Hiccups happen when your diaphragm, the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen, contracts and your vocal cords close. That annoying jerk and on and off ‘hic’ sound can last anywhere from a few minutes to two days. Hiccups normally pass naturally, but there are a few ways to speed up the process. Express.co.uk reveals seven ways to get rid of hiccups, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Frustratingly, when hiccups strike you have no idea how long they’ll last.
You don’t usually need to see a GP when you get hiccups, you can usually just wait for them to go away or treat them yourself.
There are hundreds of old wives tales about how to beat hiccups, from drinking a glass of water upside down to getting a fright from a friend… but how many of these are scientifically true?
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To beat and prevent hiccups, there are a few things you should avoid.
For example, you should try to eat smaller meals and steer clear of spicy and gas-producing foods.
This includes carbonated drinks, hot drinks and alcoholic beverages.
You should also try not to smoke or chew gum as both of these things cause you to swallow air, which causes hiccups.
Keep your speed down and chew your bites thoroughly before swallowing, and make sure you don’t eat or drink something very cold immediately after something hot.
If your hiccups last longer than 48 hours (which is rare) you may have a medical condition.
For example, it could be due to nerve damage or irritation caused by a hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum, tumour, cyst or goiter in your neck, gastroesophageal reflux or a sore throat or laryngitis.
Long-term hiccups could also be linked to central nervous system disorders such as encephalitis, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury and tumours.
Other things associated with long-lasting hiccups are alcoholism, anesthesia, barbiturates, diabetes, electrolyte imbalance, kidney disease, steroids and tranquilizers.
The NHS recommends speaking to a GP if hiccups last longer than 48 hours, or if they come back very often and are affecting your life.