The hiccups are hard to deal with because they always seem to come at the most inconvenient time, which is any. The hiccups can quickly go from annoying to tiring. The problem with them is that the old ways that we have been told to cure them sometimes work and sometimes don’t. It doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason for why we get them, or why sometimes we are able to rid them and others we aren’t. There is one thing that is for sure, when you have them you will do just about anything, no matter how ridiculous, to get them to go away.
What causes the hiccups?
Unfortunately, there is no real consensus about what causes the hiccups. There have been theories that range from physical to psychological, but nobody has been able to isolate what causes them. Technically they are medically known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutters which are simply contraction that occur in the larynx at the same time that the glottis closes. That causes the complete blocking of air.
How can you rid yourself of the hiccups?
Since the hiccups comedown to a disruption in your breathing pattern, you have to find a way to distract yourself and force your diaphragm to relax and to stop contracting. These are some ways to try. The thing to remember is that not every one of them is going to work for you, and even more frustrating, if they work one time they may not the next.
1. Plugging your ears
Stand with your eyes and mouth closed. Use your fingers to press on your ears, directly into the opening, for about twenty to thirty-seconds. When you press on the earlobe, it signals the diaphragm to relax, stopping the diaphragm from contracting.
2. Use liquids
Grab a glass of water and take nine to ten quick sips without breathing in between. That will cause rhythmic contractions of the esophagus. Since both the diaphragm and the esophagus cannot contract together, the esophagus will win out causing the contractions of the diaphragm to stop thus stopping the hiccups.
If that doesn’t work, try taking a sip of a glass of water from the outside of the cup. Fill a cup with water and gently lean forward over the glass taking a sip from the opposite side that you normally would. That forces the diaphragm to stop contracting. Not only are you stimulating the esophagus, but you are applying pressure to the diaphragm while bending forward.
3. A combination
Have someone feed you a glass of water while you plug your ears taking in nine or ten quick sips. The duality is almost always a sure stopper for the hiccups.
The use of carbon dioxide
When you breathe in you take in oxygen, when you breathe out, you release carbon dioxide. By breathing in carbon dioxide you cause the body to fight to exhale. That is a great way to stop the hiccup reaction. Try cupping your hands over your mouth and breathing in and out several times. Each time inhale and exhale slowly.
If you have a bag handy, press the bag over your mouth. Make sure that it is airtight. Breathe repeatedly into the bag nine to ten times, or as many times as you are able.
The stimulation of ice is sometimes enough to jar the body to resume regularly breathing and to force the diaphragm to cease contraction. Take a cup of ice water and gargle it for 30 seconds. If it doesn’t work immediately, repeat.
5. Hold your breath
Take a deep breath in and hold it for as long as you can. Once you exhale, quickly take another and hold it again. The longer you can hold your breath the better.
6. Hold your nose
While you are drinking water try holding your nose so that you cannot breathe through it. Drink for as long as you can hold your breath.
7. Try different sensations
You can try putting vinegar, lemon or sugar on your tongue and swallowing it down.
If you have a sugar cube, place it on your tongue and allow it to melt while not breathing. Once it completely dissolves, swallow it slowly.
Place just a drop or two of vinegar on your tongue and then without taking a breath, swallow it.
Take a wedge of lemon and place it in your mouth with the peel facing out. Continue to suck from it and swallow it while holding your breath for as long as you can.
Sodas and fizzy drinks have been known to help with the hiccups. Open a drink of club soda or any carbonated beverage. Don’t put ice in it, rather drink it straight from the source. The fizz should help to calm your diagram and stop the contractions.
9. Jumping up and down while holding your breathe
Sometimes the stimulation of holding your breath while jumping up and down works to distract you and to make the hiccups cease.
10. Pressing on your diaphragm
The key to getting your diaphragm to stop contracting is to signal it to relax and stop. Try leaning over the counter and putting pressure on the upper part of your stomach. Sometimes manually holding the stomach where the diaphragm meets the stomach can work just as well. The key is to apply pressure in the most effective way possible.
There are times when you just can’t seem to get rid of the hiccups. For those who have had the hiccups for more than 48 hours, there may be an underlining condition that is causing them. Also, if you have any medical conditions related to your cardiovascular system or heart, it is always best to consult your physician. There are medications that can help to rid yourself of them.
In 99% of the cases, if you just wait it out, they will eventually disappear. The more you focus on them, the more irritating they will become. Trying to distract yourself and to relax will help them disappear quicker, which is usually easier said than done.