Home Remedies for Hiccups
Hiccups can lead to a sometimes embarrassing and inconvenient situation. However, they normally go away on their own and usually don’t last for very long. It’s only in rare circumstances that hiccups indicate a serious health issue. However, they can certainly be bothersome, but luckily, there are some simple home remedies for hiccups that can help.
What Are Hiccups?
Hiccups are defined as the involuntary and sudden contraction of the diaphragm. This muscle usually helps when it comes to breathing. Yet, during each contraction or hiccup, the vocal cords also suddenly close, causing the noise associated with a case of the hiccups.
In short, the hiccups are a muscular spasm. And there are various reasons why they happen.
What Causes Hiccups?
Hiccupping itself is a symptom. Occasionally, it may be combined with a tightening in your chest, throat or abdomen. If your hiccups last more than 48 hours or they disrupt your day-to-day life via difficulty eating, sleeping or breathing, it’s important that you seek out immediate medical attention.
Usually, a case of the hiccups lasts a couple of minutes and isn’t caused by anything too serious.
The most common causes of hiccups include:
- Eating or drinking too quickly
- Consuming too much alcohol
- Eating spicy foods
- Sudden changes in temperature
- Swallowing air when eating, chewing gum or through hyperventilation
Yet, if your hiccups last more than 48 hours, they may indicate a more serious health issue. It may mean nerve damage is present. Or it may indicate a central nervous system disorder, a metabolic disorder or some kind of reaction with certain drugs.
Surprisingly, men are more likely to experience long-term hiccups than women. Individuals may also be more likely to experience the hiccups post-surgery, such as a procedure involving the abdominal organs, or from anxiety, stress and excitement.
How to Stop the Hiccups
Got the hiccups? As long as they haven’t lasted more than 48 hours, try these remedies:
1. Perform Slow and Controlled Breathing
This can interrupt the reflux and respiratory system, setting things back to normal. As you take a deep breath in, count to five. As you breathe out, again, count to five. Do this for about five breaths.
2. Try Holding Your Breath for a Few Seconds
You’ve probably heard this one before! And yes, it works. Take a big inhale and hold your breath for 10 to 20 seconds. If it doesn’t work, try it again.
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3. Pull Your Knees Up to Your Chest
You may be looking sideways at this one. But don’t be a skeptic until you try it. Sit down, then pull your knees up to your chest. Hold this position for at least two minutes.
4. Drink a Glass of Water
Careful with this one! You don’t want to spit up your water through your next hiccup. Sometimes by drinking a quick glass of cold water, your throat and nose become stimulated, stopping hiccups in their tracks.
5. Find a Way to Compress Your Chest
This means leaning or bending forward so that your chest doesn’t have as much room to spasm. This also places pressure on your diaphragm, again, bringing your hiccups to a screeching halt.
6. Breath into a Paper Bag
Use a paper bag and hold it over your nose and mouth. Breathe in very slowly, deflating the bag. Then, breathe out into the bag, inflating it. Continue to do this for a few counts.
7. Try Squeezing Your Palm
Apply pressure to your palm with your opposite hand’s thumb.
8. Suck on an Ice Cube
Grab an ice cube from the fridge and suck on it until it dissolves
9. Eat a Bit of Sugar
Take a small amount of granulated sugar and place it on your tongue. Allow it to dissolve for at least five seconds. Are your hiccups gone yet?
10. Eat a Bit of Honey
This goes the same as the sugar bit above. Take a small amount of honey and let it dissolve on your tongue for at least five seconds.
11. Distract Yourself
Sometimes, focusing on it is half the problem. Instead, try to talk or think about something else. Engage in an activity that takes your full focus.
Some individuals have also claimed that acupuncture and hypnosis have helped cure their hiccups.
What You Shouldn’t Do
But wait — is there anything you should avoid if you’re trying to get rid of the hiccups?
Experts recommend not chewing gum, avoiding alcohol and carbonated drinks, and avoiding spicy food.
Most times, however, you won’t need to do anything at all. Hiccups can disappear as quickly as they first appear. But if you’re determined to get rid of them faster, try out the home remedies for hiccups above. Which one worked for you?