Recurring hiccups
November 13, 2005 7:04 PM   Subscribe

My husband got quite tipsy last night and has suffered from recurring hiccups all day today. The conventional cures work temporarily, but the hiccups only come back a couple of hours later. Can we excise the demons once and for all?
posted by kirstin to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This has always worked for me:

Lay flat on your back on a bed or a table allowing roughly the top half of your body to hang off the edge. Lay there for 30 seconds and then attempt to take a sip of water. Repeat as necessary. And feel free to laugh your ass off.
posted by ryanhealy at 7:15 PM on November 13, 2005

I find trying to go for the biggest hiccup ever makes 'em go away, usually. You've got to keep it up for about half a minute.
posted by scruss at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2005

Perhaps he should have a few beers.

As for hiccups, drinking out of the opposite side of a glass, not the side facing your lips, the other side, has usually worked for me. I don't know why. Who knows whether it works for this kind of hiccups.

Get him a beer.
posted by caddis at 7:29 PM on November 13, 2005

I've had this before, they last on and off for a whole day. It stops being funny when it starts to hurt. I think all you can do is ride them out.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:07 PM on November 13, 2005

Take a teaspoon full of sugar and put several dashes of bitters on it. Have him put the mixture on his tongue and let it dissolve there (no immediate swallowing). Works for me, anyway.

Also the scare cure, but I've had to go to extreme measures to make that work on other people. Not worth it.
posted by lackutrol at 8:15 PM on November 13, 2005

Try drinking some citrus juice. It sounds a bit funny but it seems to work - and for some reason it only requires a small amount.
posted by curbstop at 8:16 PM on November 13, 2005

There's a thread on Making Light where someone explained the medical cause of hiccups and the cure:

(direct link to the comment. Excerpting, as it's quite long.)

(Part 1:) Juli got this one right. Take a large spoonful of sugar, dry, in the mouth, and let it dissolve. Some of the sugar gets absorbed directly through the buccal membrane of the mouth. The acidosis is kicked way further along, and your body, distracted by the sudden extreme change in the blood chemistry, "calls off" the hiccups as ineffective. It calls them off right away, too: within seconds. The "spoonful of sugar" approach, in my experience, works for about 60% of hiccuppers.

If this doesn't work, the hiccuper has a worse case of acidosis than mere sugar can deal with. So we take the intervention up a notch.

(Part 2:) Take one small spoonful of salt (the equivalent of a cooking teaspoon is plenty). Again, hold in the mouth and let it dissolve. It's gross, but in the next 20% of hiccupers, the hiccups will stop. Bang, right away.

If neither of these steps work, then your hiccuper is not in acidosis, but in alkalosis. So you switch tactics.

(Part 3:) Give the hiccuper a lemon slice and tell them to chew on it. Their hiccups will then vanish.

It is important to do these things *in order* and not try to cut back on the amounts of sugar and salt, or the intervention may fail and you'll wind up having to do it all over again, which is annoying, especially if you're on a low-sodium diet or just don't feel like retaining liters and liters of water the next day. But if you follow these instructions faithfully, the hiccups should vanish, pretty much without fail. You can get a real reputation as a miracle worker with this.

posted by Jeanne at 8:28 PM on November 13, 2005 [1 favorite]

This trick always works for me, but be careful if you try it: hold a pillow over your husband's face until he gestures for you to remove it. He should try and hold out for as long as he can. Obviously, if he goes limp, remove the pillow (I never had that problem).

Another good cure, albeit less dramatic, is to place you hands on each side of his head, over his ears, and squeeze while he drinks a glass of water.
posted by bibliowench at 8:28 PM on November 13, 2005

Having a breath-holding contest has always worked for me; barring that, sitting straight upright and drinking something that makes you burp a lot works really well.
posted by interrobang at 8:39 PM on November 13, 2005

I'm a firm believer of the seven sips. Take seven small sips of water quickly. I'm not sure why, but it usually works for me and also for the people I suggest it to. And it's less ridiculous than most other methods I've heard of.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:42 PM on November 13, 2005

My personal cure is to get a nice big scoop of peanut butter and put it on the roof of your mouth and lick it off. Works every time, and is also delicious.
posted by Mach5 at 9:01 PM on November 13, 2005

I suffer from horrible hiccups from time to time - drinking backwards out of a glass of water is trivial for me.

