hiccups go away

Have you ever tried to make hiccups go away with a home remedy? There are dozens, at least! Some sound entirely plausible, while others appear quite improbable. They all have one thing in common: a fervent champion convinced that this is the one and only hiccup remedy that really works.

How Can You Make Hiccups Go Away?

Q. I’ve suffered with hiccups all my life. (I’m in my late 50s.)

The only remedy that really works is one I learned from a friend about six years ago. Raise your left arm straight over your head while drinking a glass of water.

Can you tell me why this works? I’m guessing it has to do with the stretching motion expanding or opening up the diaphragm.

What Are Hiccups?

A. Hiccups are heard when the diaphragm repeatedly contracts involuntarily and the vocal cords close immediately after each contraction. There are many triggers, including a large meal, hot peppers, alcohol, carbonated beverages and anesthesia. A number of serious health conditions can also set off hard-to-treat hiccups. That’s why persistent hiccups (beyond two days) should be brought to a doctor’s attention.

Reach and Sip to Make Hiccups Go Away:

We have been collecting hiccup remedies for over 40 years. We suspect that many work by stimulating nerves in the mouth and throat. This in turn might interrupt the muscular contraction. Reaching up with the left arm while drinking water may help stimulate the vagus nerve much as swallowing a spoonful of sugar would. This is a time-honored remedy for hiccups (New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 23, 1971).

One reader recently shared his go-to remedy:

“My method of stopping hiccups has never failed. Never. Put the handle of a spoon in a glass (made of glass) of water. While pressing the bottom (bowl) part of the spoon firmly against your forehead, slip the water with the handle in it very slowly. Guaranteed! (It might work in other than a glass glass, but I have not tried that.)”

What About Pickles or Olives to Make Hiccups Go Away?

Other remedies, such as sipping pickle juice or eating olives, might work by activating transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in this same pathway. The bartender’s standby, eating a lemon wedge with Angostura bitters on it, may also be working through a similar mechanism. Activating TRP channels can override and calm a misfiring nerve that is causing a muscle cramp. This approach may also be able to reverse the misfiring of the vagus nerve causing the diaphragm to contract when it should not.

Learn More:

You can learn about many other hiccup remedies in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. If you are interested in TRP channels and how they can help alleviate muscle cramps, you may wish to listen to our interview with Dr. Bruce Bean, the Robert Winthrop Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. It is Show 1054: The Scientific Explanation for a Weird Remedy.

If you have a remedy that makes hiccups go away, please share it in the comment section below.

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  1. Cathy T
    Milford, Conn,
    Reply

    I have had issues with hiccups since I was a little girl ( I’m 68 ). I take anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of smooth peanut butter (I use Skippy) depending how strong and persistent the hiccups are and wait until one hiccup finishes and quickly, before another comes up, I swallow the whole spoon of peanut butter.

    I don’t let it melt in my mouth, just get it down quickly, then wait a few seconds. It never fails me. It’s gone and the peanut butter tastes good. Sometimes if I use a teaspoon it might come back, meaning I needed more peanut butter. Then I use the tablespoon and it ALWAYS works.

  2. Judi
    Port St. Lucie, Florida
    Reply

    My father was a physician, and this was his remedy which always worked:

    Press a finger firmly into each ear; take a deep breath; hold it as long as you can even if you experience a hiccup while you are doing it. You may have to do it several times, and be careful if you have long nails.

    I recall him explaining that it had something to do with spasms in the diaphragm and forcing the CO2 out. I’m not sure I remember his explanation since I was about 14 yrs old when he taught me this remedy. It always works, but you may need to do it several times.

  3. Bunny
    WA
    Reply

    My home remedy for hiccups is simple: a few chocolate chips, dark chocolate, of course. My husband discovered this and it has always worked for us.

    Bunny

    • Leslie
      Florida
      Reply

      I was taught the same method by our health teacher in 6th grade (60 yrs ago). Additionally, he said keeping fingers in ears until letting out breath. Always works and may take more than 1 time. Thanks for science behind it.

  4. Gail
    Reply

    A hiccup is an upward spasm of the diaphragm. Taking a spoonful of granulated suger, and swallowing it while constantly making downward forceful swallows stops the hiccup. The repeated swallowing pushes downward against the diaphragm, stopping the spasm.

  5. Sylvia
    Waco, TX
    Reply

    All you need to stop hiccups is a big spoonful of dill pickle juice. I’ve used it for years myself and with my children, and it works every time.

  6. Sandy
    Portland Oregon
    Reply

    I find that I don’t have to actually take a teaspoon of sugar to make my hiccups go away. I can simply imagine reaching for the sugar, pouring some into a spoon, and then (and this is the most important part) imagine putting it into my mouth and feeling the granulated feel of the sugar in my mouth and tasting the sweetness. Doing this with focus and concentration works for me!

