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10 Ways to Get Rid of Annoying Hiccups Fast

Updated on December 7, 2018
ChristinS profile image

I've had a long history with this annoying affliction. After many years, I've learned what works and what doesn't to get ride of my hiccups.

10 Ways to rid yourself of hiccups
10 Ways to rid yourself of hiccups | Source

Don't you hate it when you get a case of the hiccups that just won't go away? If you can catch it right away after the first one, they seem to be easier to deal with—but if that second one comes dread sets in because you know you're about to have a fight on your hands.

The spasms that cause them are soon out of control, and before you know it you are frustrated, perhaps saying a few choice words, and trying everything under the sun to just make it stop. Gallons of water, paper bags, hopping up and down while patting your head and rubbing your stomach, throwing yourself down the stairs – whatever it takes, just make them go away! Well, ok, so maybe not that extreme – but the desire to make them stop is sometimes strong enough that you might be tempted if you thought such things would work.

I have a long history with this annoying affliction. I used to get them several times a week as a kid. As an adult I still find I get them every couple of months or so, but I have learned now what works and what doesn't when it comes to getting rid of them. Some things work better than others of course.

Why do we Get Hiccups?

There are many speculations, and not a lot of consensus - in medical terminology it means no one really knows for sure and there are multiple possible causes.

I'm no expert, but this is what I think contributes to mine. Every person is different though...

I have come to the conclusion that I am more likely to get hiccups when I am dehydrated or thirsty. Why? I have no idea and no scientific proof, but I have learned after nearly 40 years on this planet, that when I get them, it's usually during a time frame where I haven't had water for awhile. I also have a hiatal hernia, inherited from my mother's side of the family, that I suspect (but can't prove) may make me more prone to the embarrassing, painful esophageal spasms from hell, so innocently referred to as “hiccups”. I know that most of the time when I get them now, I am awakened by them in the middle of the night. Again, not sure why—but, if you think hiccups are annoying midday, try waking up with a violent case of them at 3 in the morning.

So, having had a vast amount of experience with them over the years, and no way to know what exactly triggers them, I have obviously worked through my share of old wives' tales, home remedies, and probably a few things people just made up to see if I'd be stupid enough to try.

1. Spoonful of Sugar

Swallow a spoonful of sugar. This was my grandma's favorite remedy when I was growing up. What a great treatment to give a kid right? Shove a spoonful of sugar straight into them and when it didn't work the first time, do it again—and then send them home with their grateful parents to burn off the sugar buzz.

This trick, surprisingly, did work a lot of the time. It wasn't the sugar itself of course, but the act of swallowing something that hard to swallow that stopped the spasms. You could probably achieve the same with sawdust, salt or powdered chalk, but the sugar at least tastes good and won't kill you. Some use peanut butter as an alternative.

2. Warm and Fizzy Drinks

Drink 7-Up. This was another grandma trick. She was diabetic and always had diet 7-Up in the cabinet. Drinking a few big gulps of warm soda would of course make you burp, which in many instances would in fact cure the hiccups.

Warm soda seems to work faster and better than a cold fizzy beverage. Ginger ale could be a good trick too. White soda or ginger ale have the added benefit of soothing the stomach if your hiccups were induced by overeating before bed.

3. Brown Paper Bag

Breathe in a paper bag. I am not sure this works well at all. It never did for me personally, but I did have a friend who would get hiccups when nervous (i.e., hyperventilating due to anxiety) The breathing into the bag did seem to help both the anxiety and the hiccups. My hiccups were never due to panic though, so it didn't work for me.

Of course, if this doesn't work there is always the option of having someone blow up and pop the bag to scare the hell out of you. Of course, people trying to scare hiccups out of me never worked—it only ended up scaring them when I started chasing them around the room with sharp objects for sneaking up on me in the middle of the night!

4. Backwards Drinking

Drink from the wrong side of the glass. This trick works due to the contortions you have to perform to get yourself into the position to do this without dropping the water all over yourself. The counter-pressure is what actually gets rid of the hiccups. It does work, but so does drinking water the regular way IF you know how to do it. If you try the wrong side of the glass trick, bend far over the sink as you do it and only fill the glass half or less full. It does work, though!

5. Drinking Water the RIGHT way

Drink water the regular way, but do it right. Okay, so chugging down a gallon of water by itself is really not going to help do anything but fill your bladder and send you running for the toilet, while still continuing to hiccup.

