True or False: Some Hiccup Remedies Actually Work
by Jacquelyn Rudis
Hiccups are an annoying reflex that occurs when the diaphragm (the muscle wall between the chest and the abdomen) spasms involuntarily. Air suddenly rushing into the lungs causing the vocal cords to quickly close, thereby creating the “hic” noise. Hiccups may be triggered by certain foods, drinks, illnesses, or actions, but often occur and resolve spontaneously.
Scientists are not sure why we get the hiccups, and have conducted few studies to investigate the numerous home remedies suggested for hiccups. Although there is no sure way to get rid of hiccups, almost everyone has a favorite home remedy they are convinced is effective.
Most of the popular hiccup remedies presumably work by attempting to “distract” or stimulate the vagus nerve (which connects the brain to the abdomen) with another sensation. Others may work by interfering with the carbon dioxide levels in the blood, which also prompts the brain to focus on more important matters than hiccups.
In any event, most hiccup remedies take your mind off hiccupping, and some cynics think that in the time it takes for you to prepare and administer the remedy, the hiccups will have stopped on their own. Whatever the reason, many people swear by at least one of the following methods, not of which are well supported by scientific evidence:
Hiccup Prevention: Avoiding Digestive Disturbances
Hiccup Cure: Distraction or Disruptive Techniques
Remedies for Babies
Cures for persistent hiccups, which last for a few days or more, are more thoroughly researched than quick home remedies because unlike a normal case of hiccups, persistent hiccups can have serious health implications. Oftentimes a careful, gentle massage or stimulation of the patient’s soft palate or carotid artery in the neck will stop the hiccupping. Medications are also available for the persistent cases of hiccups that are usually associated with other serious conditions. Most commonly used medications include Metoclopramide , Chlorpromazine , Thorazine, Gabapentin and Baclofen .
There is also some evidence to suggest that acupuncture might be effective for hiccups as well.
Doctors rarely view a case of hiccups as a serious matter, as most either go away on their own or are “cured” by home remedies. So if your own personal method seems to do the trick, stick with it!
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