Hiccup is a condition caused by the unintentional spasm (movement) of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle at the base of the lungs. These quick spasms cause the vocal cords to close quickly. The act of the vocal cords closing results in the distinct hiccup sound.
Hiccups often occur individually or in bouts. However, they rarely ever last for hours. If your hiccup lasts for hours, then, you probably have a chronic hiccup. Chronic hiccup could last for days and tend to interfere with one’s eating, drinking, talking and sleeping.
Common causes of hiccups include; eating too quickly, eating too much, consuming spicy foods, certain medications, abdominal surgery, a bloated stomach, consumption of alcohol, anxiety, and metabolic disorders.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with hiccups;
- Breathing into a paper bag.
- Sipping a glass of cold water.
- Holding your breath.
- Gargling ice water.
- Eating a teaspoon of sugar.
- Do some minor activities such as laughing loudly or singing to distract you from the hiccup.
- You could consume a little carbonated drink to help induce burping. Burping helps to stop hiccups.
- Take time to chew your food properly. Avoid eating in a hurry.
- Avoid eating too much food.
- Curtail your consumption of spicy foods.
Below are natural treatments and home remedies for hiccup relief;
1. Drink Water Bending Down
The first thing that crosses your mind when you have hiccups is water. When you drink cold water bending down, you disturb your system which helps to stop the hiccups automatically. Simply take a glass of water, bend your head down to your waist and then drink the water in this position. Repeat the technique until you get some relief.
2. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is one of the oldest methods for soothing your respiratory system. It triggers belching by relaxing the esophageal sprinter. So, when you place a few drops into your mouth, you can stop the contractions that cause the hiccups. Before you ingest the oil, you should mix it with grapeseed or coconut oil.
3. Breathe Into A Paper Bag
It’s an old trick that works in seconds. Just grab a paper bag which is porous enough to avoid suffocation. Put your mouth over the opening and breathe heavily. This method will increase the sensitivity of the vagus nerve by constricting the flow of air into the brain. Avoid using plastic bags.
4. Peanut Butter
When you take sticky peanut butter, you interrupt the breathing and swallowing patterns. Make sure you hold it in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. This remedy is effective when you have continuous hiccups. You can also substitute peanut with almond butter.
Granulated sugar helps to stop hiccups, especially in children who cannot use the other remedies. Take one teaspoon of sugar and dissolve in your mouth without chewing. This remedy stimulates the vagus nerve. Avoid using sugar if you have diabetes.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
The sour taste of vinegar distracts you allowing the involuntary muscles to subside. To stop the embarrassing hiccups, take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and then drink a glass of water. Alternatively, you could mix the vinegar in a glass of water and drink slowly.
You can easily stop hiccups by drinking some yogurt. Add one tablespoon of salt in a cup of yogurt to make a homogenous mixture. Drink with regular intervals in between. You can sip some water afterward to get rid of the funny taste. Even if your baby has persistent hiccups, you should only give one tablespoon of plain yogurt.
In most cases, hiccups are triggered by a buildup of stomach gases. Since ginger has the power to cure some gastrointestinal disturbances, it would give quick relief to uncontrollable hiccups. Take a fresh ginger root and boil in a pot of water for 15 minutes, pour the liquid into a cup and drink for instant relief. The strong taste will disrupt your mind.
9. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has a sour taste that disrupts the vagus nerve, thus, stopping the hiccups instantly. Sprinkle some salt on a lemon wedge and then suck it continuously for a few minutes. Let the juice saturate in your mouth as well as in your digestive tract.
The natural sweetness of honey can stop the hiccups by stimulating the vagus nerve. Put one tablespoon of organic honey in a cup of hot water, mix well and then drink slowly. Hold the solution in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. To make the remedy more effective, add some fresh ginger juice.
11. Cardamom Powder
Cardamom contains muscle relaxing compounds that aid in the expulsion of gases from lungs, relieving you from hiccups. Take dry cardamom, grind into a fine powder, and then add into a cup of water. Let the liquid steep for about 10 minutes. Drink the infusion while still warm.
