Hiccups refer to the uncontrollable contraction of the diaphragm muscles, and will usually occur repeatedly in a short period of rime. Medically referred to as synchronous diaphragmatic flutters (abbreviated SCFs), hiccups are characterized by the sudden shutting down of the vocal cords after quick inhalation. This is what produces the characteristic sound made during hiccups. One may get individual hiccups or those that occur in bouts. For the most part, a bout lasts juts a couple of minutes and it is rare for it to carry on for hours.
While the hiccup sound is the most obvious symptom, some people may also experience tightening of the muscles in the chest, abdomen or throat. Some of the factors that are known to contribute to hiccups include taking carbonated beverages, overeating, eating too quickly as well as swallowing air during ingestion. For a good number of people, hiccups are sometimes accompanied by over excitement and/or emotional stress.
Hiccups will typically go away on their own, but there are home remedies that can help with their reduction. It is important to mention that long-term hiccups that last for hours may be indicative of a more serious underlying condition due to damage of the nervous system or disorders affecting the respiratory system. These require immediate medical attention to follow up on what the problem could be. Below are some of the simple remedies that are known to help with the natural treatment of hiccups.
1. Cold Water:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: 1 Glass of cold water and 5 ice cubes (optional).
Cold water is one of the most ubiquitous home remedies for the management of hiccups. This remedy has been passed down for years, and works effectively to put a cessation to the annoying hiccups. It is believed that the cold water shocks the body system, serving as an ideal distraction that helps put a stop to the hiccups. You may add a couple of ice cubes to the glass of water for improved efficiency.
- Place the couple of ice cubes in the glass of drinking water and let the cubes sit for a few minutes.
- Drink this water as quickly as you can to get rid of the hiccups.
- You may also opt to suck on an once cube for a few seconds to treat the hiccups.
2. Hold Your Breath:
Time Required: 10 – 20 Min
What You Need: Hold your breath in a controlled manner.
One of the most effective ways to put a stop to hiccups is to hold your breath in a controlled manner. This is an age-old remedy that is believed to stop hiccup bouts by distracting the mind. The reason for this is, by holding one’s breath, there is increased flow of carbon dioxide in the body and in the mind leading to a lapse in concentration that then helps restore normal breathing without hiccups. Below are simple ways to do this.
- Inhale as deeply as you can and hold that breath for as long as you can. The catch here is to ensure that you do not let any air out.
- Gently exhale in controlled fashion, rather than making a sudden heave while breathing out.
- Repeat step 1 above and hold your breath once more.
- Do this severally until the hiccups stop completely.
3. Peanut Butter:
Time Required: 5 – 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter and a glass of water.
Peanut butter is a simple remedy that you can use to stop the hiccups. It works because it has a thick viscous consistency which, when swallowed, effectively interrupts the rapid breathing that characterizes hiccups. It is also an age-old remedy that prevents hiccups from occurring. This remedy, as expected, should not be used by those who are allergic to peanuts to avoid adverse body reactions. In addition to this, almond butter may also be used in place of peanut butter.
- Take a scoop of peanut butter using a tablespoon.
- Put it in the mouth, hold for a couple of seconds and then swallow. This remedy is best used without chewing.
- Follow this up by drinking a glass of cold water quickly to get relief from the hiccups.
- Use this remedy as often as needed.
4. Raw Organic Honey:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of raw organic honey and warm water in a cup.
Sometimes all you need to get rid of hiccups is a teaspoon of honey dipped in warm water. The honey is known to potentially affect the vagus nerve just for enough minutes to end the hiccups. What’s more, its natural sweetness helps the nerves undergo ‘resetting’, and this ends the cycle of the hiccups. There are additional benefits of using honey, and these include its ability to fight off infections that may potentially trigger the hiccups as well as its throat-soothing properties. Follow the simple steps below to end hiccups using honey.
- Place the teaspoon of honey in warm water for about 5 seconds in order to loosen it and make it easy to use.