  7. Robbie
    Texas
    Reply

    When I get the hiccups, I try to burp over and over. It works for me almost always.

  8. cat
    Reply

    I have had good luck stopping hiccups with taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Once had to take two teaspoons!

  9. Tracy
    Benicia
    Reply

    A spoonful of sugar stops the hiccups for me. I understand that a spoonful of anything gritty will work, but swallowing a spoonful of salt or sand would not be good. It’s the grittiness going down your throat that works.

  10. Joann
    NC
    Reply

    I put pressure on my sternum with palm of 1 hand & other on top for force while swallowing quickly 4 or more times. Has worked for me every time for past 5 years.

  11. Jan
    Georgua
    Reply

    A heaping spoonful of peanut butter works very time !

  12. Jody
    Portland, Oregon
    Reply

    My favorite hiccup cure is to eat several spoons of ice cream. Since I am a retired RN, I had to think of a rationale, and I’m guessing it stimulates the Vagus Nerve.

  13. Sally
    Reply

    I read this article Sunday morning…in the evening. I had hiccups during dinner. I thought, “Why not give this method a try?” and within 30 seconds, they were gone. NEVER had this kind of speedy relief with any of the other methods I have tried. I will note that you need to raise the arm straight up alongside the head and extended just a bit. I will be telling all my friends about this!

  14. Bonnie
    California
    Reply

    Take a sip of water, and bend forward at the waist. Swallow the water while you are “upside down,” and that will cure the hiccups.

    • Beth
      VA
      Reply

      I’ve used this successfully for most of my life. Also read another remedy that calls for holding your breath, then swallowing your saliva twice before exhaling; takes a little while to get two swallows in, but it does work. It’s helpful if you can’t get to a glass of water.

  15. Jim
    FL
    Reply

    I get rid of my hiccups by holding my breath while taking 10 tiny sips of water. Works every time for me

  16. Gloria
    Florida
    Reply

    I have always ended my grandchildren’s hiccoughs by placing my palms firmly over their ears and pressing gently while I have them drink a beverage like water or juice. Nothing with carbonation. Hiccoughs always stop.

  17. PM
    WA
    Reply

    I always stop hiccups by plugging my ears with my fingers while swallowing a mouthful of liquid.

  18. Ann
    Florida
    Reply

    I have had good results in stopping my hiccups by relaxing, getting a good breath (as though you are going to be underwater), then holding your breath for as long as you possibly can. You may have to hold your nose to keep from taking in air unknowingly.

  19. Richard M.
    FL
    Reply

    Several years ago I tried taking a teaspoon of regular sugar. It works INSTANTANEOUSLY!!! Also use that same remedy for heartburn. Same result! Inexpensive too!

  20. deb
    Reply

    I have found the best way to get rid of hiccups is with laughter. Find something funny to watch or talk about (laugh about the hiccups you are having and the weird noise they make!). Have a really good laugh,and they seem to go away. Sounds strange, but I think the key is: hiccups are triggered by edgy,stressed nerves, and the laughter is relaxing, and a general anxiety-buster. A merry heart does good like a medicine!

    • Glenna
      Lynnwood WA
      Reply

      I found out quite by accident what worked for a young friend and it always works for me. Many of the cures listed have to do with flow of air (diaphragm), and the laughter cure reminded me of the time she starting hiccupping right before a Bible fellowship.

      She made it through the first part and after the singing, I noticed no more hiccups. So I sing when I can. When I can’t, I sing to myself and breathe like I’m singing out loud. I’m just thankful that so many people have figured out what works for them. I’m sure they’ve helped many.

  21. Marlene
    Reply

    One solutions that has worked for hiccups for me and my children is a spoonful of sugar with a little water (to make it more palatable). Sometimes it takes a Tablespoon.
    Not sure why it works but for the most part it does work.

  22. Kathy D.
    Houston
    Reply

    I take a breath and focus my eyes downward to the spot I feel the hiccup beginning. Then I simply focus on that spot. Hiccups gone within a few breaths.

  23. rose
    dallas, tx
    Reply

    My go-to remedy for hiccups is to hold my breath for as long as I can stand it–then breathe slowly and shallowly for a few seconds until I am certain that the hiccups are gone. Occasionally I need to repeat a second time, but this method has never failed me. And it can be done anytime, anywhere. No need for a glass of water or spoon or pickle juice or . . .

  24. Molly
    WA
    Reply

    Eating half a banana will stop hiccups. Works every time for me and is easy.

  25. Margaret
    Sedona AZ
    Reply

    For hiccups I just squeeze the skin area under my nose, and they stop immediately.

  26. Tony
    Fl.
    Reply

    You can laugh all you want at my cure for the hiccups:
    A small shot of strong alcohol, 90-100 proof.
    Something that ‘kinda’ burns a little bit on the way down.
    Stops the hiccuping for me in just a second in time.

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