Hiccups are annoying, to say the least. Most of the time, they go on their own. Sometimes hiccups can persist and you want to stop it by all means. Well, there are many ways to stop hiccups–some tricks are culturally passed on while others are tried and tested.
Also known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF), or singultus in medical parlance, hiccups occur when the diaphragm, the thin layer of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen, contracts suddenly and involuntarily. When this happens, it causes one to breathe air in very quickly. This sudden inhalation, however, triggers a sudden closure of the vocal cords, resulting in the characteristic “hic” sound.
Most of the time, hiccups have no apparent reason. Sometimes, it could be triggered by a bloated stomach, eating or swallowing too quickly, swallowing air, eating spicy food, stress, fear, etc. Short bouts of hiccups usually pass without the need for any treatment.
In rare cases, hiccups that last 48 hours or longer can be caused by an underlying condition like gastrointestinal problems, respiratory conditions, conditions affecting the central nervous system, an irritation of the vagus nerve which controls the diaphragm, a psychological reaction like fear or shock, or metabolic conditions.Sometimes, a medication that you are taking could also be the cause for persistent hiccups.Here are a few simple ways to stop hiccups that have stood the test of time and are all-time favorites:
A spoonful of sugar helps not just the medicine go down but is also a cure for hiccups. The sugar granules are believed to stimulate the vagus nerve and help reset the phrenic nerves, thus making the body forget about the hiccups. Take a spoonful of sugar, put it all in your mouth, suck on it and swallow it slowly.Another method is to take a teaspoon full of sugar, place it in your mouth for five seconds and then allow it to slowly dissolve without chewing it. When all the sugar is dissolved, take a sip of water, and the hiccups would have stopped.
The trick about biting into a wedge of lime or sipping something sour is to shock your senses into forgetting about the hiccups. The feeling you experience when biting something sour is similar to your reaction when someone scares you. Apart from this, there is also the probability that the sourness triggers a set of nerves in the throat that are responsible for the hiccup reflex arc. A common suggestion is to place a few drops of Angostura Bitters on the lemon wedge makes it work more effectively.
Now peanut butter is one of the most famous hiccup cures you will ever come across. When chewing and swallowing the sticky peanut butter and getting it off your tongue and teeth, your swallowing and breathing patterns are disturbed from the normal mode. This is believed to stop continuous hiccups very easily.Take one teaspoon of peanut butter, take it in your mouth and swallow it without chewing. For those with peanut allergy, opt for almond butter.
No, not necessarily at somebody. And it would be better if you tried this technique in private. Pulling the tongue out is considered to be a sure-fire method to get rid of hiccups fast. The vagus nerve gets stimulated when the tongue is pulled and the diaphragm spasms ease up.The best way to do this is to pull your tongue with your fingers.
The paper bag method works by increasing the carbon dioxide levels in the blood and making the diaphragm contract more deeply to bring in more oxygen. This is believed to help stop the hiccups. All you have to do is breathe slowly and deeply into a small paper bag. Remember to stop immediately if you start feeling light headed.
One of the reasons why water can help get rid of hiccups is that when you gulp down water, the rhythmic contractions of the esophagus override spasms of the diaphragm. Another principle is where concentrated gulping counteracts the spasmodic muscle movements of hiccups when you pull hard to drink. Take a look at some methods:
A sudden scare works in two ways—it jump starts the breath pattern and also gives an overriding stimulus to the sympathetic nervous system. This activates the fight-or-flight stress response, resulting in a distraction and consequent end of the bout of hiccups.
Like peanut butter and almond butter, a spoonful of powdered cocoa is also one of the easiest ways to get rid of hiccups. Take a teaspoon of cocoa powder and try to swallow it instantly. Since this is not as easy as it sounds and requires some effort, it short-circuits the hiccups and helps stop it.
Honey can tickle the vagus nerve, making the hiccups stop. Stir a teaspoon of honey into some warm water, put this on the back of the tongue, and swallow it. Hiccups will stop fast.
This method, though lasts for only 30 seconds, is a bit complicated. However, it is said to be highly effective. Here are some step-by-step directions on doing it right.
If done correctly, the whole process should take around 30 seconds, and your hiccups will be gone.
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