In a social gathering, almost everyone has experienced a sudden, constant “ hic” sound coming from our throat. This “hic” sound is what we call hiccups and it can be embarrassing for many. Hiccups are simply involuntary contractions of diaphragm. These involuntary spasms of diaphragm cause it to contract suddenly leading to the formation of hiccups.
To get rid of hiccups, one should have knowledge of diaphragm. Diaphragm is a sheet of muscle under your lungs and this is one of the most important muscles in your body. It helps you in breathing properly by its contracting and flattening motion.
Hiccups impact women and men equally, however persistent hiccups are more common in men than in women. In most cases the spasms end quickly as they start but in certain cases they may become persistent and can interfere with eating, talking and other kinds of activities.
What causes hiccups?
When you take a gulp of air really quickly until the vocal folds, the membranes at the top of your throat, clamp down, this leads to hiccups and the clamping down of vocal folds is what causes the “hic” sound. There can be various reasons for the occurrence of hiccups, one of which is sudden excitement.
Two types of hiccups-
- Short hiccups– These hiccups last less than 48 hours.
- Persistent hiccups- These hiccups last more than 48 hours. Persistent hiccups are usually linked to underlying illness and require consultation with the doctor.
8 remedies to stop hiccups-
To get rid of hiccups, the relaxation of diaphragm is necessary and for this, one needs to hit the part of the nervous system which is involved with diaphragm. This can be done through many remedies at home. The remedies to cure hiccups are not scientifically proven theories and the impact of these may vary from individual to individual.
- Stimulation of your vagus nerve- This nerve runs down through your neck from the base of the brain and regulates some important bodily functions including your heartbeat and breathing.
These activities stimulate your vagus nerve and put it in a state where your body forgets about hiccups. Try them to stop hiccups-
- Swallow a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
- Sip a glass of ice water.
- Bite down on lemon.
- Put a few drops of vinegar on the tongue and taste it.
- Slowly drink a glass of warm water without stopping to breathe.
- Drink water through a cloth or paper towel. Cover a glass of cold water with a cloth or paper towel and sip through it.
- Suck on an ice cube for a few minutes and then swallow it once it shrinks to a reasonable size.
- Gargle ice water for 30 seconds. Repeat if necessary.
- Eat a spoonful of honey or peanut butter. Before swallowing, allow them to dissolve in your mouth a little bit.
- Tongue pulling– This remedy to get rid of hiccups involves pulling off your tongue. The pulling of the tongue causes the stimulation of the nerves and muscles in your throat. Grab the tip of your tongue and gently pull it once or twice.
- Drink water while holding your breath– To deal with hiccups, hold your nose and gently press on it to hold your breath. In this state drink the water and swallow it. It will help you to get rid of hiccups within minutes.
- Ask someone to scare you- This may not make sense to you but the trick actually works in stopping the hiccups. In the state of fear, one forgets about hiccups and within seconds you no longer have them. This is yet another remedy where you put Vagus nerve in a position where it forgets about hiccups.
- Drinking water from the opposite side- Dr Eric Voigt suggests drinking water from the opposite side of your usual way. This method has shown positive results for many and the theory behind this is because of the way your abdomens contract, the hiccups will eventually stop.
- Cardamom as a cure for hiccups- Boil a few pods of cardamom in water for a few minutes and drink the concoction.
- Compress the diaphragm- This can be done by either pulling your knees towards your chest or leaning in the forward direction for two minutes. This puts pressure on your diaphragm.
- Increasing the level of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream- Another common way of approach to kick the hiccups is to increase the level of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Your natural breathing rhythms are regulated by carbon dioxide levels and if the level of carbon dioxide increases, the nervous system will signal your diaphragm and lungs to make sure they are doing their job well and this is where the six different breathing techniques come useful. These techniques slow down your intake of oxygen and gear up the levels of internal carbon dioxide which then send signals to diaphragm to fix things.
4 different breathing techniques to stop hiccups-
- Measured breathing- Disrupt your respiratory system with measured breathing. This involves breathing in for a count of 6 and breathing out for a count of 6 till you feel relieved of hiccups.
- Hold your breath– Inhale a large gulf of air and hold it for up to 20 seconds, followed up with a slow breathing out.
- Breathing into a paper bag- Simply breathe into a paper bag, inflating and deflating it as you do so. Never use a plastic bag.
- Deep breaths- Take a deep breath in and then try to push breath out whilst holding your throat and voice box close.
Pressure points to cure hiccups-
Pressure points are the areas on the body that are particularly sensitive to the applied pressure. Applying pressure on these points can help to relax your diaphragm or it may stimulate your vagus or phrenic nerves. This can be done in any of these ways-
- Squeeze your palm and use your thumb to apply pressure to the palm of your hand.
- Massage your carotid artery. This artery is present on both the sides of your neck. It is what you feel when checking your pulse by touching the neck. Lie down and turn your head to the left and massage the artery on the right side in a circular motion for almost 10 seconds.