I’m not completely sure that there’s anything more annoying than getting a batch of hiccups unless of course, you happen to get those hiccups on and off for an entire day or more – This recently happened to me: for almost a whole day I was getting the hiccups on and off (sometimes so bad that my chest would hurt).
I used a bunch of different methods to try and get rid of them every time they came back—some worked and some didn’t. I’ve compiled a handy list of the ones that did so that the next time you’re stuck with them, you can hopefully get rid of them quickly and go back about your day (because they really can interfere with your flow).
What Causes Hiccups?
I don’t know about you, but it’s very few and far between that I can feel my hiccups coming on – Most of the time they seem to come out of nowhere! But while it might seem like absolutely nothing sets them off, there are actually quite a few causes. Here are a few of them:
- Eating too fast (causing you to take air in with your food).
- Eating or drinking too much (most specifically spicy foods, carbonated beverages, and/or alcohol).
- Liver disease, pneumonia, and other diseases and disorders that irritates the nerves that control the diaphragm.
- Side effect of the medication you’re taking.
- Having an abdominal surgery that’s irritated the nerves that control the diaphragm.
But it doesn’t really matter where they came from, does it? You came here to learn how to get rid of them.
Stop the hiccups
Here are five handy tips that will surely help you out the next time you come down with a case of pesky hiccups – Some of them you’ve heard of, some of them you haven’t. At least one of them is sure to work.
Mary Poppins said that a spoonful of sugar helped the medicine go down; in this case, a spoonful of sugar could make your hiccups go away!
The most effective way to ingest the spoonful of sugar is to hold it at the back of your tongue for a minute if you can because that’s where sour is tasted therefore you’re most likely to overload your nerves (the idea is that overloading the nerve endings in the mouth will do the trick). I wouldn’t suggest doing this, though if your hiccups are coming on violent and/or fast as you may run the risk of choking.
Plugging Your Ears
This one sounds a little ridiculous, but I assure you that it actually works (at least it did for me)! This is believed to work because the branches of the vagus nerve (the one that causes hiccups) also reach into the auditory system.
Stimulating the nerve endings there puts the vagus nerve into action, stopping the hiccups in their tracks. Please make sure that if you choose to try this method you don’t jam your fingers (or a Q-tip, ever) too far into your ears because you could end up doing some serious damage.
You’ve probably heard before that having someone scare you is a surefire way to get rid of your hiccups. The idea is that the sudden onset of fear will overwhelm the vagus nerve and your hiccups will immediately diminish.
It worked for me, perhaps it will work for you too (if you happen to live with someone that’s capable of scaring you).
This one works for me just about every time – Get the biggest glass you have in your kitchen, fill it with water, and down it as fast as you possibly can to make your hiccups disappear instantaneously.
Apparently, gargling also works, but I’ve never personally tried it myself. Water has a laundry list of benefits anyway, so why shouldn’t it be able to add “hiccup killer” to the list?
This one’s a ton of fun for everyone involved, and it actually does work! If you’re by yourself, simply tickle the soft palate of your mouth with a cotton swab or Q-tip, or if you’re with somebody else (and you’ll be able to stand it), have them tickle you wherever you’re ticklish – The vagus nerve will be focused elsewhere. Your hiccups will be gone in no time.
There you have it! Now you’ll be completely prepared the next time you get a bout of annoying hiccups and (hopefully) won’t have to suffer for too long. Generally, hiccups will go away on their own, but you should give your doctor a call if you’ve been experiencing them for more than three hours, or if they’re disturbing your eating and/or sleeping habits.