Hiccups: 6 Ways to get rid of the symptoms

Hiccups: 6 Ways to get rid of the symptoms

When hiccups arrive, they may last for a few minutes or a whole day, and they may actually turn painful. We’ve heard the craziest things to make it go away, and in fact, you never know which of all the tricks you tried worked, or if they did at all.

We all know how nerve-racking is to have hiccups, even worse, when they seem not to end. Did you know Charles Osborne, had hiccups for 68 years? His hiccups happened at a rate of 40 times per minute and it eventually slowed down to 20 hiccups per minute, until they stopped one year before his death. Beyond the anecdote, it turns out he had had an accident that caused damage in the hiccup response area of the brain. There are, however, certain tricks that actually help get rid of hiccups.

What causes hiccups?

Hiccups are a sudden, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm, which is a muscle, and the sound is a consequence of the vocal cords snapping shut as a reflex to the muscle spasm. It can be caused by medication, stress, drinking or eating in excess, a stroke, brain tumors, breathing noxious fumes or abdominal surgery.

Unless hiccups prevent you from doing your daily tasks, you needn't consult an expert.

They are not dangerous and they can usually be cured or go away for no apparent reason after a short period of time –you should not be worried about them, and unless hiccups last for more than a few hours, or paired up with other symptoms, it is not necessary to consult a GP.

The fix

There are several methods you can try, although they don’t work for everyone.

1. Pull your knees up to your chest and lean forward –the idea is to compress the chest and put a little bit of pressure on your diaphragm to stop the contractions.

Try biting a lemon or tasting some vinegar to distract the brain and focus on the sharp taste instead.

2. Drink a glass of water upside down –it is actually a distraction technique to get your mind off the hiccupping. This is not a medical recommendation, but many people swear by this method.

3. Hold your breath –try doing it for as long as reasonably possible, inhaling and exhaling heavily each time, and repeat the process.

4. Taste something bitter –try biting a lemon or tasting some vinegar to target the vagus nerve, that runs from the brain to the stomach. The idea is to distract the brain and focus on the sharp taste instead.

5. Avoid spicy food, carbonated drinks, alcoholic drinks or chewing gum, as they can trigger hiccups.

Avoid spicy food, carbonated drinks, alcoholic drinks or chewing gum, as they can trigger hiccups.

6. Don’t smoke as it could be the reason behind your hiccups.

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Victoria Thais

A trip to India was all it took for Victoria to realise that meditation is not a fancy word for sitting around in silence. It truly changed Victoria’s life to a less stressful and more mindful one. Now a freelance consultant and journalist, Victoria joined KOKO to share her knowledge on those little things that are life so much better, and cosier.+ info

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