Ultimate Hicup Cure

This works every time. Sit on a chair. Take a sip of
water…don’t swallow. Put your head between your
legs (or as far down as you can - just so your head is
almost upside down). Then swallow. Do this three times
in a row. And whala…GONE!

I presume that this is in reference to the classic column What are hiccups and why do we get them?? When you’re commenting on a column by Cecil or the staff, it’s considered polite to include a link to the column, especially when it’s from a while age, so we all know what you’re talking about.

Oh, and welcome to the Straight Dope!

A technique that my father taught me, and that has generally worked for me for eating-related hiccups, is:

While holding your breath, take nine or ten gulps of water.

This has almost always worked for me to clear an esophageal bolus, and 100% of the time in other cases.

I skip the water part and just hold my breath.

Those all involve holding your breath, and the idea that a buildup of CO2 relaxes the muscle. However, any bartender worth his salt will tell you the a wedge of lemon soaked in Angostura bitters is absolutley guaranteed to work.

Actually, as far as I’m concerned, any hypothetical buildup of CO2 has nothing to do with it. It’s a question of forcing the esophagus into “swallow” mode, which holding the breath seems to encourage. (Note that this involves a phenomenon unique, if I recall aright, to Homo sapiens, which may have something to do with the origins of the problematic hiccup reflex.)

AFAIK, holding ones breath does it best, but it´s important to breathe out and then hold your breath, because hicups are caused by too much air inside you.

The ultimate cure is to inject 100-200 grains of copper-jacketed lead into the base of the brain at 600-800 fps. This does, however, have undesirable side effects.

Akatsukami, while no one enjoys a good joke more than I (except for my wife, and my commanding officer; come to think of it, almost everyone enjoys a good joke more than I! - Thank you Graham Chapman), I think that at the SDMB we prefer to avoid posts that mention shooting someone in the head. Thank you very much.

Cream pies in the face, however, are acceptable and even commendable.

moderator, «Comments on Cecil’s Columns» **

The only sure fire way I have found to cure them is to eat a packet or spoon full of sugar. Clears em up immediately. Forgot where I learned this, but works a lot better than holding your breath.

Spoonful of sugar? You obviously learned that from Mary Poppins.

When you swallow, There’s a muscle that closes the trachea to keep stuff out of the lungs. It’s down at the base of the neck and you can feel it close when you swallow. As far as I can tell, a hiccup is a periodic spasm in that muscle (anyone know the name of it?).

What I do for hiccups is to swallow and then deliberately hold that muscle in the closed position. This takes some practice, as it normally relaxes after you swallow and it’s not normally under voluntary control. But it can be done. I try to hold it in that position through the period that the next hiccup would normally happen. This cures the hiccups about 95% of the time, and for the times it doesn’t, the second time always works.

Why it works, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s interrupting the spasm cycle. Or maybe it’s exhausting the muscle so it doesn’t spasm anymore.

Re hiccups and how to cure them (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_118.html) – there was an exchange of letters to the editor over several months in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) about 6-8 years ago on this. I recall that a few people looked into the various claims, and found that only one technique actually worked (according to small informal studies): a teaspoonful of granulated sugar. You have to swallow it before it completely dissolves in your saliva. Something about the combination of sweetness and the granularity on the back of the tongue… In a small study this worked about 80% of the time (in the study, the number of subjects was ~40, as I recall). I don’t think there was a direct comparison with other methods, but according to the authors, other methods were significantly less reliable. Sugar works for me, at any rate, pretty consistently.

Peter M. Brigham, MD

My hiccup cure always works, if done properly. I simply hold my breath. However, I must try to exhale, thus exerting pressure on the mechanism used to close my throat. Also, I cannot move significantly during this procedure. Excess movement causes me to hiccup while I’m holding my breath. Finally, I cannot let my breath out too quickly once I feel the hiccups have stopped. Now that I’m writing this all out, it doesn’t seem like a good solution. Perhaps I’ll try pmbrig’s suggestion.

Smoking a doobie…and I have a site to cite.


More research is needed. Volunteers, anyone?

The only thing I’ve found that seems to work for me consistently is to drink a carbonated drink. I don’t know whether the sugar content or the carbonation (or the combination of the two) that does the trick, but it works every time.

My $.02,

Drinking carbonated beverages are what give me the hiccups in the first place. Without fail. EVERY TIME.

Granted, I have chronic hiccups, and have since the womb.

Try undiluted Peppermint Cordial. Works great for heartburn too. This tip was passed on to me by an old barman after a long drinking session, ending in loud & embarrassing hiccups. They must’ve been bad - the peppermint was “on the house” !!