How to Cure Hiccups

Six Methods:Eating and Drinking (Easy Methods)Breathing and SwallowingMoving AroundCuring Hiccups with Everyday ObjectsPseudoscientificDealing with Long-Term Hiccups

While a doctor might claim that all hiccup "cures" are really just old wives' tales that have zero effect, other people claim that their favorite pet cure works every time. Interestingly, some of these folk remedies are on the correct path by having at least some basis in the science of breathing. What method you choose (and boy, are there plenty) is up to you, but if it doesn't work, by golly, one of them should. Here's a roughly definitive list to get you started.

Method 1
Eating and Drinking (Easy Methods)

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    Drink a glass of water through a straw. Fill a straw cup with water, plug your ears with your fingers and gulp down the water. No one really knows why this works, but it's kind of like you are 'swallowing down' your hiccup. This method tends to work best (meaning it only takes a few gulps to work) on young people and children, while adults may have to try it a few times.
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    Use two straws instead of one. Get a glass of water and two straws. Put one straw inside the glass as usual and the other straw pressed up against the side of the glass on the outside. Put both straws in your mouth at once, drink the water like you would normally, taking as big of gulps as possible.
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    Drink without using your hands. Put a cup of water on a chair, and sit on another chair in front of it. Bend down and drink as much of it as possible without using your hands to touch, hold, or tilt the glass.
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    Drink upside down. Fill a regular glass or plastic cup with water halfway full. Then, either lie upside down (over the side of your bed or couch, for example) or bend at the waist. Take a gulp or two of water (don't spill) and straighten out. If they're not gone, drink a bit more (also upside down). Like a charm!
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    Eat something sweet. Overloading the nerve endings in the mouth with a sweet sensation may do the trick. Have a teaspoonful of sugar, the sugar overload will pack the most punch. This has not been proven to be the best method though so think about trying it as a last resort if you are desperate.
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    Bite into a lemon wedge. Bite into the wedge, sucking in the juice. Sugar may be added to the lemon to ease the taste.
    • The taste elicits a similar reaction as to someone scaring you. It's your body's way of going oh my goodness when it tastes the lemon.
    • Place 4 or 5 drops of Angostura Bitters on a lemon wedge, if you want to play bartender. This helps the taste and some people think it works more effectively.
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    Get out the pickle juice or vinegar. Drink about a half a teaspoon of either every 7-10 seconds until your hiccups stop. Don't like pickle juice or vinegar? Well, hey, that's even more motivation!
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    Take a spoonful of sugar. Not only does it make the medicine go down, but it could get rid of your hiccups too. Take a spoon and fill it with brown sugar (or honey), holding the spoon in your mouth for five seconds. Swallow and take a sip of water.
    • If this doesn't work straight away, it's not advisable to ingest spoonful after spoonful of sugar. Switch methods if you need.
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    Eat a spoonful of peanut butter. Get a big tablespoon of peanut butter and put it in your mouth and hold it for 5-10 seconds. Then, swallow the peanut butter without chewing. The saliva should've broken down the peanut butter a bit, making it easier to swallow.
    • Alternatively you can use Almond Butter or Nutella. Anything with a sticky gooey consistency similar to peanut butter will do.
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    Eat a little bit of salt. Swallow 1 teaspoon (5 g) of salt, followed by a small sip of water. Make sure to follow it up with slow breaths, staying relaxed.
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    Take a deep breath, and then sip a glass of water before letting it out. Make sure you are not drinking other beverages than water because it doesn't work as effectively as water. This may not always work.

Method 2
Breathing and Swallowing

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    Breathe in as much as you can. Without letting any air out, swallow. If you can breathe in a bit more, do so. Keep swallowing and inhaling until you can't swallow or inhale any longer.
    • When you absolutely can't swallow anymore, exhale all the way in a controlled fashion. Your breath should be reset.
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    Try the open-mouthed swallowing method. Open your mouth and keep it open for a couple of minutes. If you feel the need to swallow, do so, but try to keep your lips apart when you do.
    • Keep gulping every few seconds, especially when you feel a hiccup might be coming. A couple of hiccups might escape, but with continuous gulping, hiccups should be gone within 3 minutes.
    • Make sure you are not wearing anything tight around your chest. If you are, loosen it.
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    Imagine breathing in a figure eight. As the out-breath reaches the end, slow the breath and twist it around so that it becomes the in-breath. Then simply create a figure eight of continuous breath.
    • The hiccups will subside almost immediately. It usually works within 10 cycles.
    • Another way to visualize this is to inhale as much as you can hold, then exhale all but a small amount of air. Continue doing this for 15-20 seconds, or until the hiccups have gone.
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    Try to stretch your diaphragm. Slowly breathe in until you feel like you can't inhale any more, trying to get a feel for extending the breath down towards your abdomen. You are trying to stretch your diaphragm to interrupt the hiccups.
    • Hold your breath for 30 seconds. Exhale slowly until your lungs are empty. Repeat 4 to 5 times or until you feel better.
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    Use your tongue and ears. Inhale and exhale once slowly. As you exhale, push as much air out as possible (until your body forces you to inhale again). Then, inhale deeply and stick out your tongue. Hold your breath and your nose for 40 seconds with your fingers in your ears.
    • Exhale slowly. If you feel as if it is not going to work, try again. After all, 3 times is the charm.
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    Simulate breathing. Take a deep breath and hold it. While doing so, plug your nose and close your mouth. Now begin to move your diaphragm as if you were breathing in and out rapidly.
    • Exhale once the hiccups disappear or you need more air. Repeat if hiccups persist.