The water trick is all in how you do it. Wait until just after a hiccup, take a deep breath in and fill the lungs, then drink taking short little gulps and swallowing really hard while holding your breath or breathing out for as long as you can. This often gets rid of them without another hiccup. When you've drank/held your breath as long as possible release. Wait. If another hiccup comes repeat. With this method you usually don't have to down nearly as much water—it's a combination of the holding of breath, expansion of the diaphragm and the force of the swallowing that ends the spasms.

6. Breathing

Breathing techniques. Sometimes if I catch them after the first one I can use a breathing technique that works very well for me. As soon as I hiccup, I exhale the air completely out of my lungs, empty them fully until you can't force anymore air out. Then slowly breathe in and fill the lungs all the way up, hold for five seconds then force the air out like you're blowing out a candle. I'll do this once or twice and usually no more hiccups. If they persist though, then I move on to the water trick above.

7. Stimulate the Vegas Nerve

Massage the roof of your mouth with a Q-tip (or other clean, soft object). This can work if you don't have a strong gag reflex. Massaging the back of the roof of the mouth stimulates the vagus nerve, which in turn stops the spasms of the diaphragm that cause hiccups. Do this while sticking out your tongue.

Yes, you'll look like an idiot, but your hiccups will stop. You may not want to do this one in public though or people may look at you strangely. (Don't ask me how I know. I was desperate!)

8. Coughing

I tried the coughing method, and I don't think it works—but perhaps it was just because I got the timing wrong and was not patient enough to try again and went for the water.

The idea is that you count between hiccups, to get an idea how far apart the spasms are. Before the next hiccup comes, you force yourself to cough really hard. In theory, I thought perhaps it could work though so I am sharing it here.

If you are in a public place with no access to water or desire to look stupid touching something to the roof of your mouth while sticking your tongue out, this may be a trick that would work in a pinch.

9. Eat Something Sour

I have heard that drinking a teaspoon of vinegar or sucking the juice right out of a lemon will work. Basically it's the same premise as “startling” someone. It is a shock that interrupts the brain signal that is triggering the spasms.

I have not been desperate enough to put straight vinegar in my mouth because—yeah, ew. I have also never had the pleasure of having a lemon nearby to bite into, although I would try that before vinegar. I know some who swear by these tricks though, but I will personally take a pass!

10. Open-Mouth Swallowing

Last but not least, swallow with your mouth open. This is not as easy as it sounds, but it can work. It can also cause you to drool all over yourself, too. Open your mouth and hold it until the urge to swallow kicks in and then do so without closing your mouth. This somehow moves the muscles in such a way that it stops the hiccup spasms.

I am not coordinated enough for this approach to work for me, however, and I don't like the idea of walking around with my mouth hanging open for any length of time.

Summing Up

So, there you have it—10 fantastic tricks to try the next time hiccups trip you up.

Do you have any strange or unusual things you tried that worked? Feel free to share in the comments!

© 2013 Christin Sander


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    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      2 years ago from Midwest

      You're welcome Jeff, glad they stopped for you :)

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I was having nonstop hiccups after anesthesia. The 7up really helped!

      Thank you

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      3 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Sheila for the read and comment - so glad you found a trick that worked for you :)

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      That trick with the knife in the glass really worked. My boyfriend who is extremely sceptical actually was desperate enough to give it a try and bingo!!! It worked immediately to his great shock and gratitude. This one should be added to the "yes, it works" list. Thank you for taking the time to share.

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      3 years ago from Midwest

      Paula this is definitely one I haven't heard of and it's just so quirky I believe you when you say it works :) It seems to me that your logic with throat positioning would be the most likely reason. Fun, :) Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      LOL! Hiccups! I HATE them! All of these remedies sound good and have probably worked a few times for several people. I didn't notice the one method I learned about 20 years I'll share it.

      Honestly, I do not know how or why this works....but Scout's works like a charm EVERY time for not only me, but people I've shared it with. No kidding. No exaggeration.

      Take a regular size drinking glass & fill it halfway with water. Then place a butter knife in the glass, spreading side down, handle up. (the handle should be totally outside the rim of the glass.) Now put the glass up to your mouth and balance the handle on your nose, from the bridge of your nose down. Then while keeping this handle on your nose, swallow all the water. DONE! The hiccups will be gone.

      My sister and I have reasoned that it must be due to the "position" our throat is in while balancing the knife as we swallow. Can't think of another logical reason. Next time you get the hiccups, try it! I promise it works! Interesting & helpful hub, Christin! The next time I have the hiccups I will think of you! LOL....UP+++tweeted & pinned.

