Though hiccups are rarely a cause for concern they can be annoying, and in some cases painful. There are many home remedies for hiccups, but do any of them actually work? Can you scare hiccups away?
To figure out if you can scare hiccups away, take a closer look at this seemingly mysterious condition.
What Are Hiccups? Hiccups are caused by involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a large muscle below your lungs that helps you breathe. When the diaphragm spasms, it causes the lungs to pull in quick gulps of air. This causes the flap at the top of your airway passage, the epiglottis, to basically slam shut causing the “hic” sound.
Hiccups can last for minutes to days, and longer in rare cases. The good news is that left untreated, most cases will just pass and go away on their own if they are not caused by an underlying condition.
What Causes Hiccups? Though no one knows for sure, hiccups can be cause by things that cause bloating in the stomach, such as eating too much, eating too quickly causing an intake of air into the stomach, spicy foods, fizzy drinks and alcohol.
There are also certain nerves, the vagus and phrenic nerves, that can trigger spasms in the diaphragm, causing hiccups. Since these nerves go throughout the body, hiccups may be triggered from other areas, such as from inside the ear.
Sudden temperatures changes or extreme emotions can trigger hiccups. There are also certain diseases and conditions that can cause hiccups, so if you can’t get rid of them or get hiccups frequently, see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out any underlying medical condition.
Home Remedies for Hiccups. There are nearly as many different home remedies for hiccups as people who swear by them. Not all methods will work for everyone. At-home methods for curing hiccups involve increase carbon dioxide levels in the body, interrupting the hiccup pattern or stimulating one of the nerves that could be responsible for starting the hiccups in the first place.
THE AUTHOR DOES NOT ENDORSE ANY SPECIFIC HOME REMEDY FOR HICCUPS AND ENCOURAGES THE READER TO USE CAUTION AND COMMON SENSE WHEN EXPERIMENTING WITH HOME REMEDIES.
Drinking Liquids. Cold water, warm water, drinking water quickly or slowly and drinking water from the “wrong” side of the glass may cure the hiccups. Others prefer using acidic drinks, such as lemon juice, vinegar and even pickle juice. The acid or temperature of the liquid may stimulate certain nerves to stop hiccups. If you are to drink a lot of liquid at once, pausing breathing to drink may interrupt the hiccup cycle.
Food Methods. Some people think certain foods can stop hiccups. Peanut butter, marshmallows, lemon wedges, honey, sugar, corn syrup and ice cream are all believed by some to stop hiccups. Most of these choices could stimulate certain nerves to make hiccups go away. I think the marshmallow and peanut butter might work for some by interrupting the hiccup cycle, as you don’t want to choke by breathing while eating these.
Stimulation Methods. Certain pressure points may cure hiccups, but there are so many points different people use. Practically every point on the face and neck could be pressed or massaged for the stimulation method, such as earlobes, under the jawline, the cheeks, temple, nose, just inside the ear, the roof of the mouth, the lips and tongue.
Interruption/Carbon Dioxide Methods. Holding your breath and breathing into a paper bag are a couple of interruption methods that also increase carbon dioxide levels in the body. Scaring the hiccups away is another interruption method.
How Could You Scare Hiccups Away? Startling someone or giving them a scare may actually cure the hiccups. A sudden emotional response to surprising or drastic news has worked for some people. As extreme emotions can cause hiccups in the first place, it is believed the same tactic can be used to get rid of them.
A sudden fright could work by disrupting the hiccup cycle. If someone is surprised suddenly enough, they may gasp, taking in a large breath of air quickly enough to stop the hiccups.
Can You Scare Hiccups Away? As mentioned above, not all methods work for everyone. In fact, not one way gets rid of my hiccups every time, though holding my breath for long periods tends to work the best for me. If you find a way to get rid of hiccups that works for you, stick with it.
IMPORTANT NOTES: If you have hiccups that last longer than 48 hours and don’t respond to home remedies, or have recurrent hiccups, please see your doctor to check for underlying conditions that can be very dangerous. Do not try any home remedy that could be dangerous or that you seem unsure of – it is not worth it as hiccups usually go away on their own over time.
THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT REPLACE THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN.
Mayo Clinic; Hiccups