5 Of The Most Effective Ways To Get Rid Of Hiccups
From eating and drinking too fast to forgetting to take measured, deep breaths, we all fall victim to hiccups every once in a while. And man, are they annoying. They leave your throat sore, they make you look like you’ve had one too many cocktails in the middle of a workday and they never seem to go away as quickly as they arrive. But if you’re someone who struggles with hiccups on the regular, we know of a handful of easy ways to make ‘em stop.
Before we tell you how to eliminate hiccups, we think it’s important to understand what they are in the first place. Basically, hiccups occur when your diaphragm, the large muscle that helps you inhale and exhale, spasms involuntarily. The spasm causes your vocal cords to snap shut, which explains the hiccup’s unique sound. Sometimes your actions can inspire a bout of the hiccups, while other times they are truly a random occurrence.
Now, on to what to do about them…
1. Breathe into a paper bag.
This method is more commonly known for hyperventilation, but it’s an effective hiccup cure as well. When you breathe slowly and deeply into a small paper bag, you increase the amount of carbon dioxide present in your blood because you’re limiting the amount of oxygen you’re taking in from that confined space. This imbalance causes your diaphragm to contract more deeply in an attempt to secure more oxygen for your body, and when it changes its contraction strength and rhythm, hiccups cease.
2. Eat a big spoonful of peanut butter.
This classic home remedy is actually one of the best ways to rid your body of hiccups. You have to swallow a lot more frequently to get peanut butter off your tongue and teeth, which interrupts your typical breathing patterns. Since those patterns are already out of whack due to your hiccups, this additional shift can absolve your diaphragm spasms entirely… and fast.
3. Use the Valsalva maneuver.
This breathing technique is one of our tried-and-true ways of kicking hiccups to the curb. Simply inhale, close your mouth, hold your nose and try to exhale. That excess force as you bear down for 10 to 15 seconds can help reset your diaphragm from its unwanted spasms and cure you of your hiccups. (It’s also a great way to relieve pressure from your ears when traveling via airplane or changing altitude quickly.)
4. Drink a glass of water with a paper towel on top.
It sounds weird — and potentially messy — but hear us out. When you have to sip your water through the cloth-like structure, your diaphragm muscles have to pull harder to ingest that water. Using those muscles in a new way that varies from spasming hiccup mode can help them reset back to their normal function.
5. Hug your knees into your chest.
Basically, any physical maneuver that helps you safely compress your diaphragm can encourage the spasming muscle to calm down and resume its typical breathing pace. You can also simply bend over to bring your chest closer to the tops of your thighs. We suggest playing to your personal comfort and flexibility levels with this one. And it might take a little longer than some of the other remedies on this list (approximately two minutes), so be patient.
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