7 quick cures for hiccups

Specialists say hiccups are most frequently a reaction to common digestive troubles

Maria Ahmed February 12, 2015

Hiccups are involuntary fits that occur when the vagus nerve or one of its branches, running from the brain to the abdomen, is irritated. Specialists say hiccups are most frequently a reaction to common digestive troubles. Hiccups can also be caused by a full stomach, rapid shifts in temperature inside or outside the stomach, and emotions such as shock or excitement. As compiled from the Readers Digest and besthealthmag.com, here are seven simple home remedies you can opt for and get fast relief from hiccups.

Eat something sweet

A spoonful of sugar is one of the commonly-prescribed hiccup cures and falls. Eating sugar helps because its graininess could slightly irritate the esophagus, causing the phrenic nerves to ‘reset’ themselves and forget all about the hiccups.

Eat something sour

Take a teaspoonful of vinegar as its sour taste could stop a hiccup in its tracks. “It triggers a set of nerves in your throat and mouth that are responsible for the hiccup reflex arc,” says Mallory, research team leader from the University of Connecticut. If the sourness of vinegar is too strong for you, you can suck on a salted lemon wedge.

Have peanut butter

A classic hiccup remedy is eating a spoon of peanut butter. In the process of chewing and getting it off your tongue and teeth, your swallowing and breathing patterns are interrupted, which will make the hiccups go away. Alternatively, you can use almond butter or chocolate spread. Anything with a sticky, gooey consistency similar to peanut butter will do.

Sip some hot sauce

Tabasco, horseradish, or any other hot sauce works to cure hiccups because the heat and burn are distracting enough to turn your body’s focus on the burn, instead of the hiccup process. You don’t have to reach for the ultra-hot Tabasco sauce; the mild ones would do just as well.

Eat chocolate

A delicious teaspoon of powdered cocoa mix can work wonders for your hiccups. Take a spoonful of powdered cocoa and try to swallow it instantly. Swallowing the spoonful isn’t easy and should short-circuit the hiccups.

Use a brown paper bag

Paper bags are used to prevent hyperventilating and help cure the hiccups. Breathe gently and deeply into a small paper bag (stop if you feel light-headed). This increases the carbon dioxide level in the blood and makes the diaphragm contract more intensely to bring in more oxygen, which can stop the contractions.

Try the paper towel trick

Place a single layer of paper towel over the top of a glass and then drink through the towel. A napkin may be used as an alternative. The paper towel forces your diaphragm to work harder in order to drink the water. The hiccups should disappear after that.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th,  2015.

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