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      3 years ago from Midwest

      I've never heard of orange juice Patty - is it something in the juice itself? or just the process of drinking? :) thanks for the tip.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Like others on here, I seem to get the hiccups in batches, and they are pretty violent. As a little girl, my grandmother taught me to take a few sips of orange juice. This is fail proof for me. Magical!

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Jessie, good luck with the hiccups and happy birthday.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Ive tried to hold my breath but they keep coming I have had them the entire day and im only 13. Ill try the ginger ale warm soda I just bought some for my Bday party techniacally turning 13 on the 5th awesome advice thank you

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      Sue, thanks so much for pinning/sharing :) I do the same thing, I'll get them more than once in a day. Wonder why that is? hmmm

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      Wow Crafty, that is so unfortunate. I have no idea what would cause spasms that severe, unless maybe an underlying health condition triggered them. I'm very sorry for your loss.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image


      5 years ago

      We could have sure used this years ago. My great-grandfather passed away after having hiccups 9 straight days in a row! No one ever figured out what caused them.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Some of these I have never heard of. I intend to try the swallowing with the mouth open trick even if I do look like a trout gasping for air! I too suffer with painful hiccups fairly regularly. Usually once I've had a session I tend to get another later that same day. Voted up, shared and pinned.

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      Sorry for your hiccups! Thanks for reading and commenting Londonlady, maybe next time :)

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 

      5 years ago

      I should have read this a couple hours earlier! Haha, I had them for a good 10 minutes. Great hub

    • livingsta profile image


      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      A very important and useful hub for me. I sometimes get these hiccups that last for a long time. I have tried the breathing exercise and it rarely helps. Other than that, I try gulping down water, and that too is a rare chance. Now that you have shared a few remedies, I will try one or a few of these. Thank you for sharing this with us. Voted up and sharing!

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      Awesome story Billie! My mother and I both attended Catholic schools. The nuns I encountered were not very scary, but some of the ones my mother had to deal with were a lot like this lady :) They commanded fear and respect just by their presence lol. I can certainly see a few of them curing hiccups via distraction/fear.

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      Most amazing "demonstration" I ever saw:

      Teri (I even remember her name) in sophomore Biology Class was hiccoughing all through Sister Mary Agnes' lecture. Finally, Sister Mary Agnes said, "Teri, I can cure your hiccoughs. Are you willing to let me try?" With apparent trepidation, Teri answer a reluctant, "Yes, sister."

      "First," said SMA, "Go close the back door." Now ALL of us had trepidation! As Teri went to close the back door, glancing back warily at SMA all the while, SMA went to close the front door. Teri came back to her desk seemingly terrified at what might happen next. But as she still stood beside it, Sister Mary Agnes simply asked, "Are your hiccoughs gone?" Each girl sitting sat in open-mouthed wonder. Before we started a petition for her canonization, Sister Mary Agnes explained in very biological terms that the distraction caused the cessation of the spasm. I've tried this distraction method many times throughout my life and it has worked beautifully, even if I've tried it on the same person before. (T0o bad Sister Mary Agnes wasn't consulting for the few incidences back in the 50's that I had heard of where one or two people actually DIED because the hiccoughs couldn't be stopped.)

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      I can sympathize with the painful ones - I get them like that too. Fortunately I usually can rid myself of them fairly quickly. I agree that hiccups that don't go away can certainly point to bigger health problems. I was not aware they were a heart attack symptom in women - that is very good to know, thank you for sharing!

    • just helen profile image

      just helen 

      5 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      I get terrible hiccups that sound more like a belch! They are actually painful. Once I had hiccups for 3 days continuously whilst we were staying in France with a friend. It was SO embarrassing!

      A word of caution though - persistent hiccups in women can be a sign of a heart attack, so get them checked out if you can't get rid of them!

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      How nice for you :) I wish I could rid myself of them so easily! Thanks for reading and commenting :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I just hold my breath for 10 seconds. Works every time.

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      Isn't it interesting how certain things work for one person and never work for another? Especially since hiccups are essentially the same kind of spasm. Sugar does indeed work, although I'm not a fan of swallowing a spoonful of it at a time :)

    • ChristinS profile imageAUTHOR

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      That's good holding your breath works for you. For some reason doing that alone never seems to work for me, I have to drink water or something else to get them to stop while also holding my breath.

    • johnsonrallen profile image

      Robert Allen Johnson 

      5 years ago from Fort Wayne, IN

      The trick I've used the last 20 years or so is holding my breath. I have to do it for more than 30 seconds but it works every time.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      These are great suggestions. Water-drunk correctly or incorrectly-never worked for me, however the sugar method works 9 times out of 10. I don't get them often (thankfully) but these are good tips for someone to try when they do!


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