cure for hiccups: breathe

cure for hiccups: breathe

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I think it's been years since I've had more than two hiccups before I made them stop.

A couple nights ago [info]cathijosephine had some of the nastiest, most miserable hiccups I've ever heard. She ended up getting out of bed and going downstairs so I could sleep.

I thought about how I made them stop for the first time (I'd been avoiding it for fear of losing the ability). I listened to her some more. She was breathing shallowly. Then I suggested a simple breathing exercise:

Take a deep breath, as slowly as you can. Exhale just as slowly. Repeat. She had some difficulty with the slowness part, so I suggested trying to make each inhale and exhale last at least five seconds.

The hiccups went away immediately and did not return.

My guess is that hiccups are an attempt by your body to yank in more oxygen because you're not breathing enough, except for some reason it doesn't work. So just breathe, deep and slow.
  • Hiccups are involuntary spasm of the diaphragm often caused by pressure on the phrenic nerve though other causes have been reported as well.

    • The really bad ones I get seem to come from swallowing too much air when I'm using my CPAP machine.

      Other hiccups are very easy for me to stop with a little concentration.
  • [info]docorion told me once that a standard ER cure for hiccups is to have the patient inhale absolutely as much as they can such that they can't fill their lungs any further, which physically prevents them from hiccupping, and hold that breath through the time they would next expect a hiccup to come. Usually (>95% of the time) that fixes it.

    I bet inhaling for 5sec comes pretty close to doing that.
  • My favorite cure is beeping. My own hiccoughs tend to be long lasting, painful and nearly impossible to get rid of. I'm glad hers went away.
    • Sorta ditto on this.

      My three favorite cures are:
      1. Drinking a glass of sugar water, which has to be made my measuring exactly 6 ounces of warm water into a glass, measuring exactly 2 teaspoons of sugar into the glass, then stirring the mixture for *exactly* one minute, the drinking the mixture all in one big gulp.
      2. Drinking a glass of water while holding a pencil in my mouth, horizontally, sort of...like a gag as opposed to having the end in my mouth.
      3. Drinking a glass of water while hanging upside down, by laying on a chair or couch and putting my legs up on the back of the chair and having my head hanging down where my feet usually are.

      All of these work, I believe, because of the concentration of doing something a little odd rather than any actual physical reason.

  • not a cure, just a side note. i was once on some anti-anxiety medication that had a little-known side effect of causing VIOLENT hiccups. so bad i could barely breathe, and quite loud as well.
    some medications can be the cause of those spasms. just a thought.
  • The easiest way for me to get rid them is usually just to drink a glass of water fairly slowly and continuously. By the time the water is gone, so are the hiccups. If that doesn't work, I'm probably not going to be able to get rid of them for a while.

    Though, I notice if I swallow too much food at once (especially if I'm hurrying through eating) that tends to trigger them.
  • I always took a deep breath and held through at least one hiccup, and that usually stopped them.
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