Effective Home Remedies To Stop Hiccups

When it comes to hiccup treatments, there is no known cure widely accepted by experts. The lack of clear scientific evidence and medical literature has made it difficult to separate possibly effective techniques from old wives' tales. But here are a few home remedies that are worth trying as they are based on a reasonable level of scientific concepts.

1. Breathing techniques

Building up carbon dioxide by holding your breath or breathing into a paper bag might help in relaxing the diaphragm which can bring in more oxygen. Dr. Duane Hurst, a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, was able to help a patient suffering from chronic hiccups with a breathing-based technique. He used an electrocardiogram to find a respiration rate that helped ease her nervous system. 

"Not many people are aware that they can use their breathing in a systematic way," he said. "Each one of us individuals has a breathing sweet spot."

2. Drinking water

Many unusual ways of drinking water have been recommended to disrupt the spasms of the diaphragm. Drinking from the opposite side of the glass, drinking while plugging your ears, and drinking through a paper towel are a few examples. However, some experts state that swallowing water is what does the trick since it causes a change in breathing pattern.

"It doesn't matter if you drink upside down or sideways or from a spoon," said Dr. Brian Udermann, an exercise and sports science professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. "It's that act that could be disruptive."

3. A spoonful of a common ingredient

Swallowing a spoon of easy-to-find ingredients such as sugar, vinegar, honey, or peanut butter is said to help some people get rid of their hiccups. While the most commonly suggested one appears to be a spoonful of sugar, there has been no consensus on whether it should be swallowed dry or washed down with a glass of water.

4. Have an orgasm

The late American physician and Ig Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Francis Fesmire studied a variety of ways to block impulses sent to the vagus nerve. This nerve plays a key role during hiccups as it coordinates swallowing, breathing, as well as the vocal cords.

"An orgasm results in incredible stimulation of the vagus nerve," he said in 2006. "From now on, I will be recommending sex — culminating with orgasm — as the cure-all for intractable hiccups."

5. Get frightened

This method, commonly used for children, has been considered by some to have no real effect. But Live Science notes it might actually work in a dual manner by "jump-starting the breath pattern while also giving an overriding stimulus to the sympathetic nervous system."

This is said to activate the body's fight-or-flight stress response. However, you should not take this remedy to the extreme as vulnerable people can suffer adverse health effects (such as a heart attack) or even death after exposure to a severe fright.

6. Squeeze your palm

Another stimulation technique involves pressing your palm with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand. "The harder, the better," states Reader's Digest Canada. It has been suggested this discomfort can distract the nervous system, and get rid of hiccups as a result.