- Put the honey at the back of the tongue and swallow it.
- You may combine this remedy with the controlled breathing technique for a far more effective solution.
- Use this remedy as often as required until you have the hiccups under control.
5. Breathe Into a Brown Bag:
Time Required: 5 – 10 Min
What You Need: A brown bag.
Did you know you can use a brown bag to reduce bouts of hiccups? The idea is to breathe in slowly and deeply into the bag in order to increase the amount of carbon dioxide present. This in turn, affects the rapidly contracting diaphragm and triggers it to contract further in a bid to increase the amount of oxygen in the body. It is believed that this helps stop the hiccup spasms.
The most important thing to note when breathing into the brown bag is to stop as soon as you start to feel dizzy or light headed. The guiding rule is that this remedy must be done at one’s comfort level. In addition to this, it is not intended for persons who are prone to fainting and must be used with caution in small children. It is also restricted for patients with heart conditions and those who have had a history of stroke.
- Make sure the brown bag is clean and free from any residues before using it.
- Breathe in slowly, and as deeply as you can into the brown bag in order to increase the levels of carbon dioxide present.
- STOP immediately if you start to feel dizzy or experience blurred vision.
- Hold your breath for a few minutes and remove the bag before inhaling using the controlled breath technique.
- Use this remedy until the hiccups stop, all the while focusing on the progress made while monitoring the body’s reaction.
6. Lemon Juice:
Time Required: 5 – 10 Min
What You Need: 1 teaspoon of undiluted lemon juice (freshly prepared). Half a glass of warm water, lemon wedges and a pinch of salt (optional).
Make use of freshly squeezed lemons to put an end to the bouts of seemingly endless hiccups. The simple reason why this remedy works is because lemon juice has a sharp sour taste that is known to irritate the nerves. This has a ‘reset’ function of sorts that helps to end the hiccups. You may compliment this remedy with a pinch of salt to enhance the taste of the lemon juice. Use any of the options available below to treat hiccups using lemon juice.’
- One of the simplest ways to do this is to place the undiluted lemon juice in the mouth. The sharp taste forces you to swallow it quick and hard and this interrupts the hiccups, thus stopping them.
- The other option is to place a pinch of salt on the lemon wedge and suck on it as slowly as you can for the same purpose.
- Lastly, you may mix the juice of one lemon with half a glass of water before stirring.
- Drink this remedy quickly to keep the hiccups at bay.
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of dried chamomile herb, 1 cup of hot water and 1 tablespoon of honey.
Chamomile tea is another remedy recommended for the natural treatment of hiccups. It has soothing properties which calm the diaphragm muscles, and this effectively reduces the contractions that cause the hiccups in the first place. The tea is also a great stress reliever which comes in handy for those whose hiccups are triggered by emotional stress. Prepare this simple cup of tea by following the directions indicated below.
- Place 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile herb in a cup and pour in the hot water.
- Let the tea steep for about 10 minutes and then strain to eliminate the used herb.
- Sip on this tea slowly to ease the hiccups.
- Use this remedy as often as you need to.
8. Simple Measures to Deal with Hiccups:
- Put your fingers in your ears and inhale as deeply as you can for a couple of seconds.
- Pinch the bridge of your nose and close your mouth for a short period of time until the hiccups stop.
- Stop this immediately if you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- You may also try to cup your hands around your mouth and nose but carry on with normal breathing to ease the symptoms of the hiccup.
In addition to these remedies, there are simple and practical measures that you can take to manage hiccups. As a general guide, avoid overeating as this is known to cause hiccups. While at it, you may want to steer clear of spicy foods which easily irritate the food pipe and may predispose you to the hiccups.Take your time to eat food without been in a hurry; you want to ensure that you swallow minimum air to prevent the sudden contraction of the diaphragm that occurs during hiccups. Remember, these remedies are intended for brief bouts of hiccups. If you experience hiccups for prolonged periods of time at a go, you need to seek immediate medical attention.