how to stop hiccups without water
First aid and quick cures

How to stop hiccups without water

Hiccups come and go at their own free will, lasting within a few minutes. You never expect them, yet they happen often and can be extremely annoying while they last. In medical terms, a hiccup is when there is a sudden contraction of the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles which are located between the ribs. This spasm collides with the closed larynx and causes the hiccup sound and slight jerk.

For many people, drinking lots of water is a quick cure for hiccups, even though they don’t know how or if it works. Other people have come up with an endless list of tricks to get rid of them, from breathing into a paper bag (which may be fatal for few people according to a study) to eating a spoonful of sugar. Do these remedies work? We will examine if water stops hiccups in the first place and how to stop hiccups without water.

Causes of hiccups

Hiccups are usually caused by a wide variety of reasons but the most common are:

Swallowing air excessively (aerophagia).

Aerophagia is a condition in which people swallow large amounts of air without realizing it. It’s a common cause of bloating that’s often misdiagnosed as acid reflux, ulcers, gallstones, or bacterial overgrowth. Read more about aerophagia here

Gastroesophageal reflux.

This is a chronic disease that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows into the food pipe and irritates the lining. This study talks about how Gastroesophageal reflux causes hiccups

Hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which the upper part of your stomach bulges through an opening in your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is the thin muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. Your diaphragm helps keep acid from coming up into your esophagus.

Rapid eating

Anything that causes your stomach to become bigger than usual (distension) can trigger hiccups. Your stomach lies right underneath your diaphragm on your left side. It’s possible that distension triggers hiccups by pressing on or irritating your diaphragm. Unfortunately, rapid eating almost always distends your stomach.

Carbonated beverages, alcohol, dry breads, and some spicy foods, especially those containing pepper.

If you’re drinking something carbonated, like beer or champagne, that carbonation will expand your stomach. That expansion can irritate your diaphragm, the C-shaped muscle that sits above and around the stomach. Your diaphragm can contract involuntarily — that’s a hiccup. Chili peppers contain a chemical compound called capsaicin, which is part of a group of chemicals that give chilies their individual taste and heat profile. Capsaicin can activate neurons in the diaphragm, which contracts and causes hiccups.

Opiate drug use

 Yes, the side effects coming from opiate drug use can also induce hiccups. This study reveals so.

Tramadol-Induced Hiccups: A Report of Two Cases – NCBI

Laughing too much

When laughing, it is possible for excess air to become trapped in your stomach, causing it to distend and expand. This causes stomach acid to be pushed into the esophagus. The body protects itself by producing hiccups. Additionally, excessive buildup of air in the stomach causes acid reflux, which leads you to hiccup in much the same way you belch as a result of stomach acid buildup.

Hiccups may be triggered by a number of common human conditions. In rare cases, they can be a sign of serious medical problems.

Does water stop hiccups?

how to stop hiccups without water

No, there’s no scientific evidence that water stops hiccups, but in many cases, people have reported tremendous instant cure to their hiccups after drinking water.

Note that drinking water may help if the case is not too severe.

Cold water usually works in order to get rid of hiccups. Cold water helps in stopping the irritation caused in the diaphragm by various factors that cause hiccups and eventually helps in regularising normal movement. Quickly gulping down the cold water relaxes the momentum caused by the contractions in the diaphragm and relieves from the excessive amounts of spasms.

According to absopure, here are some of the best water drinking strategies to follow.

  • The Nose Pinch – Open a bottle of water or pour yourself a glass. With one hand, pinch the end of your nose. With the other, take a long, slow drink from the bottle or glass.
  • The Ear Plug – Place a long straw into your bottle or glass of water. Then, plug both your ears and take a drink.
  • The Deep Breath – Wait for a hiccup, and immediately inhale deeply for 5 seconds. Then, drink as much water as you can before slowly exhaling.
  • The Upside-Down – Safely get into a comfortable upside-down position. Then, carefully take a long drink of water.
  • The Head Tilt – Take a sip of water, but don’t swallow it right away. Instead, tilt your head as far back as you can, and carefully swallow your water.
  • The Rapid Fire – Drink your water by taking very small, quick sips. Make sure to drink the whole glass or bottle of water! Afterwards, take long, deep breaths.
  • The Spoonful of Sugar – Pour water into a glass and place two tablespoons of sugar inside. Then, slowly drink until your hiccups have subsided. The CO2 in the sugar dissolves some of the oxygen which causes hiccups.

