After eating a whole plate of food, sweet desserts, and chugging our beverage of choice, we begin to feel an unusual sensation in our body as our diaphragm tightens and our vocal cords close suddenly. Every two seconds, we incessantly begin to make a “hic” sound. As we are bombarded with medical anecdotes from various onlookers, we realize these methods put no end to our hiccups. So before you take a spoonful of peanut butter to remedy your hiccups, try these four bizarre ways to stop them and help you breathe easier.
1. Drink Water Plugged Ears
Drink an entire glass of water with a straw and block both of your ears, or get a friend to do it while you drink. When we hiccup, the vagus nerves or phrenic nerves are either damaged or irritated, and therefore require stimulation to normally function again. Since the branches of the vagus nerve reach into the auditory system, putting your fingers in your ears can stimulate the nerve endings, and therefore get the vagus nerve started. In the Canadian Family Physician, emergency room doctor Ronald Goldstein suggests drinking a cold glass of water and simultaneously tightly pressing the tragi of the ears inward to seal the external acoustic meati.
2. Pull Your Tongue Out
Yes, this may be considered rude to do in public, but pulling out your tongue helps to stop those incessant hiccups. Sticking out your tongue helps to stimulate the vagus nerve and ease the diaphragm spasms, while helping to avoid gag reflexes. You can also do this by pulling your tongue with your fingers, according to Discovery.
3. Have an Orgasm
An orgasm during intercourse may be able to cure a bad case of the hiccups. In a 2000 study, a healthy 40-year-old man suffered from intractable hiccups until he reached the moment of ejaculation during sexual intercourse, and suddenly the hiccups disappeared and did not return for 12 months. The researchers, however, do not know if an orgasm in women may lead to a similar resolution, an issue that could be investigated further.
4. Get a Rectal Message
While this is downright bizarre and impractical, a rectal message, using a finger, is found to cure intractable hiccups. In a 2006 study, seven out of seven patients were cured of hiccups with the stimulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. The 60-year-old man with acute pancreatitits tried a digital rectal massage, and when his hiccups returned a few hours later, he was able to terminate them immediately with another rectal massage. The researchers suggest that this maneuver should be considered in cases of intractable hiccups before proceeding with pharmacological agents.