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Tips on Getting Rid of the Hiccups

Updated on July 30, 2010

Have you ever started hiccuping just when you were about to meet a new business colleague, make an important presentation at a meeting, or engage in a serious conversation with an acquaintance? Wasn't it embarrassing and very distracting, to say the least? All you were able to think about was getting rid of the hiccups pronto, right? So what is a hiccup and how do you get rid of hiccups?


Hiccups occur when your diaphragm, which is the muscle just under your lungs, starts to spasm uncontrollably. Each spasm forces a quick intake of breath, which makes a hiccup.

The Book of 1,001 Home Health Remedies suggests massaging your earlobes to get rid of hiccups. Huh? Massage my earlobes? I know, it sounds crazy, but a lot of people claim that it works. There is no known connection, but the "hiccup control center" is close to your ear in the upper part of the spinal column at the back of your neck.

If massaging your earlobes doesn't stop those hiccups and you happen to be close to your kitchen, try swallowing a spoonful of granulated sugar. The sugar supposedly triggers some sort of nerve impulse in your mouth that somehow helps to calm down the spasms in your diaphragm which is causing the problem. Some people have even reported relief just from holding the sugar in their mouths until it dissolves.

If the earlobes and sugar tricks don't work, try these age-old hiccup "home remedies" that many people swear by:

  • Hold your breath for as long as you can, and swallow each time you feel the urge to hiccup. Do this several times, and the hiccups should stop.
  • Sit on the floor and pull your knees up to your chest. Wrap your arms around your knees and squeeze. Hold it for a moment, then relax. The compression of your chest forces all the air out of your lungs which is kind of like holding your breath after exhaling.
  • Breathe for about a minute into a paper bag gathered tightly around your mouth. The buildup of carbon dioxide supposedly makes the hiccups stop. But do this for only a minute at most as you could suffocate.
  • Drink water upside-down. Get a small glass of water, bend over, hold your breath and drink. The hiccups should have stopped by the time you finish drinking the water, stand up and let out your breath.
  • Chug a glass of water as quickly as you can without breathing.
  • Swallow some crushed ice. Ice is frozen water, so I guess it has the same effect as water.
  • Eat some dry bread. I have no idea why.
  • Yank or gently pull at your tongue. Just don't rip it out as hiccups will become the least of your problems.
  • Tickle the top of your mouth with a cotton swab. Just as crazy as massaging your earlobes but many people swear that it works.
  • Gently massage your eyes through closed eyelids. Others say simply putting mild pressure on your closed eyes works just as well. If I massage my earlobes and closed eyes at the same time, will it make the hiccups go away faster?
  • Stick your thumb inside your mouth between your teeth and upper lip. Pinch inward with your index finger, pressing just below the right nostril. Okay, now this will just make you look silly.
  • Gargle with some mouthwash. It'll give you fresh breath as well as get rid of those pesky hiccups. Just be careful not to hiccup and accidentally swallow the mouthwash!


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    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 6 years ago from Georgia

      The drink water upside down trick works for me every time! Thanks for an informative article.

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I didn't know there was such a thing as "chronic hiccups". Hehe... Thanks for the addition of one more hiccup remedy. :)

    • kids-toy-box profile image

      kids-toy-box 7 years ago

      Useful tips for a chronic hicupper like me! One remedy not listed is to get the person to think about something else. Ask them a 'What did you do last weekend?'... this seems to work on me so I recommend it:)

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Haha... two remedies are better than one, huh, sirrot? But I have to admit, a lot of these hiccup home remedies do seem pretty crazy. Hehe. Thanks, Sa'ge and KofeeKlatch Gals. :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      What an interesting choice for a hub. I never heard of massaging your ear lobes to stop hiccups. I am impressed by the number of remedies you have. Great hub.

    • Sa`ge profile image

      Sa`ge 7 years ago from Barefoot Island

      good info here. thanks!~aloha~