How to Cure Hiccups

Or at least some ideas on how to cure hiccups…

I am someone who is frequently and unexpectedly plagued by noisy and violent hiccups. When I hiccup, it lifts my shoulders, shakes my body and makes a loud and noticeable “HICCUP” noise. It’s embarrassing, funny and usually results in friends asking if I’m drunk (in this case sometimes a good question). I’m fairly certain we have all been a victim of the hiccups at some point or another, so let’s talk hiccups! What are they? What are some common cures?

Here are two answers to the question: What ARE hiccups? (thanks Medical News Today!):

1) Hiccups are paroxysmal, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm that occur along with contractions of the larynx and closure of the glottis, arresting the inflow of air. Hiccups are commonly induced by minor stomach upsets. Occasionally, hiccups may be ascribed to psychogenic causes originating in the mind. Mild cases of hiccups usually disappear without treatment. {Microsoft Encarta}

2) Hiccups are the result of an action the body takes to protect itself. Hiccups can start because hot food has irritated the phrenic nerve near the esophagus, or when gas in the stomach presses upward against the diaphragm. The diaphragm separates the chest from the stomach. The diaphragm tightens and pulls air into the lungs.

But air can’t get through and we feel a “bump” at the moment the air is stopped. So hiccups are a reflex action of the body trying to get food or gas out of the stomach, thereby irritating the diaphragm. This in turn, affects the passage of air in and out of the lungs. We feel this as a “bump” and say we have the hiccups.

All that science (and I do usually love science) really just freaked me out.

So you’ve got hiccups!?!

Here are some common cures for hiccups:

1) Drink from the far side of a glass of water while bent over.

Not only does it work (sometimes) but it's fun to watch your friends try...

2) Have the hiccuper hold their breath for as long as possible.

Obama says so...

3) Try to take 10 sips of water in one breath.

This lady is well on her way to hiccup relief

4) A spoonfull of sugar seems to cure just about anything. Peanut butter is also a common remedy.

Just a spoon full of sugar

5)  Try a headstand. It may just distract you for long enough to “forget” your hiccups.

Headstands can be helpful and if nothing else- they're fun

Realistically, what I do is try breathing in my nose and out my mouth in a very focused manner until the hiccups pass. There is a plethora of hiccup solutions and lore around curing hiccups; my boyfriend told me to “chew on water” for example. Feel free to leave a comment about what you do to cure hiccups. With that, I leave you with The Onion’s tips for curing hiccups:

The Onion's top 7 hiccup tips.



11 thoughts on “How to Cure Hiccups”

  1. #1 always works for me.  Always.  But usually I would get my sister to hold the glass because it’s actually quite difficult to do by yourself.  of course, I always return the favor for her.  Now that we’re thousands of miles apart, hiccups are harder to cure.  But that’s the least sucky thing about being that far away.

  2. My dog gets hiccups fairly frequently, and I used to be able to help him by saying “boo” very firmly to startle him (not scare him, mind you). But now when he gets hiccups he runs over to me and stares intently, but because he’s anticipating it, it doesn’t work anymore. I find now if I say his name repeatedly to get him excited, it helps most of the time.

  3. I have cursed hiccups as in if I get them once during a day I know I will get them intermittently throughout the REST OF THE DAY. So far the only cure I’ve found is to hold my breath and swallow several times. It’s really tough and it focuses me away from the hiccups enough that usually I only have to do it once, rarely twice.

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