Hiccups are definitely annoying and we’ve all experienced that at least at one point in our life. But what are they? Well, technically speaking hiccups are the result of involuntary spasm in your diaphragm. It’s hard to tell what causes them since there’s a myriad of reasons that vary from person to person. For some people, hiccups might be caused by spicy food, eating too much too quickly, drinking a fizzy drink or alcohol, for others hiccups are caused by anxiety, stress, excitement or sudden change in temperature. Usually, hiccups are harmless and stop on their own within a couple of minutes. But if you want to try and stop them sooner here are a couple of things you can try.
1. One of the tried and true tricks is to hold your breath and swallow three times.
2. Try to take slow and measured breaths. Deliberately control your breathing for a minute.
3. Alternatively, you could try holding your breath for 20 seconds at a time.
4. Breathing into a paper bag helps some people too.
5. Attempt to exhale while keeping your mouth closed and your nose pinched.
6. Sit down and hug your knees for 2 minutes. It’ll physically put pressure on your diaphragm which might stop the hiccups.
7. Another physical method of compressing your diaphragm is to lean on something or just bending down to hug your legs.
8. Slowly sip on ice-cold water. Doing this can stimulate the vagus nerve in your neck and stop the hiccups.
9. Quickly drink a glass of water.
10. Drink a glass of water without stopping to breathe.
11. Suck on an ice-cube. The combination of the sucking motion and cold water could help.
12. Gargle ice water. This is meant to work the same way as slowly drinking cold water.
13. Eating a spoonful of sugar is an old trick but it works for some.
14. Similarly, eating a spoonful of peanut butter is meant to work too.
15. Suck on a wedge of lemon. Something about the sour taste helps to stop hiccups.
16. Put a drop of vinegar on your tongue – the bitterness of the taste will stimulate the muscles in your tongue and throat and the hiccups might stop.
17. Rub the back of your neck, it might stimulate the nerves and the hiccups should stop.
18. Pull your tongue forwards with your fingers or just try to stick it out as far as you can. This will stimulate the muscles in your throat and might help to stop the hiccups.
If your hiccups persist for more than a day you should probably go see a doctor. It could be nothing or it could be a symptom of something more serious. If your hiccups are accompanied by pain, you should seek medical help immediately.