Holding your breath, drinking water, plugging your ears, breathing into a paper bag, eating a spoonful of sugar – people will try just about anything to get rid of the hiccups.

My husband once even tried drinking a glass of water while holding his head upside down and holding his breath. It didn’t work, but it sure was fun to watch.

Hiccups are when your diaphragm spasms, you suck in air, your vocal cords snap shut and it makes a hiccup. It sounds cute, but all that diaphragm spasming can get annoying.

Hiccups can be caused by drinking carbonated beverages, eating or drinking too much or too fast, eating spicy foods, being excited, drinking alcohol, a quick change in temperature, abdominal surgery, certain medicines, breathing noxious fumes, strokes, or tumors.

Most of the time hiccups are not a big deal and go away by themselves within a few minutes, but sometimes they drag on and on and on. One guy made the Guinness Book of World Records after having the hiccups from 1922-1990!

Chronic hiccups – lasting more than 48 hours – require a talk with your physician. You’ll also want to consult a doctor if the hiccups are so severe they interfere with your sleeping, eating, or breathing, or if you have stomach or chest pains, shortness of breath, fever, vomiting, or if you cough blood.

Home Remedies

  • Breathe into a paper bag – not plastic!
  • Hold your breath for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat.
  • Hold your breath and swallow three times.
  • Breathe in and out slowly, in for five seconds, out for five seconds.
  • Sit down and hug your knees to your chest for two minutes.
  • Bend over at the waist (compresses the diaphragm).
  • Press on your diaphragm (just under your sternum).
  • Pinch your nose and try to exhale with your mouth shut.
  • Pull-on your tongue – gently – once or twice.
  • Pinch your nose closed and drink water.
  • Drink a glass of warm water without stopping.
  • Drink ice water slowly.
  • Gargle ice water.
  • Drink from the opposite side of the glass.
  • Suck on an ice cube.
  • Massage the sides of your neck while lying down.
  • Massage the back of your neck.
  • Put your thumb in the palm of the opposite hand and squeeze the palm.
  • Eat a spoonful of peanut butter, honey, or sugar. Let it dissolve in your mouth.
  • Suck on a lemon.
  • Put a drop of vinegar on your tongue.
  • Burp.
  • Press gently on the sides of your nose while swallowing.
  • Breath in smelling salts.
  • Distract yourself with something else.

By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers

Photo by Healthline

Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas

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