Hiccups are a reflex action; which means that we do not have any control over them. Once triggered, the reflex causes a strong contraction of the diaphragm followed about 0.25 seconds later by closure of the vocal cords, which results in the classic “hic” sound. Common causes of hiccups include: very hot/cold food or drink, emotional stress or excitement, alcohol or excess smoking, and so on. Hiccups usually stop within a few minutes to a few hours. But if hiccups come at the most inconvenient times, you might need to use some very subtle methods to control them. Here are some home remedies for hiccups, they may help you shorten the duration.
1. Plug Your Ears
Some doctors recommend that you put your fingers in your ears to stop hiccups. If you do decide to try this hiccup reliever, stick your fingers in your ears for 20 to 30 seconds, but be gentle, and don’t stick your fingers too far into your ears. That sends a “relax” signal through the vagus nerve, due to the branches of the vagus nerve also reach into the auditory system.
2. Hold Your Breath
Draw a deep breath and try to hold it without letting any air out, for as long as you can or until you sense that the hiccups are gone. When nitrogen dioxide build-up in your lungs, it can relax your diaphragm. This action often helps get rid of hiccups. Keep repeating this procedure a couple of times.
3. Drink Some Water
Like spices, alcoholic beverages can cause a simultaneous irritation of the esophagus and the stomach. They can also cause acid from the stomach to leak into the esophagus, the extra acid can bring on hiccups. When you’re gulping a drink, water can dilute the acid in the esophagus, and rhythmic contractions of the esophagus override spasms of the diaphragm. This method tends to work best on young people and children, while adults may have to try it a few times.
4. Have some peanut butter
A spoon of peanut butter is a great remedy that could help to stop continuous hiccups. Get a big tablespoon of peanut butter and put it in your mouth and hold it for 5-10 seconds. Then, swallow the peanut butter without chewing, your swallowing and breathing patterns are interrupted. And hence, the hiccups will be history. Anything with a sticky gooey consistency similar to peanut butter will do this.
5. A teaspoon of sugar or cream
With a teaspoon of sugar or cream, the cure becomes a treat. Steady swallowing, and a pleasurable distraction all add up to calming the diaphragm. This remedy is especially for toddlers and children who are unable to follow detailed instructions on breathing pattern.
6. For the baby
If a baby has hiccups, it could be because he or she swallowed too much air while feeding. A gentle back rub may loosen your child’s muscles, giving the diaphragm the okay to relax. Also check the nipple of the baby bottle to see if it is allowing the right amount of fluid to flow out. If too much or too little liquid comes out, that could be contributing to the hiccups.
A bout of hiccups, in general, resolves itself without intervention, usually stop within a few minutes to a few hours. If you have hiccups that last a few days or longer and you should see your doctor. Both persistent and intractable hiccups may be a sign of a more serious health problem.