Ever recall being a part of an interesting conversation and all of a sudden hiccups begin? Or when you’re about to give a weighty presentation and then the “hics” take over your speech?

This can become very annoying. Most times this results in you trying out all sorts of creative and unusual tricks to get rid of them.

It, therefore, is no surprise the abundance of hiccup remedies all over the web. However, this can be quite confusing as it becomes difficult to distinguish the working methods from mere fables.

Nevertheless, in this article, you will see proven methods for getting rid of hiccups.

Before we go ahead to the 9 tricks for hiccup relief, let’s get to know a bit more about what exactly we want to get rid of.

WHAT ARE HICCUPS?

The National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) defines hiccups as an involuntary or uncontrolled spasmodic contraction of the muscle at the bottom of the lungs (diaphragm) which is followed by the quick closure of the vocal cords.

Hiccups occur when your air intake is involuntarily obstructed and this can happen for absolutely no reason.

Most times its a negligible nuisance, but when prolonged it can be indicative of very serious medical challenges.

So basically when you have a hiccup what happens is that suddenly there is an involuntary contraction of your diaphragm alongside a contraction of your larynx or voice box as well as a complete closure of the glottis.

All these things happen simultaneously and result in a rush of air into your lungs creating the annoying but familiar “hic” sound.

HOW OFTEN DO HICCUPS APPEAR?

Medically termed as synchronous diaphragmatic singultus or Flutter (SDF).

Hiccups may occur in bouts or individually, and most times they are often rhythmic which means the time interval between each “hic” is quite consistent.

Most times you’d get hiccups from time to time and they can easily be resolved without treatment within a few minutes.

However, in rare situations, you could experience chronic or prolonged hiccups, which could last up to a month or even more.

These prolonged hiccups are known as intractable hiccups. It’s important to state that if the bout persists for more than 48 hours, it is considered prolonged and you should meet a doctor.

It could be a symptom of a very serious medical problem.

A study carried out by Thomas Walsh on 99 people suffering from cancer of the esophagus showed that 27% of them experienced prolonged hiccups.

Furthermore, according to another research, in relation to cancer of the esophagus, only 63% of people who are diagnosed in 6 months survive, what’s more just 4% of people who are diagnosed after 5 years survive.

Source: Pop Culture

This is why it’s vital to pay attention to prolonged hiccups and get medical help quickly.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF HICCUPS?

The exact reason hiccups happens remains unclear; however, chronic hiccups are often associated with a broad range of medical challenges such as gastrointestinal problems, cancer, and stroke etc.

Most hiccups get resolved without treatments but when prolonged they can lead to issues like depression and insomnia.

Also staying away from alcohol and not eating too fast can assist in reducing the chance of getting hiccups.

Now that’s done with let’s see 9 tricks to get rid of hiccups as quickly as they come!

The traditional recommendations you may be used too like breathing into a paper bag or sipping water to get rid of hiccups rarely work. But the tricks below certainly will.

1. Breathing Technique – Inhale/Exhale and Diaphragm Movement

This is a pretty easy technique to get rid of hiccups. Simply inhale through your mouth as many times as possible, then swallow your saliva and restrict air from escaping out of your mouth.

Take in air through your mouth and swallow saliva once again without letting air slip out.  Do this as much as you can. It could get very difficult the more you repeat it but do not desist.

You will get to the point where you do not feel like it’s possible to swallow saliva anymore, push yourself and do it for the last time.

Once you are certain that is impossible for you to repeat it again, then you can release air out of your nose. This will reset your breathing.

If it still persists, you can proceed to the exhale step.

You just need to take in as much air as you can and some more, then hold your breath.

After you do this, start to let out the air you took in slowly while restricting some.

You need to repeat this for as long as you can. Most times it takes 20 to 30 seconds to stop the hiccups.

If you’ve got some really stubborn hiccups, however, you may need to do this; after inhaling and exhaling, take in a deep breath and keep it in.

Then plug your ears and close your mouth (you could use your hands.)

Now, all you need to do is move your diaphragm up and down and then exhale as soon as you feel the hiccups disappear. If the hiccups still persist repeat it again.

2. Pressure Points

Most people do not know that certain points on your body can stop hiccups immediately regardless of this ignorance though; pressure points are an efficient and effective way of getting rid of hiccups.

As a matter of fact, a recent study showed that cancer patients who suffered from persistent or chronic hiccups saw a drastic reduction or total elimination of hiccups after undergoing acupuncture or pressure points techniques.

Source: ResearchGate

Let’s see some of these pressure points.

a. Philtrum

This is an easy one. Simply put your finger on the philtrum (the area between the middle of the top of your lip and the under of your nose.) Hold down on this spot as hard as you can and push it in towards your teeth.

