Every home in America seems to have a different approach to curing hiccups. So let's hear about your family's.
Did they tell you to eat bread crust? Drink water upside down? Hold your breath?
If it sounds like we're still trying to figure out how to cure hiccups, that's because we are.
What we know is that hiccups are caused when a muscle called the diaphragm spasms inside your chest.
That spasm pushes air out of your lungs, and makes your vocal cords snap together, which makes the hic, hic, hic noise.
We do know some of the things that cause the diaphragm to spasm in the first place:
- breathing in too quickly
- eating too quickly
- acid reflux
Our planet's top scientists are still searching for the perfect hiccup cure, but they've already discovered two tried and true ways of dealing with them.
The CO2 Treatment
Raising the amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream causes your diaphragm to contract more deeply, and stop spasming.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Hold your breath for as long as possible, or inhale slowly three times without exhaling.
- Breathe in and out of a paper bag slowly. The carbon dioxide you exhale will be absorbed back into your bloodstream.
- Eat a spoonful of peanut butter. All of the chewing and lip smacking involved in this treat gets your mouth to open and close, helping to regulate your breathing.
- Scare or distract yourself. Ask a friend if you need help. Keeping your mind occupied or distracted seems to help your diaphragm settle down.
- Drink water through a paper towel. Forcing yourself to breathe in harder to drink the water makes your diaphragm "pull" more, and suck in more air.
There are even more ways to stop hiccups using the vagus method.
The Vagus Method
Your body's vagus nerve, which runs from your brain through your throat, helps to control your breathing.
Many home hiccup cures are aimed at soothing or distracting the vagus nerve, to make it "reset" your breathing.
Here are some of the best tricks:
- Enjoy a spoonful of sugar. The tiny grains of sugar irritate your esophagus, which is said to make your vagus relax the diaphragm.
- Swallow a spoonful of vinegar. Some families say the sour liquid does the trick. The vinegar's slight acidity may be the key.
- Drink hot sauce. Be careful with this one, but the stinging heat can focus your mind and relax your breathing.
- Drink a spoonful of honey. Just like honey soothes your throat when you have a cough, a bit of the sweet stuff will soothe your vagus nerve and stop the hiccups.
- Chew dill. Sunflower seeds or other small, crunchy foods will do the trick. The key is to find something that will tickle your throat as you eat it.
- Bite a lemon. Along with taking your mind off the hiccup problem, the full body cringe from eating something so sour is known to correct your hiccups.
- Eat crushed ice. Along with tickling your throat, the cool ice will soothe it, keeping your vocal cords from contracting so sharply.
- Stimulate the vagus nerve directly. It seems there are a handful of "pressure points" that can give you hiccup relief. Press lightly on your eyeballs, or pull gently on the tip of your tongue, and the nerve should stop the diaphragm contractions.
There are a number of medical conditions that cause hiccups, so if yours are long-lasting you may want to see a doctor.
The longest recorded case of hiccups was 68 years, and we're guessing that's not much fun.
If all else fails, the Tennessee College of Medicine won an award in 2006, after proving that a "digital rectal massage" would instantly cure hiccups.
Don't try that one at home.
What's your go-to hiccups cure?