Hiccups are caused by an involuntary movement of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. The medical term for hiccups is Singultus which is derived from Latin singult meaning “catching one’s breath while sobbing’. Persistent hiccupping can be very irritating and could often be a precursor to some serious underlying health issue. There is a real life case of a man known as Charlie Osborne who started hiccupping when a large piece of hog fell on him when he was at a slaughterhouse. His hiccups stopped only after 68 years at the age of 96! It is estimated that he hiccupped for nearly 430 million times during this period. In this guide, we will discuss some proven home remedies to stop hiccups naturally.
1. Drink water
This is one of the easiest and most popular home remedies to stop hiccups. It works in most cases as it helps settle the gastric disturbances that may have brought the hiccupping on in the first place.
2. Frighten the hiccups away
This is a grandma’s remedy for persistent hiccupping but it works in most cases. Frightening the person having persistent hiccups can send him/her into hyperventilation mode to change the nerve impulses and stop hiccupping.
3. Swallow crushed ice
Just like water, crushed ice or ice cold water can push the diaphragm down to settle the gastric disturbances. This in turn helps reduce hiccupping.
4. Breathe into a paper bag
Breathing into a paper bag can reduce hyperventilation if that is the cause of hiccups. Deep breathing in this manner can send more oxygen into the lungs and the same can be achieved by breathing deeply and holding the breath to increase levels of Carbon dioxide to prevent hiccups.
5. Eat a spoonful of peanut butter
Peanut butter is one of the proven hiccups cure home remedies. The creamy and chunky texture of peanut butter helps reduce acid reflux and gastric disturbances causing the hiccups.
6. Inhale inhale and inhale again
Inhaling fast and continuously helps in diaphragm relaxation and also increases the carbon dioxide levels in the body to stop hiccups immediately.
7. Why don’t you use a brown paper bag behind your ear to stop hiccups?
This is a little known hiccups treatment that is based on the theory of mental distraction just like frighten-hiccups-away-remedy. By tearing off a piece of paper and placing it behind your ear, you set your brain into thinking “Huh! Will this remedy really work?” Just asking the hiccupping person this question: “Why don’t you use a brown paper bag behind your ear to stop hiccups?” has been known to actually stop hiccups in many people! Try it; it just might work for you!
8. Bend forward and drink water upside down
This at home hiccup treatment works wonders and no one knows why! It may be due to the fact that you drink water to settle the acid reflux or may be due to mental distraction of trying the complex method of drinking upside down.
9. Swallow some sugar
If you are looking for ways to stop hiccups without drinking water, then sugar may be the solution. Many emergency room patients have had their persistent hiccupping stopped by swallowing a teaspoonful of sugar. The sugar works in the mouth to modify nerve impulses that may otherwise be telling the diaphragm to move spasmodically. Try this remedy to stop hiccupping within minutes.
10. Do some mental math
Try some mental math like adding or subtracting complex numbers. This is a distraction technique that keeps your brain busy to divert nerve impulses and stop hiccups naturally.
11. Pull out your tongue and hold it
One of the strangest hiccup cures that work is the pulling out your tongue method. Simply pull out the tongue and hold it for a few seconds. This hiccups cure might work due to same reason as those of other distraction techniques described above.
12. Swallow sulfur
A small lump of sulfur is another of the proven hiccup cures that work.
13. Tickle the soft palate
Tickling the soft palate or the roof of the mouth is one of the proven ways of stopping hiccups. You can use your fingers or a sterilized swab or Q tip for this purpose. This is also a proven hiccups cure for babies.
14. Sip some vinegar
Sometimes only bitter medicine to stop hiccups can help and vinegar is one of them. You can drink some Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to do the trick.
15. Bite on a lemon wedge
Biting on a sliced of lemon can stop hiccups immediately. If the lemon is too sour and bitter, try and sprinkle generous helping of sugar on it.
16. Overload your nerve endings with honey
Honey is another proven home remedy that works like sugar to overload nerve endings and stop hiccups in their track.
17. Sip water with a straw while closing ears and nostrils
You will definitely look funny when trying out this hiccups treatment, but it works. Sip some water using a straw; close your ears with ear plugs and your nostrils with your fingers. The trapped air will relax the diaphragms spasmodic movement to stop hiccups.
18. Inflict pain
Another distraction remedy that diverts the nerve impulses to stop hiccups is pain. Use some pinching or pricking (make sure it is sharp and really painful). It works!
19. How to stop hiccups in baby
Babies tend to get hiccupping when they swallow too much air while feeding through a bottle. So try and burp the baby gently. Check the flow of the liquid from the bottle’s nipple to ensure it is steady and not too slow or fast. This is a proven remedy to stop hiccups in baby.
20. Treat underlying cause
Persistent hiccupping can also occur due to GERD or reflux disease. In such cases, prokinetic medicines like domperidone or metoclopramide 10-20mg every 6 hours may help. These must be taken under a doctor’s supervision. Stop all medications having anticholinergic effects (anticholinergic agents inhibit nerve impulses which could trigger hiccups). Other medication to stop persistent hiccups include: baclofen oral 2.5 to 20mg, every 8 hours, Dexamethasone oral 4 to 8mg in the morning for a week or Gabapentin 300 mg three times daily.
Hiccups are usually benign but in rare cases may have some serious underlying cause such as a brain tumor or even injury to the nerves. Persistent hiccupping for more than a month can lead to depression, anxiety and even death. We hope these 20 ways to stop hiccups help you get much needed relief.