Hiccups– there’s nothing more irritating than having them at inconvenient times and places. People look at you as if you’ve committed some kind of sin. Imagine having it before giving your interview or presentation? Oh, no, no, we don’t mean to scare you. What we want to tell you is that you must be prepared to deal with the hiccups wherever you are. Below, we’ve gathered effective tips, tricks, and home remedies to get rid of hiccups fast.
What Are Hiccups Or Hiccoughs?
Medically known as singultus or synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, hiccups are contractions of the diaphragm that occurs during the contraction of the larynx contracts, thereby blocking the airflow. They occur in bouts or individually and are always rhythmic, which means the interval between the hiccups is constant. Getting bouts of hiccups now and then is quite common and not at all alarming. But prolonged hiccups can be a serious health condition. Doctors say that hiccup attack lasting for more than a month is called “intractable”.
Causes Of Hiccups:
There’s no specific reason for the occurrence of hiccups. But some say that asthma and stroke often cause a high incidence of hiccups. The other illnesses and conditions associated with hiccups include:
- Irritation of the phrenic nerve causes due to hot food
- Gastritis in the stomach
- Respiratory conditions like pneumonia, pleurisy or asthma
- Conditions affecting the nervous system like encephalitis or traumatic brain injury
- Goiter or meningitis
- Anxiety, shock or hysteria
- Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia
- Excess consumption of fizzy drink or alcohol
- Eating too fast
- Change in temperature
- Medications like benzodiazepines, opiates, barbiturates, and corticosteroids
Fact: As per Guinness World Records, the longest record for hiccups is held by Charles Osborne, who hiccupped continuously for 68 years. Phew!
Tips And Techniques To Get Rid Of Hiccups:
In most of the cases, the hiccups vanish on their own in some time. But when they persist, they can become a nuisance, affecting sleeping and eating. Here are some time-tested tips and techniques to help you get rid of hiccups fast. Some of these tips have been prescribed by the National Health Service as well.
- Breathe into a paper bag. But do not cover your head with the bag.
- Inhale, hold your breath for 10 seconds, and then exhale slowly. Do this three to four times. Repeat this method once again after 20 minutes.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your hands, but continue breathing normally. The extra carbon dioxide that you’d be getting with this method will relax your diaphragm, helping you get rid of hiccups.
Body Movement Techniques:
- Stick out your tongue to get rid of hiccups. It may sound a bit funny, but most of the singers and actors perform this exercise to stimulate the opening between the vocal cords. You need to continue breathing normally while performing this exercise.
- It may sound a bit eww, but sticking your fingers in the ears for 20 to 30 seconds can actually give you relief from hiccups. Alternatively, you can press soft areas behind the earlobes. It will send relaxation signal to the nervous system through the vagus nerve.
- Sit down for a short period with knees close to your chest
- Press the palm with the thumb of the other hand, slightly harder. Or squeeze the top of your left thumb between the forefinger and thumb of the right. The discomfort will signal to your nervous system, thereby putting an end to the hiccups (1).
- Give yourself a rectal massage. We know that sounds downright ridiculous, but a study conducted in the year 2006 found that rectal massage with fingertips terminates hiccups. But this should be done in case of intractable hiccups. And must definitely not be performed in public places.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Hiccups:
Drink Cold Water.
Take 9 to 10 sips of icy cold water. While gulping down the water, your esophagus’ rhythmic contractions will supersede the spasms of the diaphragm. Try blocking your ears while drinking water. It would be even better. Or you can even gargle with cold water.
Another water-related trick is placing a layer of paper towel on top of the glass and drinking the water through it. While drinking water from the paper towel, you’ll need to put effort on your diaphragm, which always works against hiccups. And gulping will counteract the spasmodic movement of the hiccups.
Eat Or Drink Something Sour:
Take a teaspoon of vinegar when hiccups occur. It sourness will give you relief from it. Lemon could also benefit you in this case. Bite a lemon or put a slice of this tangy fruit on your tongue. Suck it like you suck a candy.
Eat Some Sugar:
Put some sugar in your mouth and swallow when it melts. The graininess of the sugar irritates the esophagus, leading the phrenic nerves to rest themselves.
Chew Some Dill:
Another pleasant tasting trick. Chew a teaspoon of dill seeds slowly. Swallowing the seeds will stimulate the vagus nerve to stop the hiccups.
Eat Peanut Butter:
One of the classic cures for treating hiccups is eating a spoonful of peanut butter. Your breathing pattern is interrupted when you try to chew the peanut butter and try to get it off your teeth and tongue. And while swallowing, put gentle pressure on the nose.
Medical Treatment For Hiccups:
Hiccups do not usually require medical treatment, but if it lasts for more than 48 hours, then you should check with your physician. Your doctor will perform general and neurological examination to check your:
- Sense of touch
- Muscle tone
- Muscle strength
If your doctor detects an underlying medical condition, he may prescribe the following tests:
- Imaging tests, to rule out the possibilities of anatomical abnormalities that may affect the diaphragm or vagus nerves. This would include MRI scan, CT scan, and X-Ray.
- An endoscopic test
- Blood tests
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) to check for heart-related conditions.
How To Prevent Hiccups:
- Avoid consuming excess soda or alcohol. The low temperature of these beverages, combined with bubbles, creates irritations that set off the diaphragm.
- Do not rush while eating. Eating quickly leads you to swallow more air, causing hiccups and burping.
We’re cent percent sure, these ideas will help you get rid of the ‘hic’ sound in time. If you have any more tips and techniques, let us know in the comment section below!