THE DRINK NATION IS A FREE RESOURCE FOR FINDING EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DRINKING IN YOUR LOCATION
Signup

How Do You Cure the Hiccups?

Who knows!
How Do You Cure the Hiccups?

You have the most of the pub’s attention. You’re about to make your closing argument on why Val Kilmer was twice the Batman Keaton was, clearly demonstrating your film-nerd brilliance while shaming your debate opponent into submission. Then it happens — the horror. Right in the middle of your “AND Robin is underrated!” point your body betrays you. In one uncontrollable move you gasp, suck in, and let out a noticeable “HIIICCC!!” In this one moment, your credibility is shot. People start to turn away, you hear mutterings of “had too many” or “clearly, it’s the drink talking,” and now no one takes your defense of Val seriously. Damn you, hiccups. Damn you.

How did this happen, and why does it seem to happen more when you’re drinking? Scientists will tell you hiccups are the result of complex motor actions that, interestingly, only milk-drinking mammals can do. Because of this, it is thought hiccups evolved as mechanism to get air out of the stomach that may accumulate during suckling. When you hiccup, your brain coordinates the sudden contraction of your diaphragm muscles that are involved in breathing. Just after the contraction, the vocal cords close off, creating the telltale "hic" sound. Your phrenic nerves control this diaphragm and when they get irritated the hiccups begin.

Unfortunately, there is a long list of things that can set them off, and several items on that list are invoked when drinking. Alcohol itself is a known hiccup-instigator, and so is the expanding and contracting of the stomach muscles that occur when you are filling your belly with vast amounts of carbonated liquid. Stomach acids tend to build up as you drink, and as these acids creep into your esophagus they can irritate the nerves that set off hiccups. While drinking alcoholic beverages may not be the only thing that causes hiccups, it sure doesn’t help.

Now, we turn to our staff of medical experts for remedies proven by science to work every time! ...And find there are none. Modern science has yet to produce a hiccup cure that works for every situation, but the world has no shortage of remedies you might want to try. The list reads like the catalog of a 19th century travelling medicine show (with leaches and x-rays omitted), but given the annoyance hiccups can cause, some of these may be worth a try.

Somewhat Reasonable Sounding Remedies

    • Holding your breath
    • Induced sneezing
    • Breathing into a bag,
    • Drinking water while covering your ears
    • Drinking water while breathing through your nose
    • Pulling your tongue
    • Pressing on the eyeballs
    • Sudden fright
    • Eating dry granulated sugar
    • Eating a teaspoon of honey
    • Bitters on a lemon wedge, popped into your mouth like a tequila shot
    • Sucking on an ice cube

Slightly Questionable Remedies

    • Drinking water with a chopstick holding down your tongue
    • Drinking water upside down
    • Purchasing a Hic-Cup for $16.97
    • Giving yourself the Heimlich maneuver
    • Using a broomstick to press on your diaphragm
    • Getting hypnotized
    • Trying acupuncture

You’re Seriously Desperate If You Need To Try These Remedies
(Important note: we do not recommend any of these. Just deal with the hiccups instead, right?)

    • Taking chlorpromazine
    • Tickling the pharynx with a catheter stuck through the nose
    • Blister or burn the skin above the phrenic nerve on the neck and back
    • Getting an implantable breathing pacemaker
    • Getting a vagus nerve stimulator implanted that  zaps your vagus nerve with electric impulses

How do you deal with the hiccups? Add your remedy to the comments.

Photos by Danya Henninger

Recent Articles
Home Bar Project Below Features

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
What to Sip While You Slurp: A Guide to Drink and Oyster Pairings

What to Sip While You Slurp: A Guide to Drink and Oyster Pairings

We've done a little research on what sips make for the best slurps. ...read more ›

by Swabreen Bakr Aug 3, 2015
Alton Brown's New Go-To Drink May Surprise You

Alton Brown's New Go-To Drink May Surprise You

Alton Brown is taking a year-long break from alcohol, and his new go-to drink is pretty interesting. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 31, 2015
Has 'Curiosity' Killed the Can? Exploring Lululemon's Attempt to Sell Lager Alongside Leggings

Has 'Curiosity' Killed the Can? Exploring Lululemon's Attempt to Sell Lager Alongside Leggings

Care for a lager with those leggings? Lululemon has partnered with Stanley Park Brewing to produce the new Cur...read more ›

by Rob Jagiela Jul 31, 2015
SPONSORED
Perennial Funding - rectangle
Top 20 Drinking Quotes of All Time

Top 20 Drinking Quotes of All Time

Writers and musicians have a long, storied history with alcohol, and that intimacy with the bottle shows through in the memorable lines these artists ...read more ›

by Jenny An Sep 3, 2013
New London Bar Fills Empty Rooms With Clouds of Breathable Alcohol: What Could Go Wrong?

New London Bar Fills Empty Rooms With Clouds of Breathable Alcohol: What Could Go Wrong?

Are you tired of sipping on your cocktail? Try breathing in your cocktail instead at this new London bar....read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Jul 27, 2015
Dogfish Inn Expands Its Beercation Reach With All-INNclusive Experience

Dogfish Inn Expands Its Beercation Reach With All-INNclusive Experience

The All-INNclusive Dogfish Experience is the perfect way to make the most of your beercation. ...read more ›

by Erica Bauwens Jul 27, 2015
What Does the Firestone Walker Acquisition Mean for Craft Beer Fans?

What Does the Firestone Walker Acquisition Mean for Craft Beer Fans?

Firestone Walker made an announcement late last week that they had been "invested in" by Duvel Moortgat. But w...read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Jul 20, 2015
Tickets to the 2015 Great American Beer Festival on Sale July 29

Tickets to the 2015 Great American Beer Festival on Sale July 29

The GABF has sold out in well under and hour for the past six years. Tickets to this year's event go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, July ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 17, 2015
Retreat to the Mountains for the 12th Annual Steamboat Wine Festival, Aug. 5-9

Retreat to the Mountains for the 12th Annual Steamboat Wine Festival, Aug. 5-9

Put the Steamboat Wine Festival on your summer travel calendar, because events are selling out quickly and you...read more ›

by Carrie Dow Jul 16, 2015
Summer Six Pack: Six Refreshing Beers You Need to Try This Summer

Summer Six Pack: Six Refreshing Beers You Need to Try This Summer

Grab some of these refreshing brews for your next beach trip or cookout....read more ›

by Swabreen Bakr Jul 15, 2015
SPONSORED
Read The Drink Nation Anywhere You Are
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close