keep them in an upright position after feedings.
- Take regular pauses during bottle feeding to allow for burps (it’s recommended every 2-3 ounces).
Even after all of this, just keep in mind that while you are battling through your hiccups, you probably don’t have the worst case of them ever. That crown is worn by someone by the name of Charles Osborne (1892-1991) who, according to Guinness World Records, still holds the record for hiccupping simultaneously. His bout lasted 68 years straight, from 1922 all the way up to 1990. Osborne lived in Anthon, Iowa, USA and in 1922 while he was preparing to slaughter a 300-pound hog, the large animal collapsed on top of him and just like that he began his record-setting bout of hiccups. In fact, it was one “hic” every ten seconds.
Experts have suspected that the cause of the hiccups was either a popped blood vessel in his brain that controlled his abdomen or that he pulled a muscle. Either way, Osborne was stuck with a terrible tirade of hiccups and even after undergoing multiple operations to attempt a cure, all of them failed. Luckily, in 1990 they finally cleared. Although, poor Osborne died only a year later on May 1st, 1991 from complications and ulcers. At least the hiccups only made him famous and didn’t kill him to.