One of life’s most annoying small scale problems is the hiccup. Uncomfortable and sometimes even a tad painful, this physical abnormality is something that none of us enjoy having to deal with. If you’re suffering from hiccups and just can’t stand them anymore, try some of these simple remedies to get rid of them.
Hiccups are generally caused by diaphragm spasms. As such, the ways in which to stop them generally involve stimulating the vagus muscles or constricting your diaphragm muscles. Here are some of the best ways to do that:
1. Stick out your tongue
This is maybe the only time it won’t be considered rude.
2. Massage the roof of your mouth
This should be done very carefully with a cotton swab. If you have a steady hand and a decent gag reflex you can also try massaging the back of your throat and stimulating your uvula (the cone shaped tissue that hangs there).
3. Eat a spoon of peanut butter
Any excuse for a delicious snack, right? Sticky foods are perfect for stimulating the vagus muscle.
4. Eat A spoonful of sugar
Sugar helps the medicine go down as well as make those pesky hiccups disappear. I swear it’s not just an excuse for me to mainline sweets
5. Hear no evil
Surprisingly, branches of the vagus muscle reach all the way into your auditory system. As such, it can be stimulated by sticking your fingers into your ears. Just be careful not to push too far or hard.
6. Drink or gargle some water
Having a big old glass of water can interrupt the nerves and thus end your hiccuping.
7. Hold your breath
Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as possible. Don’t forget to hold your nose!
8. Scare yourself
It may sound like a myth, but being frightened can actually overwhelm the nerve and cure your hiccups. Just don’t go walking down any dark alleys or into abandoned buildings.
9. Breathe into a paper bag
Yep, just like on an plane. The theory behind this is that the increase of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream distracts your body from the hiccups because it will be too focused on getting rid of it.
10. Use an antacid
Antacids, particularly ones that are high in magnesium, help to contain hiccups because they calm the nerves and decrease irritation.
11. Cough, burp and sneeze
If you can manage to do any of these things, they can help alleviate your hiccups. The belief is that these actions cause your diaphragm to constrict and thus stop them in their tracks.
There are also some preventative measures that you can take to avoid.
12. Don’t stuff yourself full
I’m sorry to say it, but pigging out has been known to cause hiccups. One theory is that it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down so your digestive system has a chance to play catch up.
13. Slow down
Similar to the above, eating too fast can also cause those pesky hiccups. This is because air can get trapped between pieces of food and thus irritate your vagus nerve. Chew deliberately and slowly, people.
14. Don’t Eat spicy food
I know, this one upsets me too. Even worse, there are two reasons why it can cause hiccups. Firstly, because some types of spices can irritate your oesophagus and stomach lining. Secondly, spicy food can cause extra stomach acid which can then leak into the oesophagus. Personally, I’ll take my chances.
15. Don’t Drink alcohol
I swear, I’m not trying to ruin all of your fun. Unfortunately, excessive drinking can cause hiccups for the same reasons as above. Furthermore, drinking to excess over a long period of time can permanently damage your food pipe lining.
Featured photo credit: Tim Pierce via flickr.com