What are home remedies for hiccups?

Hiccups in infant or baby.
You may try changing the position of the infant or baby; try to get your baby to burp, or calm him/her down to cure the hiccups. Source: iStock

There are numerous home cures for 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 hiccuping:

  1. Gargling with water
  2. Putting a cold compress on your face
  3. Breathing into a paper bag
  4. Blowing up a balloon
  5. Drink a glass of water quickly
  6. Have someone frighten you
  7. Pull hard on your tongue
  8. Bite on a lemon
  9. Gargle with water
  10. Drink from the far side of a glass
  11. Taking deep, slow breaths
  12. Sitting down and pulling your knees to your chest for one minute
  13. Use smelling salts
  14. 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.)

What is the treatment for hiccups?

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

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

  • A "hiccup bout" is an episode of hiccups that lasts up to 48 hours
  • "Persistent hiccups" continue more than 48 hours, up to one month
  • "Intractable hiccups" last longer than one month

A healthcare professional 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 rarely is performed and is used only in individuals with hiccups that do not respond to other treatments.

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What are hiccups?

Hiccups
A woman who drinks from the opposite edge of the glass can decrease hiccuping. Source: Getty Images

The main muscle that helps your lungs expand and contract to breathe is the diaphragm, which is in your abdomen and controls the volume of your chest cavity. Hiccups (also spelled hiccough) happen when this diaphragm muscle spasms. In response, your vocal cords snap shut, causing the “hic” sound you hear with hiccups. This condition is usually harmless and temporary, but prolonged cases may indicate some disease process or digestive problem that is causing the condition.

What kind of doctor treats hiccups?

Hiccups generally go away on their own and do not require medical treatment, however, if hiccups last more than three hours or disturb eating or sleeping, you may see your primary care providers (PCP) such as a family practitioner, internist, or a child’s pediatrician.

There may be many different specialists who treat hiccups depending on the underlying cause, for example:

QUESTION

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Medically Reviewed on 6/25/2021
References
Wilkes, G. "Hiccups." Medscape. Updated: Dec 20, 2016.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/775746-overview>