Basically, all non-chemical forms of getting rid of hiccups involve distracting yourself from the hiccups - these include doing something you don't normally do (drinking out of the back of a water glass). My sure-fire method for a while was to time my hiccups - get a clock and start counting the seconds between hiccups, concentrating on predicting the next hiccup - the most important part is the concentrating. When that stopped working, I started consciously over-exaggerating my hiccups - concentrate on predicting the next hiccup and "burping it out".

Jeanne - I'll have to try that next time, although I suspect that it's just another form of "concentrating on something else".
posted by muddgirl at 9:13 PM on November 13, 2005

(as for the sure-fire chemical methods, beer and marijuana may work as well as any other muscle relaxant).
posted by muddgirl at 9:14 PM on November 13, 2005

I don't know why this works, but I've been doing it ever since elementary school to get rid of hiccups. Get some liquid--water, soda, whatever--and take ten sips right in a row, without taking a breath.
posted by sian at 10:34 PM on November 13, 2005

Drinking water (around 20 sips) upside down has a very high success rate for me; between the holding breath, the muscle action, and the pressure on your diaphragm it works. If you can't get rid of them, holding the back of my throat open, turning it into more of a gasp than a hic, stops them from being painful.
posted by abcde at 11:28 PM on November 13, 2005

Tear a small corner of newspaper off a drop it in a glass of water. Drink the water, and avoid swallowing the bit of paper. Works every time with me.

I swore that I read this in Parade a few years ago, but I'm the only one who remembers it. No idea why it works, but it always does.
posted by kosher_jenny at 1:41 AM on November 14, 2005

A friend of mine insists on administering his hiccup cure whenever he catches anyone hiccuping in his presence. Unfortunately his cure is to unexpectedly punch you in the solar plexus hard. Whilst this hurts like a bitch, when you recover, the hiccups have miraculously gone. I am not a doctor - this probably isn't the best of ideas!
posted by prentiz at 1:43 AM on November 14, 2005

A teaspoon of malt vinegar. Seriously works every time for me. Apparently (whether or not this is true, i haven't looked), hiccups are an alkaline reaction, the acid in the vinegar neutralises it. Probably.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:22 AM on November 14, 2005

Breathe in and out of a paper bag, or plastic if you are not alone. It raises the carbon dioxide levels in the blood, which would actually change your blood chemistry.
You get more carbon dioxide with plastic, but probably shouldn't do that if you are alone in the room, just in case.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:31 AM on November 14, 2005

The world record for hiccuping is nearly 70 years [scroll down - other trivia too], so, uh, I'm not sure anything is a guaranteed cure :).
It's apparently not so uncommon for them to last a day or two, though, & they'll (most likely) go away on their own at some point.
posted by mdn at 6:03 AM on November 14, 2005

Here's a method my parents swear by (please excuse my layman terminology):

Locate the divot at the top of your collar bone, below your throat. The idea is to press your finger in, and 'behind' your collar bone. Hold this a short while, and slowly release. It's based in some sort of accupressure.

I've never gotten this to work, personally. My method is this:

Locate the ridge in your lower jaw, between the teeth and the saliva ducts. Press your tongue to this spot, and breathe deeply for a minute. You might feel the urge to yawn.

Oh, and when you let go you might gleek uncontrollably. Just a heads up on that.
posted by evil holiday magic at 6:08 AM on November 14, 2005

I find imagining my diaphragm in detail and telling it to calm down works. If you need to, go look up anatomy pictures online to help you visualize what is wrong. Understand the hiccup, and then conquer it. It works, I swear.
posted by jon_kill at 6:16 AM on November 14, 2005

Gaviscon® FSR: an antacid that fills your stomach up with soothing foam and can quiet the hangover hiccup beast.
posted by maniactown at 6:53 AM on November 14, 2005

Eat a couple slices of lemon with sugar on them. This WORKS.
posted by xammerboy at 7:04 AM on November 14, 2005

Husband here. They indeed lasted throughout the day and evening, but disappeared shortly after mrs. saucy posted the question. Go figure. Drinking a can of soda and challenging the wife to a burping contest did the trick the second time, and I'm free and clear.

thanks all.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:52 AM on November 14, 2005

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