Everybody seems to have their own way to get rid of hiccups: holding your breath, rubbing the skin above your eyebrows, and pulling on your earlobes to name a few. But, do they actually work?
Here are five actual ways to get rid of the hiccups. But first … what causes hiccups in the first place?
What Causes Hiccups?
Hiccups are involuntary muscle spasms in your diaphragm, which helps you breathe in and out. This spasm causes you to abruptly inhale. When this happens, a flap snaps shut over your vocal cords to prevent food from entering your lungs. The result is the “hiccup” sound we are all familiar with.
There are a lot of things that can cause the diaphragm to spasm. Common causes are:
- Eating too much
- Eating too quickly
- Carbonated drinks
- Spicy foods
- Being stressed
- Being emotionally excited
- Abrupt changes in temperature
A bout of hiccups will usually only last an hour or two but sometimes they can go longer. For Charles Osborne, they lasted 68 years!
How To Get Rid Of Hiccups
Hiccups are an involuntary response but there are things you can try to relieve them.
1. Drink Water
Some believe that drinking cold water helps soothe irritated diaphragms. Some think that it interrupts breathing, which gives the diaphragm time to relax. Others believe that drinking water distracts the nerves that control your diaphragm.
And then there are people who think that drinking water simply distracts you from focusing on the hiccups until they stop naturally.
Whatever the reason, it seems to work for a lot of people.
There are a few different methods of drinking water you can try:
- Drinking a glass of water through a straw
- Drinking a bottle of water upside down
- Continuously drinking water so that you prevent air from moving in and out
- Drinking a cup of water without using your hands
2. Move Around
If you have a bout of hiccups, moving around or stretching can help ease them. This is especially true if you stretch and loosen your diaphragm muscle.
To stretch your diaphragm, take a deep breath and hold while you count to 10. Take another breath without letting the first one out. Hold for 10. Do this one more time and then slowly breathe out.
Moving around, after eating a big meal, may also help relieve pressure on the diaphragm. This may help avoid hiccups altogether or stop them once they start.
3. The Paper Towel Method
Fill a glass ¾ of the way with water. Put a paper towel over a glass of water, then drink through the towel.
The science behind it isn’t perfectly clear. But the general belief is that you have to “pull” harder to suck up the water. The resulting gulps counteract the hiccups.
4. A Spoonful of Peanut Butter
Like drinking water, eating peanut butter can interrupt your swallowing and breathing patterns. This can focus your muscles and nerves on different activities and help eliminate hiccups.
If you’re allergic to peanut butter, you can also try a spoonful of powdered chocolate drink mix or a spoonful of sugar.
5. Pull On Your Tongue
Sticking out your tongue helps stimulate nerves and ease diaphragm spasms. It also helps avoid gag reflexes. Pulling on your tongue with your fingers should have the same effect.
Bottom line is that you need to relax your diaphragm and the surrounding nerves to get rid of hiccups. And that can be easier said than done.
At the end of the day, the best remedy for hiccups is the one that works for you. If you haven’t found one yet, try out these five. Hopefully one of them will be your perfect fix.