Hiccups

Home Remedies To Help You Get Rid Of Hiccups

It is one of the most annoying and discomforting feelings especially after drowning the stress of the day in a bottle of beer and a big bowl of fufu, and you just cannot shake off the “hic” sound. 

Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. This is the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and is essential in breathing. The role of the diaphragm is to contract and relax when you inhale or exhale to aid the movement of air into and out of your lungs and its excretion through the nose and mouth. However, if something irritates your diaphragm, it can spasm, forcing you to suddenly suck air into your throat, where it hits your voice box creating the “hic” sound.

Hiccups are usually short-lived and usually resolve with no medical intervention however, there are some rare cases which can last for months resulting in weight loss, insomnia and extreme exertion. It is important to note that when you start experiencing shortness of breath, abdominal pain, spitting blood or vomiting, you seek immediate medical attention as they maybe cue of a serious problem. It can affect anyone including those at the extremes of age to even unborn babies in the womb. 

Either physical and emotional stressors that irritate the diaphragm can cause hiccups. Eating too fast and swallowing air, chewing gum, smoking, eating or drinking too much, strokes, brain tumors, damage to the vagus or phrenic nerve, some medications, noxious fumes, anxiety, stress, and other strong emotions can all cause hiccups. Avoiding these stressors are essentially effective ways of preventing these hiccups.

So how do you get rid of the stubborn annoying hiccups? 

The CDC and the NHS have some recommended home remedies which can help resolve it in no time.

Breathing and posture

  • Breathe in and hold the breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly. Repeat three or four times. Then repeat 20 minutes later.
  • Breathe into a paper bag – it is important to not cover the head with the bag.
  • Bring the knees to the chest and hug them for 2 minutes.
  • Gently compress the chest; this can be achieved by leaning forward.

Eating and drinking

  • Gargle with iced water.
  • Drink from the far side of the glass – stand up, bend over, and place the mouth on the opposite side of the glass. While bending, tilt the glass away from the body and drink.
  • Place a couple of drops of vinegar in the mouth.
  • Place some granulated sugar on the tongue. When it melts, swallow it.
  • Sip very cold water slowly.
  • Drink a glass of warm water very slowly, all the way down without breathing.
  • Take a thin slice of lemon, place it on the tongue and suck it like a sweet.
  • Burping – some people find that if they consume a fizzy drink and burp, their hiccups go away. However, some doctors warn that sodas may also trigger hiccups.

Pressure points

  • Pull on the tongue – hold the end of the tongue in the fingers and tug. This stimulates the vagus nerve and eases diaphragm spasms, which may sometimes stop hiccups. This often does not work.
  • Press on the diaphragm gently.
  • Place gentle pressure on each side of the nose while swallowing.

There are drugs which your doctor can prescribe when all these do not help and the hiccups prevail. If hiccups are caused by an underlying condition, treating that condition may help get rid of them.

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Prince George Acquah
Pharm D Candidate at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Tachnology

Prince George Acquah Jnr. is an award-winning poet and the CEO of NALANOM INC. He is also a PharmD final year student, Music lover, Chelsea fan, Dreamer, Academic, and the Author of the anthology, 24 and Gnashing.

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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