Hiccups - Remedies and Treatment

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How can I stop, get rid of, or cure hiccups?

Home remedies for hiccups

There are numerous home cures for hiccups. You can try these methods at home to get rid of hiccups:

Methods that cause the body to retain carbon dioxide, which is thought to relax the diaphragm and stop the spasms which cause the hiccups:

  • Hold your breath

Techniques that stimulate the nasopharynx and the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the stomach, and can decrease hiccupping:

  • Drink a glass of water quickly
  • Have someone frighten you
  • Pull hard on your tongue
  • Bite on a lemon
  • Gargle with water
  • Drink from the far side of a glass
  • Use smelling salts
  • Place one-half teaspoon of dry sugar on the back of your tongue. (This process can be repeated three times at two-minute intervals. Use corn syrup, not sugar, for young children.)

Is there medical treatment for hiccups?

Most hiccups will stop on their own. Home remedies are generally sufficient to resolve hiccupping.

For persistent hiccups (lasting more than three hours) treatment varies, and you may need to contact your doctor.

A physician may prescribe medications for severe, chronic hiccups. Chlorpromazine (Thorazine) is usually the first-line medication prescribed for hiccups. Other medications used to treat hiccups include haloperidol (Haldol) and metoclopramide (Reglan).

Some muscle relaxants, sedatives, analgesics, and even stimulants have also been reported to help alleviate hiccup symptoms.

Phrenic nerve surgery (the nerve that controls the diaphragm) is a treatment of last resort. This treatment is rarely performed and used only in cases that do not respond to other treatments.

Return to Hiccups

See what others are saying

Comment from: Anon, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 14

This cure has never failed me for hiccups. Use any liquid, as long as it is cold. Take a breath and hold it, than take a drink, but do not swallow it. Instead, let the liquid go back as far as you can in your throat. Try to get it to touch the uvula. I do not know quite the science behind it, but it shuts them down at once.

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Comment from: tronk, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 12

I had hiccups for several hours once while sick. This was many years ago. I threw up and they stopped immediately. Every time I've had hiccups since then, I've activated my gag reflex (sometimes vomiting, which isn't healthy, and sometimes not). The hiccups have stopped immediately every time. I'm not saying you should use this method, but it has allowed me to fall asleep and not be miserable probably a dozen times.

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