Hate Hiccups? These Methods Are Proven to Help

Hiccups can come in unexpected times, at unexpected places, and sometimes even for unexpected reasons. A woman in Pinehurst, Idaho had seven years of hiccups caused by an allergic reaction to animal feed. The hiccups started on August 28, 2000 and did not go away until June 2007.

This case is rare though. Most of us experience the normal hiccups that can be caused by eating too quickly, drinking alcohol, and more.

When you get hiccups, the muscle under your lungs called the diaphragm spasms, causing you to take a quick breath in. This intake of air, however, is interrupted by the closing of the epiglottis, a flap of tissue above the windpipe. The closing of the epiglottis causes the “hic” sound.

There’s nothing wrong with having the hiccups, and they usually go away on their own. But sometimes they can be annoying and embarrassing, and we wish there was a way to get rid of them faster.

Below we discuss “proven” ways to rid yourself of hiccups. We use “proven” here to mean those methods that have scientific backing of some sort.

The various hiccup remedies can be sorted into two categories.

1. Raise CO2 Levels in the Blood

The methods under this category basically interfere with breathing while raising carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Some researchers say doing the techniques below distract the body from the hiccups and instead focus its attention on the build up of CO2, and how to get rid of it. Others say hiccups are caused by low levels of CO2 so obviously an increase of its levels would inhibit the symptom.

There are several ways to do this, including:

2. Stimulate the Vagus Nerve

Alternatively, stimulating the vagus nerve has been found to be effective at stopping hiccups. The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve; it runs from the brain to the stomach and coordinates breathing and swallowing.

The methods below work by giving the vagus nerve another sensation to focus on. The new sensation overwhelms and distracts the vagus nerve so that it sends a signal to the brain to stop the hiccups and focus on the more important matter that has arisen.

The hiccup remedies under this category include:

  • Eating a lemon wedge soaked with bitters
  • Quickly downing a glass of cold water
  • Pulling the tip of your tongue or sticking out your tongue
  • Plugging your ears with your fingers
  • Gently pressing on your eyeballs
  • Giving yourself a fright or a surprise—this is probably one of the most ubiquitous and well-loved home hiccup remedies, for obvious reasons.
  • Plug your ears while drinking a glass of water. We’re guessing you’ll need to use earplugs, unless you have three hands.
  • A spoonful of sugar, Mary Poppins not included.
  • The Cotton Bud Technique: Rub the tip of a cotton swab to the area between the hard palate and the soft palate for about one minute—and try not to feel weird about it.
  • Try the hiccup-stopping lollipops, Hiccupops
  • Eating peppermint—we have to say we recommend this one over the lemon soaked in bitters.

A couple of other methods under this category may be best done inside closed doors:

  • Rectal massage—yes, really. And apparently it has the potential to be super effective.
  • Orgasm

Hiccups don’t have to embarrass or annoy you anymore. Try these proven ways to rid yourself of hiccups the next time you have ’em.

What other annoying things are you trying to get rid of asap? Tell us.




Juvy Garcia
Juvy Garcia
Juvy is a freelance proofreader, copy editor and writer. A nice little nook with a good book would be ideal. But concocting plans for her next drawing or DIY project will suffice while she's still busy babysitting two daughters. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Google+.