Keep the intensity of this pressure for approximately 30 seconds before you let go. This works often and it is especially useful for application on babies who usually have hiccups a lot.

b. Sternum Pressure Point Technique

Find your sternum. This is the bone at the center of your chest that links all your ribs together. Put your finger on the sternum and slowly move your fingers upwards till you locate its end point.

Apply pressure on this bone for less than thirty seconds. Keep in mind that this does not have to be strong pressure, just strong enough for you to feel it and it should get rid of the hiccups.

c. Under Your Collarbone Trick

In the hollow under your collarbone, right next to the breastbone put pressure on both sides for up to 10 seconds or till you feel the hiccup is gone. This is also helpful for asthma, chest congestion, and coughing.

d. Pinky Finger

This is a rather odd one but works like a charm, take the hand of your baby or yourself and apply hard pressure on the pinky fingernail surface for 10 seconds and the hiccups should cease immediately.

e. Outer Chest

Two inches right above the crease of the armpit about an inch inward and on the outer area of your chest, place hard pressure for between 20 to 30 minutes till you don’t feel the hiccups anymore.

This is also great in relieving breathing and coughing challenges.

d. Under your Breastbone

Find where your breastbone is (the long thin bone that links your right and left ribs.) Follow the bone downwards to its end where you can feel it gets hallow, then apply pressure with just your fingertip right there below the bone.

Hold this for 20-30 seconds, or till you are certain the hiccups are gone.

e. Hand

Make a fist with your hand. This will reveal two vessels which we situated on your inner forearm. You would see a dent in your skin located very close to your wrist.

All you need to do is to hold this point which is located between the two vessels and 3 fingers length towards the elbow and it should get rid of your hiccups.

f. Abdomen

This pressure point is located on your abdomen. For this simply find your belly button as well as your pubic bone. Now, at the center of these two spots is the presence of a pressure point that you can use to relieve hiccups.

It’s situated at the center of the line between the belly button and the pubic bone.

For optimal effect, you need to lay down flat on your back and push on this spot for between 20 to 30 seconds and it will get rid of those annoying “hics”.

3. Chew on a Piece of Lemon

In 1981 a man by the name of Dr. Herman carried out a series of informal tests of a hiccup fix and he saw that he achieved a 88% success rate with his new found method.

This method was discovered by bartenders who have been relying on this method for years to get rid of alcohol-induced hiccups.

So, all you need to do is simply get a slice of lemon and cover it with some drops of Angostura bitters (keep in mind that it is alcoholic so this shouldn’t be for kids) and then chew the lemon slice either leaving the rind or you can chew on it for some minutes.

If it’s too sharp you can add sugar on it.

The bitterness of the lemon and Angostura bitters will stimulate the lining of your gullet or the vagus nerve which relaxes your diaphragm.

In addition to this, you can also drink vinegar or suck on a lemon some more if it persists.

4. Rectal Massage Trick

Even though this may seem outright impractical and bizarre, a rectal massage, using just one finger has been found to get rid of intractable hiccups. Now, you may ask why go to such a length for hiccups?

Well, intractable hiccups usually last for more than a month and are tightly linked to underlying medical conditions.

They disrupt eating, sleeping, socializing and can even ruin a patient’s social life. It may interest you to know that approximately 4,000 people in the USA get admitted to hospitals in relation to hiccups.

With over 99% of individuals who are battling with intractable hiccups being men.

In another study carried out, 7/7 patients were seen to be cured of hiccups by stimulation of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves.

In one of the case studies a 60-year-old patient suffering from acute pancreatitis underwent a digital rectal massage, and after these hiccups left but returned back some hours later, he was able to easily terminate it immediately by undergoing another rectal massage.

The research suggested that this technique should be considered in relation to intractable hiccups before you proceed to pharmacological agents.

5. Drink Water from a Glass while Upside Down

Another interesting remedy to get rid of hiccups is to drink water upside down from a glass. In order to be able to this accurately, below are some steps to follow.

First, place the far edge of the glass with water inside at the bottom of your upper lip. Secondly, bend forward and ensure that your upper lip is touching the outer tip of the glass of water.

Thirdly, remain in the position (bent forward) and slowly pour the water from the glass into your mouth. As you do this the water will run over the upper palate of your mouth.

Finally, swallow the water until you exhaust the water in the glass.

After this is done wait for a few minutes to see if the hiccups have stopped if it doesn’t stop you can repeat the process after a few more minutes.

Although this is not a permanent solution for hiccups, it is a proven and tested temporary way of relieving yourself from the discomfort associated with hiccups.