Method 3
Moving Around

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    Employ the rotation method. First, pinch your nose together. Then, spin around in a clockwise direction, while singing "Row, row, row, your boat."
    • Continue this until you've sang the song 5 times. Once you've finished with that, immediately begin spinning around in a counterclockwise direction while singing "Mary had a little lamb." Singing the songs is for timing as well as inhaling as well as exhaling in a powerful manner.
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    Alert your body. Lie down for a long period of time. Then, stand up suddenly. That is, if that's not how you got the hiccups in the first place!
    • If this doesn't work, stand up for a long period of time and lie down quickly instead.
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    Try the flight attendant method. Find a straight-backed chair and sit down with your back fully pressed into the back of the chair. Slowly bend over in the tuck position with your arms crossed over your body - the same way you would when instructed by an airline stewardess to "get in the crash position." Do this until you feel slightly uncomfortable.
    • Slowly squeeze your arms and try to squeeze your body and hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds, and release. Slowly sit back up and repeat if necessary.
      • This is not advised for those with back problems.
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    Get burping. Swallow air until you burp. Eventually, that air will want to come up in the form of a burp. It should reset your vagus nerve, ending your hiccups.
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    Try coughing. Count the number of seconds between hiccups. Around the time a hiccup should be coming up, or when you feel it coming up, cough loudly and/or scream! Repeat 3 or 4 times, if necessary.
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    Stop the airflow at your neck. To do this, breathe inwards quickly until you cannot do so anymore. Then, look downwards so your neck is bent. Stay like this for 10-20 seconds, forcing the air downwards.
    • Return to normal position, and think of the air staying down in your lungs. This disrupts the hiccup cycle, and you will no longer have hiccups!
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    Ask a friend to tickle you. If you're ticklish, that is. The sensation will totally distract you from your hiccups and you'll forget all about it -- especially if the person doesn't stop! Not cool.
    • They may have to do this for 30 seconds or longer. Can you tolerate it? If not, just have them scare you. But it's got to be good! You have to be legitimately surprised, so you gasp and reset your breathing pattern.
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    Put your earlobes to good use. About time, right?! What are they there for anyway? Drink a normal-sized gulp of water, but don't swallow! Leave the water in your mouth. Then, pull down both your earlobes and tilt your head back. Swallow and tada! Hiccups, vamoose!
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    Close everything. Place your thumbs on the little flap in front of the ear canal (called the tragus) and press inward, closing the canal. Then, close your nose with your pinkie fingers. Finally, close your eyes, then take a deep breath and hold it as long as possible.
    • Try to breathe normally after coming out of the exercise. The natural reaction is to breathe hard or pant, resetting your breath.
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    Start stretching. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Lock one thumb in the palm of your other hand with fingertips outstretched. Then, lift your chin, look up and stretch your arms over your head (reaching for the sky). Pull your abs in as if trying to let your pants fall off your hips and breathe deeply several times.
    • If you don't have hiccups, this may induce yawning.
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    Breathe using a singer's breathing support (Mezza di voce). Hiccups are caused by temporary muscle contractions of the diaphragm, so if you can manage to maintain a balance between the contraction and the expansion of your diaphragm, you can cure the hiccups.
    • Slowly breathe in.
    • Then slowly breathe out on 'Si' ,following a gradual crescendo and diminuendo, while sustaining the breath flow (namely, it starts from a quiet volume, gradually and smoothly made louder until it reaches a high volume, then similarly made quiet again). Done.

Method 4
Curing Hiccups with Everyday Objects

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    Get a pencil and bite down on it. It should be sitting horizontally between your teeth. Then, drink a glass of water with the pencil still in your mouth. Easier said than done, huh?
    • Drink as much of the water as you can without the pencil falling out. You do not have to drink the whole glass, just a couple sips will do.
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    Use bargaining tactics. If you're friends with someone with a case of hiccups, wait until they hiccup. Tell him or her you will pay them $20 for a hiccup right now. They'll most likely find they aren't able to do it, both curing them of hiccups and saving you $20, or at worst giving them money as consolation for not being able to stop.
    • This is a situation where it's appropriate to renege. Unless the hiccups hurt, in which case you should at least give them a hug.
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    Try the toothpick method. All you have to do is break a toothpick in half and place half in a glass of water. Drink the water slowly while watching the half toothpick (and not swallowing it). For some reason, the concentration while drinking keeps you from hiccuping.
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    Get out the brown paper bag. Experts say breathing into a paper bag increases the amount of carbon dioxide you're taking in, forcing your body to get rid of it instead of lapping in the luxury of producing hiccups. When your body has other things (much, much more important things) to do, your hiccups will subside.[1]
    • Breathe slowly and deeply! The last thing you want is to hyperventilate on top of having hiccups. What a hot mess you'd be.
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    Whip out the paper towels. Try getting a glass of water and putting a napkin/paper towel over the cup. Now drink the water through the paper towel until the water is gone. The idea is that it takes more suction from you to get out the water, forcing your inner bits to work harder, abandoning the hiccups.

