how to get rid of hiccups

How to get rid of hiccups

Everyone knows what hiccups or hiccoughs are, but did you know that its medical term is singultus? Before finding out how to get rid of hiccups, it’s better to first understand what they are.

They are sudden and involuntary diaphragm muscle spasms which produce the hiccup sound when the vocal cords snap shut. They are rhythmic, harmless and usually temporary.

While both men and women can get hiccups, it’s more common for men to suffer from longer periods of hiccups. It’s interesting to know that even a fetus can get hiccups while in utero.


The common causes for hiccups are eating too quickly, eating or drinking too much, some medications, abdominal surgery, strokes, brain tumors and noxious fumes.

How to get rid of hiccups-home remedies

Most bouts of hiccups can be cured in a short time, and seldom grow into a medical emergency. The following home remedies are usually more than enough to get rid of hiccups.

Sometimes changes in your breathing and posture can help get rid of hiccups.

Examples are:

  • Try breathing slowly to disrupt your respiratory system. Count to five while breathing in, and count to another five while breathing out.
  • You can also try inhaling a large gulp of air, and then holding it for about 10-20 seconds. Then breathe out slowly, and repeat as necessary.
  • Another remedy to get rid of hiccups includes placing a paper lunch bag over your mouth and nose. Now slowly breathe in and out to deflate and inflate the bag.

It helps by increasing the blood’s carbon dioxide levels so that the diaphragm contracts more deeply to inhale more oxygen. However do not do this is you feel lightheaded while breathing into the bag. Do this only with a paper bag, and not a plastic one.

  • Try sitting somewhere comfortable and hugging your knees by bringing it to your chest, and holding there for two minutes.
  • Leaning or bending forward to compress your chest can help get rid of hiccups because you pressurize your diaphragm.
  • The Valsalva maneuver may also help, where you try exhaling while keeping your mouth closed and your nose pinched.

Pressure points

While checking out on how to get rid of hiccups, you’ll notice that there are some pressure points on your body that are sensitive to pressure. All it takes is some pressure on these points to relax the diaphragm, or stimulate your vagus or phrenic nerves.

Examples are:

  • Pulling on your tongue can help because the action stimulates your throat’s nerves and muscles. Of course, you don’t have to actually pull your tongue too much. Just grab its tip and gently pull forward a few times.
  • Try squeezing your nose closed as you swallow some water.
  • Another trick lies in using your thumb to apply some pressure, and squeeze your other hand palm.
  • The carotid artery that lies on both sides of your neck is what you feel while checking your pulse when you touch your neck. Massaging it can help get rid of hiccups. All you need to do is lie down, turn your head to the left and massage the right side artery in a circular motion for 5 to 10 seconds.

Eating some things or changing drinking style can help

Sometimes eating some things, or changing your drinking style can also help get rid of hiccups by stimulating the vagus or phrenic nerves.

Examples are:

  • Slowly sipping ice cold water helps because it stimulates the vagus nerve. Even gargling ice water for 30 seconds, and repeating if necessary can help.
  • Try slowly drinking a glass of warm water without stopping to take a breath.
  • You can also try sucking on an ice cube for a few minutes, and then swallowing it when it’s shrunk.
  • Swallowing something sweet like a spoon of sugar or something sour like a teaspoon of vinegar or sucking a lemon. The sugar’s graininess tends to irritate the esophagus to reset the phrenic nerves while the vinegar’s and lemon’s sour taste helps stop hiccups.
  • Having a huge spoon of peanut butter is another classic cure for hiccups because you tend to interrupt your swallowing and breathing patterns, and stop hiccups, while you focus on chewing and removing the peanut butter from your teeth and tongue.
  • Try sipping some hot sauce. It can help because its heat and burn shifts your body’s focus to it instead of the hiccups.
  • Honey helps. Just stir a teaspoon in warm water, place it on the back of your tongue and swallow. It can tickle the vagus nerve to stop the hiccups. Besides, honey also soothes your cough and fights any infection.
  • You can also try swallowing a spoonful of powered chocolate drink mix like cocoa. It can cure hiccups because swallowing the powder isn’t easy, and once again your focus shifts onto that task.
  • Try chewing a teaspoon of dil. it may help because swallowing the seeds helps stimulate the vagus nerve and stop hiccups.

There are also some other enduring remedies to help get rid of hiccups you can try out.

They are:

  • Tapping or rubbing the back of your neck because it may stimulate the phrenic nerve.
  • Try to gently poke or swab the back of your throat with a Q-tip till you gag or cough. The gagging and coughing reflex stimulates the vagal nerve.
  • Sometimes all you need to do is distract yourself by doing something that takes up all your concentration or focus like playing a video game, doing some calculations or filling a crossword puzzle or Sudoku game. This can help because hiccups tend to stop once you distract yourself, and stop focusing on them.

Remember, hiccups tend to go away within a few minutes or the most, a few hours. If you get regular hiccups, or if none of these remedies help and you end up with hiccups lasting more than two days, it’s better to consult your doctor.

It may be a sign of some other underlying condition like gastroesophagel reflux, multiple sclerosis or stroke that requires immediate medical attention. Besides, some rare stubborn cases of hiccups stop only after medication like baclofen, metoclopramide and chlorpromazine.

Mradula Shet

Mradula Shet

Mradula Shet is an avid and experienced freelance writer, and a housewife by profession. It's the combination of passion, life experiences and thirst for knowledge which brought out the writer in her.

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