Guest post by Henna Sammuel
They are not harmful, but they appear all of a sudden and drive you nuts. They happen to anyone – babies and adults alike. What’s worse, there is no medical treatment, and they disappear on their own. Of course we are speaking of hiccups.
There is no particular reason for hiccups. They just occur involuntarily and suddenly. Hiccups are spasms of diaphragm muscle, which is not a disease, but we always try to get rid of them. In medical terms, it is called synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF). When hiccups occur, they will cause air to move quickly. The sudden inhalation triggers the closure of your vocal cords, which produces the ‘hic’ sound. However, sometimes, the hiccups are triggered by spicy food, fear, stress, swallowing air, eating very quickly, and bloated stomach.
Hiccups are really very annoying, and people usually try everything to stop them. Some simple remedies to get rid of hiccups are easily available at our home.
1. Taking something sweet or sour
Taking a spoonful of sugar will give you immediate relief from hiccups as its graininess will irritate the oesophagus a little. This will cause the reset of the phrenic nerves. In addition to sugar, vinegar will also give you relief from hiccups.
2. Posture and breathing
Breathe in for 10 seconds and breathe out slowly. Repeating this three to four times will give you relief. You can repeat this exercise after 20 minutes. Breathing into a paper bag is also an effective measure. It is very important that you should not cover the top of the bag.
Also try bringing your knees to your chest. Hug your knees in this position only for at least two minutes. In addition, compressing the chest gently by leaning forward will also provide the desired result.
3. Pressure points
Stimulating some pressure points will help you stop hiccups. When swallowing, put gentle pressure on both the sides of the nose. Apart from this method, try gently pressing the diaphragm. Pulling on the tongue while holding it between your fingers will stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps in easing the spasms of the diaphragm.
4. Drinking and eating
Some useful methods are using iced water to gargle, sipping cold water very slowly and drinking a glass of warm water slowly without breathing.
Try putting a slice of juicy lemon on your tongue and suck it. Some people believe that consuming fizzy drink helps in getting away from hiccups. However, some doctors said that it only increases the problem.
5. Swallowing peanut butter
Peanut butter is the most popular remedy for curing hiccups. Chewing as well as swallowing peanut butter is believed to stop hiccups within few minutes. Just take one spoon of peanut butter and swallow it. If you suffer from any kind of allergy to the peanut butter, avoid it. Take almond butter instead.
6. Cocoa powder
Take some cocoa powder and swallow it instantly. It seems easy to swallow cocoa powder but it actually requires some efforts. It will short-circuit the reason for the hiccup and stop them.
7. Honey in warm water
Honey works to make the hiccups stop by tickling the vagus nerve. So, a teaspoon of honey in warm water will make the hiccups stop.
8. Scare tactics
The sudden scare is very effective in stopping the hiccups as it changes the breathing pattern which overrides the current stimulus of sympathetic nervous system. The flight and fight response to stress will result in distraction and will end the hiccups.
9. 30-second procedure
This procedure only lasts for 30 seconds and is very effective, but it is a bit complicated. In spite of complication. Inhale via your mouth till the lungs are full. In reality, you are not swallowing. But you have to act like you are swallowing something. Do not let any air to get out. Try to inhale some more air even after your lungs are full. You will not be able to swallow more air but try to do it. At a point, when you are not able to swallow more air, exhale it. If the process is done correctly, then surely hiccups will end in a few seconds.
If you find out that the air is coming out of your nose, stop the procedure as it will not help you in stopping hiccups. So, squeeze your nose in order to get the air in your lungs only. This method will be effective only when your lungs are filled with air and you will not let any air out of your lungs.
Generally, hiccups stop on their own, but when they don’t stop for more than 48 hours, one should consult doctors immediately. In such cases, they might occur due to the problems in the central nervous system, respiratory system, and gastrointestinal problems.
Henna Sammuel writes about alternative medicine and health-related topics.