Test out one or all of these water drinking strategies the next time you get hiccups, and see what works best for you!

How to stop hiccups without water

how to stop hiccups without water

Hiccups are normally waited out, as any fit of them will usually pass quickly. Folkloric ‘cures’ for hiccups are common and varied, but no effective standard for stopping hiccups has been documented.

There are two major approaches to treating or stopping hiccups.

The medical approach

This is done only in severe and persistent (termed “intractable”) cases.

Numerous medical remedies exist but no particular treatment is known to be especially effective, generally because of a paucity of high-quality evidence. Many drugs have been used, such as baclofenchlorpromazinemetoclopramidegabapentin, and various proton-pump inhibitors. Hiccups that are secondary to some other cause, like gastroesophageal reflux disease or esophageal webs, are dealt with by treating the underlying disorder. The phrenic nerve can be blocked temporarily with injection of 0.5% procaine, or permanently with bilateral phrenicotomy or other forms of surgical destruction. Even this rather drastic treatment does not cure some cases, however.

Haloperidolmetoclopramide, and chlorpromazine are used in cases of intractable hiccups. Effective treatment with sedatives often requires a dose that renders the person either unconscious or highly lethargic. Hence, medicating with sedatives is only appropriate short-term, as the affected individual cannot continue with normal life activities while under their effect.

vagus nerve stimulator has been used with an intractable case of hiccups. “It sends rhythmic bursts of electricity to the brain by way of the vagus nerve, which passes through the neck. The Food and Drug Administration approved the vagus nerve stimulator in 1997 as a way to control seizures in some patients with epilepsy.”[18]

Persistent digital rectal massage has also been proven effective in terminating intractable hiccups.

Home remedies approach for hiccups

Most home remedies are directed to achieving these two:

1. Cause the body to retain carbon dioxide, which is thought to relax the diaphragm and stop the spasms which cause the hiccups:

Hold your breath. Inhale a large gulp of air and hold it for about 10 to 20 seconds, then breathe out slowly. 

Breathe into a paper bag. Place a paper lunch bag over your mouth and nose. Slowly breathe in and out, deflating and inflating the bag. Never use a plastic bag.

Practice measured breathing. Disrupt your respiratory system with slow, measured breathing. Breathe in for a count of five and out for a count of five.

Hug your knees. Sit down in a comfortable place. Bring your knees to your chest and hold them there for two minutes.

2. Stimulate the nasopharynx and the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the stomach, and can decrease hiccupping:

Pull on your tongue. Pulling on your tongue stimulates the nerves and muscles in your throat. Grab the tip of your tongue and gently pull it forward once or twice.

Have someone frighten you. Also, hiccups often go away on their own when you stop focusing on them.

Bite on a lemon. Some people add a bit of salt to their lemon slice. Rinse out your mouth with water to protect your teeth from the citric acid.

Gargle with water

Drink from the opposite side of the glass. Tip the glass up under your chin to drink from the far side.

Use smelling salts

Place one-half teaspoon of dry sugar on the back of your tongue. (This process can be repeated three times at two-minute intervals.

Most hiccups will stop on their own. Home remedies are generally sufficient to resolve hiccupping.

QUICK RECAP

What causes hiccups

Swallowing air excessively (aerophagia).
Gastroesophageal reflux.
Hiatal hernia
Rapid eating
Carbonated beverages, alcohol, dry breads, and some spicy foods, especially those containing pepper.
Opiate drug use
Laughing too much

Does water stop hiccups?

No, there’s no scientific evidence that water stops hiccups, but in many cases, people have reported tremendous instant cure to their hiccups after drinking water.
Note that drinking water may help if the case is not too severe.
Cold water usually works in order to get rid of hiccups. Cold water helps in stopping the irritation caused in the diaphragm by various factors that cause hiccups and eventually helps in regularising normal movement. Quickly gulping down the cold water relaxes the momentum caused by the contractions in the diaphragm and relieves from the excessive amounts of spasms.

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