Method 5

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    Try a method that has been called the "African Way".
    • Wet the back of a piece of paper.
    • Put it on the forehead of the patient. Hiccups should stop.
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    Try the "middle name" method.
    • Ask the patient for their middle name. Do not tell him why you want to know it.
    • Ask him to spell it.
    • Say, "Your hiccups are gone." If it worked they will be gone immediately.

Method 6
Dealing with Long-Term Hiccups

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    See a doctor if the hiccups haven't gone away after 48 hours. A number of prescription medications can be used for treatment of hiccups. These include:
    • Chlorpromazine (marketed under the name Thorazine) - This is the one of the most widely-used medications for hiccups, and it is suitable for short-term therapy.
    • Metoclopramide (marketed under the name Reglan) - This is a drug most commonly used to help the stomach empty, but it works for hiccups as well.
    • Baclofen - This is a muscle relaxant which can treat hiccups.
    • Other less commonly used drugs include anti-seizure medications, amitriptyline, stimulants, and anti-arrythmic drugs.
      • Two days is nothing. Charles Osborne, from the great, great Hawkeye state of Iowa had them for 68 years. He died a year after they went away.[2] Maybe they were keeping him alive?
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    Eat slower. For some reason, not chewing our food well enough can lead to hiccups. The theory behind it is that air gets trapped between pieces of the food, gets swallowed, and results in the nasty side effect. Eating more slowly means you'll chew more, eliminating the possibility.
    • Eating slow can also help your waistline. Hey, that's killing two birds with one stone![1]
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    Eat and drink in moderation. Some scientists (and moms) believe that eating too much and getting the hiccups is the body's way of saying, "Stop! I need time to process." If you find that you often get hiccups after a meal, considering eating less (eating more slowly will help with that, too).
    • Same goes for drinking. If you drink too much, the esophagus gets irritated and is forced to expand. Neither of those are good things for you or your body. And just like spicy foods, alcohol irritates your esophageal lining, so it's best to keep moderation in mind.[1]


  • If you have your mouth open, you may hiccup quite loudly. If you're in public, this may not be the ideal method to choose.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Try pinching your nose and swallowing three times. It's not as easy as it sounds, but it does the trick!
  • Don't drink the water too fast or you'll get a stomach ache.
  • Try taking 6 or 7 sips of water without breathing.
  • Take five sips of water then breath in 5 times with swallowing.
  • Try taking your mind off of the hiccups and occupying yourself. This can sometimes get rid of the hiccups without you even noticing!
  • Try getting a small gulp of water, not swallowing, and tugging gently at your earlobes. Some people say this works very quickly.
  • Take huge gulps of water and hold your breath while pinching your nose for 10 seconds then swallow.
  • Try eating a tablespoon of honey.
  • Remember to relax! Hiccups can be partly psychological, so the most effective method will likely be the method that you suppose will be the most effective, as long as you believe that deeply. Keep a positive attitude and breathe deeply.
  • Try eating white part of the bread with something and chew it 8 to 13 times and swallow big pieces after that suddenly drink some water and hiccups will be stopped suddenly.
  • It's all right to breathe between swallows, but structure the breaths as "inhale, gulp, exhale, gulp," and so on.
  • Try to hold your breath for a minute or two.
  • Take a deep breath & keep swallowing until you run out of breath.
  • Drink one cup of water quickly without stopping for a breath.
  • Drink water and hold your breath for precisely seven seconds.
  • Cup your hands and cover your mouth and nose with both cupped hands and breath normally.
  • Try finishing a half glass of water (or less) by gulping a little of water quickly for 9-12 times in a row.
  • Close your mouth and breathe using your nose and try to drink a lot of sips of water once the hiccups come.
  • Try holding your breath for a minute or so. Do not hold your breath longer than one minute; it is bad for your health.
  • Hiccups are caused by spasms of the diaphragm, the muscles under our lungs that control our breathing. Just like any muscle spasm it's best controlled by slow, even stretching of the muscle.
  • There is no 100%-guaranteed cure for the hiccups. If nothing else works, just wait it out.
  • Let someone frighten you.


  • If you swallow too much air, you might get a slight stomach ache. It will go away as you will eventually burp.
  • Extremely prolonged hiccups could have an underlying cause and you should see your doctor. They may give you a blood test and/or an ultrasound. Causes could include bacteria or liver failure (other symptoms may appear), so always get yourself checked by your doctor if they seem abnormal.

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