Not just to hold your breath: how to get rid of hiccups

Alina MilsentLife
Life hacks for getting rid of hiccups

Hiccups are a natural process that usually resolves on its own within a few minutes. However, if the episode persists for an extended period and interferes with eating or talking, you may consider taking "emergency" measures.

Unfortunately, there aren't many scientific studies evaluating the effectiveness of various hiccup remedies. The top tips to help get rid of hiccups were published by Health Line.

Causes of hiccups

Hiccups are caused by involuntary spasms of the diaphragm, a large muscle that aids in the breathing process. During a spasm, you suddenly inhale air, and the vocal cords close, resulting in a characteristic sound.

Hiccups can be caused by the following factors:

  • carbonated drinks
  • spicy foods
  • alcohol
  • stress or emotional excitement;
  • sudden changes in temperature;
  • fast pace of eating;
  • overeating.

Breathing practices

Sometimes a change in breathing or posture can help relax the diaphragm.

Practice regular breathing. Inhale, counting to five, and exhale deeply.

Hold your breath. Inhale deeply and hold the air for about 10-20 seconds, then exhale slowly. Repeat this practice several times.

Sit on a soft surface. Pull your knees up to your chest and lean forward - this will help compress your chest and put pressure on your diaphragm.

Doctors advise experimenting with the Valsalva maneuver. To perform this maneuver, try to exhale by pinching your nose and keeping your mouth closed.

Pressure points

Pressing on certain points will also help relax the diaphragm or stimulate the vagus or diaphragmatic nerves.

  • Take hold of the tip of your tongue and gently pull it forward once or twice - this is to stimulate the nerves and muscles in your throat.
  • Try holding your nose for a while.
  • Lie down, turn your head to the left and massage the carotid artery on the right side in a circular motion for 5-10 seconds.

Food or water

  1. Slowly sipping cold water will effectively stimulate the vagus nerve.
  2. Try sucking on an ice cube for a few minutes. When it shrinks to an acceptable size, swallow it.
  3. Put a pinch of sugar on your tongue and leave it for 5-10 seconds, then swallow.
  4. You can also suck on a slice of lemon.

When to see a doctor

Usually, hiccups disappear within a few minutes. If hiccups become regular and prolonged, consult your doctor.

Hiccups can be a sign of an underlying disease, such as

  • gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • stroke;
  • multiple sclerosis.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL talked about the main symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

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