Home remedies: having a bout with hiccups

  • Dec. 12, 2017 2:58 p.m.

Hiccups may result from a large meal, alcoholic beverages or sudden excitement. In some cases, hiccups may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. For most people, a bout of hiccups usually lasts only a few minutes. Rarely, hiccups may persist for months. This can result in malnutrition and exhaustion.

Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic “hic” sound.

Although there’s no certain way to stop hiccups, if you have a bout of hiccups that lasts longer than a few minutes, the following home remedies may provide relief, although they are unproven:

Breathe into a paper bag

Gargle with ice water

Hold your breath

Sip cold water

You may be able to decrease the frequency of hiccups by avoiding common hiccup triggers, such as:

Eating large meals

Drinking carbonated beverages or alcohol

Sudden changes in temperature

Excitement or emotional stress

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