Inhale. Inhale. And Inhale Again.
Luc G. Morris, MD, and his colleagues have had 100% success with a technique they developed that uses increased carbon dioxide levels, diaphragm relaxation, and positive airway pressure to cure the hiccups. They call the method “supra-supramaximal inspiration.” Here’s how to do it: Take a full deep breath, and hold it for 10 seconds. Then, without breathing any air out, inhale a small breath and hold it for 5 seconds. Follow this with a third inhaled breath (again, without breathing any air out) and hold it for 5 seconds. The technique has worked with patients who’ve come to the emergency room with persistent hiccups, says Morris.
Bend Down. Drink Up.
“I cure my hiccups by filling a glass of water, bending forward, and drinking the water upside down,” says Richard McCallum, MD. “That always works, and I firmly recommend it for my normally healthy patients.” This method may excite the nerves in the back of the throat and help the nervous system get out of its rut.
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“One cure I find effective is a teaspoon of sugar, swallowed dry,” says André Dubois, MD, PhD. “That quite often stops the hiccups in minutes.” The sugar is probably acting in the mouth to modify the nerve impulses that would otherwise tell the muscles in the diaphragm to contract spasmodically, he says.
Add It Up
Since the sugar cure isn’t always practical, Dubois uses a mental-distraction remedy that can be done anywhere. Add two two-digit numbers in your head, for example 43 plus 77. “By the time you figure out the answer, your hiccups should be gone,” he says. (Try these 7 brain games to make you smarter.)
Hold And Swallow
Hold your breath for as long as possible and, at the same time, swallow when you feel the hiccup sensation coming, says herbal expert Betty Shaver. Do that 2 or 3 times, then take a deep breath and repeat again.
Go To Sleep
Hiccups that are caused by stress will often resolve on their own if you get some sleep, says Wilkes.
Sexual Arousal—It’s Worth A Try
A strong jolt to the nervous system in the form of an orgasm may work, suggests Roni Peleg, MD, who reported a case study in the Canadian Family Physician. A 40-year-old man developed a bad case of hiccups after receiving a cortisone shot for his back pain. He tried various folk remedies. His doctors tried the standard medications. Nothing worked. On day 4, the man had sexual intercourse with his wife. His hiccups stopped immediately after he ejaculated.
Peleg theorizes that the hiccups were caused by nerve stimulation similar to the startle response. “It’s unclear whether orgasm in women would lead to a similar resolution. Under circumstances in which sexual intercourse with a partner is not possible, masturbation might be tried as a means of stopping intractable hiccups,” says Peleg