12. Castor Oil
This remedy is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. A mixture of castor oil with honey will help you regain your normal composure. Just dip your fingers into the mixture and then lick them off. The off-flavor would stimulate the nerves relieving you from hiccups.
13. Pull Your Knees To The Chest
The best way to calm your diaphragm is by holding the knees to your chest. This technique helps to stop the contractions in your diaphragm. Alternatively, you can take deep breaths to reset your vagus nerve.
14. Dill Tea
This is a natural way to stop uncontrollable hiccups. To prepare the tea, mash one tablespoon of dill tea and put it in a cup of hot water. Allow it to steep and then serve in a clean cup. Sip the tea to get rid of those annoying hiccups. If you don’t mind the pungent taste, you can chew a handful of dill seeds.
Chamomile helps to soothe the diaphragm muscles and stops the spams associated with constant hiccups. Put one teaspoon of chamomile herb in a glass of water and allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes. Drink the tea slowly to ease the contractions. You can also put five drops of the oil in the bag, hold it over your mouth and take deep breaths.
16. Ice Cubes
The sudden impact of cold that comes from ice cubes will help to calm the irritated nerves. Put some ice cubes in a glass of water and drink it. Alternatively, you can place a few ice cubes at the back of your neck. Since your body is not anticipating the cold, you’ll put the hiccups to rest.
17. Hot Sauce
The hot sour taste of the hot sauce would distract your mind from the apparent hiccups. Although it may not be friendly to your taste buds, your mind will focus on the burning sensation of the sauce instead of the hiccups. You can get the same effect when you eat spicy food.
18. Drink Water With Closed Ears
Plug your ears with fingers and then sip water from a bottle. If the problem persists, repeat the process several times. You can also take deep breaths using the same technique. If you have a friend around, you can let him or her close your ears for you.
19. Mustard Seeds
Mustard seeds have a distinct taste that helps to get rid of hiccups in minutes. Mix one teaspoon of the seeds with a half teaspoon of clarified butter. Take the mixture at once.
Use a cotton swab and tickle your palate. Continue with the technique for 30 minutes to keep the hiccups at bay. It’s an effective way to distract your thoughts, especially when your friend does it for you. If the method does not give immediate relief, you may combine it with any of the above methods.
21. Paper Towels
Cover a cup of water with a medium-sized paper towel and then try drinking the water with the towel on it. Since it’s almost difficult to drink the water, you’ll be putting a lot of pressure on your diaphragm, eliminating the hiccups.
22. Hold Your Breath
When you cut down the air supply to your lungs, you can interrupt the hiccup. Simply put, when air goes down your esophagus, it irritates the area even more. For this reason, you should breathe in plenty of air until there is no more space in your lungs. Hold for about 15 seconds and then breathe out. Use this technique three times for instant relief.
23. Mint Beverage
Take fresh mint leaves and prepare a beverage, add a pinch of salt and fresh lemon juice. Once the mixture hits the vagus nerve, it will reduce the irritation on your diaphragm. Keep sipping the beverage until the hiccups disappear.
24. Gargle With Warm Water
If you have those annoying hiccups, you can resolve them in less than a minute through water gargle. When you gargle, you increase the level of carbon dioxide in the body. This brings changes to the diaphragm which stops the hiccups. If you don’t get rid of the condition, then the water you’re drinking may not be warm enough.
It’s usually a sign that you enjoyed some food. In some cultures, it’s quite embarrassing since it brings an aftertaste of your meal. Just inhale a lot of air through the mouth and the burp will come out. You could also consume a little quantity of a fizzy drink to help induce burping. Burping is the easiest way to reset your vagus nerve.
26. Black Pepper Powder
Inhaling black pepper powder induces sneezing. Not only that, it triggers movements on the respiratory tract. Use this remedy every few hours till the hiccup subsides.
27. Pulling The Tongue Out
While this may be considered rude in public places, it can end those incessant hiccups. It’s an effective way of easing the diaphragm spam and stimulating the vagus nerve.
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