6. Swallow a Big Spoonful of Sugar

You can get rid of hiccups by swallowing a spoonful of sugar. This is one of the most commonly prescribed and trusted home remedy for hiccups.

A study carried out in the 1970s by scientists showed that 19 out of 20 patients with hiccups got rid of their hiccups by taking a spoonful of granulated sugar.

Although there is no known definite reason why sugar stops hiccups, it is suggested that when the sugar is taken, the vagus nerve is stimulated, this vagus nerve connects the brain to the stomach and once it is stimulated by the sugar, it distracts the body.

This makes the body forget about the hiccups and focuses on the sugar and when this is done the diaphragm spamming which manifests as hiccups are stopped.

This is like distracting the body and giving it something order than the hiccup to focus on.

Just like when your baby is crying and you give her a lollypop or her favorite toy or breast milk and the baby stops crying.

The same is applicable to the brain when the body is having hiccups, once you take sugar; you create a distraction and a diversion from the hiccups to the sugar.

Your brain then sends a signal to the rest of the body for the processing of the sugar and the diaphragm spamming is suspended for more important duties.

Additionally, there is another school of thought that believes that the reason sugar stops hiccups is that sugar is a bit coarse and when it is being swallowed, the coarseness runs on the esophagus thereby irritating it and making the phrenic nerves to adjust themselves.

Although this also Is not a proven fact, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that sugar helps in stopping hiccups.

7. Drinking Water

As discomforting as hiccups can be, this home remedy isn’t complex at all. You can get rid of hiccups by simply drinking some water especially if it is not a severe hiccup case.

Cold water is especially good for getting rid of hiccups when you take cold water; it helps to get rid of the irritation in the diaphragm which could be caused by various factors responsible for causing the hiccups.

Once the irritation to the diaphragm is eliminated, the movement of the diaphragm will be restored back to the regular pattern.

You can take about nine to ten quick sips of water from a glass in rapid succession.

As you quickly gulp the water, the momentum which is caused by the contractions in the diaphragm is relaxed.

The rhythmic contractions of the esophagus when drinking the water overrides the spasms of the diaphragm and this will cause the hiccups to subside and gradually stop.

If the hiccups don’t stop after the first round of gulps, you can repeat the process again after a few minutes, you will definitely get relieved after a short while.

8. Stick out your Tongue

This may be a bit gross so it is advisable not to do it in public so that you don’t get people around you disgusted. You can get rid of hiccups by sticking out your tongue.

Sticking out your tongue can stimulate the opening between the vocal cords and it is usually done by actors and singers but you too can do it.

When you stick out your tongue the opening between the glottis is stimulated and you will breathe more smoothly this will eliminate the spasms that cause hiccups.

When you stick out your tongue, the vagus nerve will be stimulated and the diaphragm spasms will be eased, this will prevent the gag reflexes that cause hiccups.

Alternatively, you can ease hiccups by pulling your tongue with your fingers. Just hold the end of your tongue and then tug. When you do this the vagus nerve will be stimulated and the diaphragm spasms will gradually subside thereby leading to the seizure of the hiccups.

Ensure that your hands are clean before doing this. Don’t put dirty hands into your mouth or on your tongue to avoid introducing harmful bacteria into your body which will cause illnesses that are more harmful than hiccups.

9. Have a Spoonful of Peanut Butter

Everyone loves a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and most people know how to whip one up but what you may not be aware of is the power of one of the sandwiches ingredients to get rid of hiccups.

A large spoonful of peanut butter is a great way to eliminate those annoying hiccups. This happens due to the process of chewing and removing it off your teeth and tongue.

During the whole process, your breathing and swallowing patterns are interrupted which causes the hiccups to cease, as breathing and swallowing patterns are responsible for the hiccups in the first place.

CONCLUSION

Hiccups can be very annoying and at times signs of even greater health challenges, hence, they are certainly not something you can ignore especially if they do not disappear as magically as they came.

They can impair the quality of your life in terms of eating, socialization, or even your work life. Imagine trying to carry out important assignments in your workplace while having hiccups, it’s a nightmare.

This is why you need to stop it right into it’s a track as soon as it shows up.

Also keep in mind that if your hiccups last for over 48 hours, you need to see a medical practitioner to ensure that it isn’t as a result of a terminal disease and negligence could be extremely costly.

Even though there are numerous cases of prolonged hiccups which are connected to deadly diseases, do not get pensive when you get hiccups.

Most times, it’s a simple hiccup that can be eliminated using very basic tricks.

Regardless of how often you’ve tried all those funny and weird tricks online to get rid of hiccups, following the methods above which have been proven and tested you can rest assured of eliminating those “hics” once and for all.

9 Easy Tricks to Get Rid of Hiccups FAST

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