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

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

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:
 
You Can Now Get Champagne From a Vending Machine

You Can Now Get Champagne From a Vending Machine

At Las Vegas’ Mandarin Oriental Hotel, guests can now self-serve themselves bottles of Möet & Chandon from a vending machine - and it’s the first...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 21, 2017
An Ohio Man is Suing Walmart Over Fake Craft Beer

An Ohio Man is Suing Walmart Over Fake Craft Beer

Many people were shocked when they first heard the news that Walmart was even selling its own craft beer, but alas, it’s all a lie, as one Ohio man ...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Feb 21, 2017
BrewDog Announces Puppy Parental Leave for Its Employees

BrewDog Announces Puppy Parental Leave for Its Employees

Staff both in the UK and the US will now receive one week of paid leave when they rescue a dog....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Feb 20, 2017
SPONSORED
You Can Now Age Spirits with Ultrasound Technology

You Can Now Age Spirits with Ultrasound Technology

Aging in a barrel can certainly add subtlety, richness, and complexity to whiskey, brandy, rum, and other liquors. But researchers in Spain may have f...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Feb 17, 2017
Game of Thrones & Ommegang's Latest Beer Lets You Choose Your House

Game of Thrones & Ommegang's Latest Beer Lets You Choose Your House

HBO's wildly popular series Game of Thrones and Ommegang Brewery are continuing their beer collaboration with ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 8, 2017
More Movie Theaters Are Starting to Serve Drinks Nationwide

More Movie Theaters Are Starting to Serve Drinks Nationwide

You may have noticed a growing trend in movie theaters recently - instead of ordering a popcorn, candy bar, and soda, you might be getting a popcorn, ...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Feb 8, 2017
Lady Gaga is Starting Her Own Wine Company

Lady Gaga is Starting Her Own Wine Company

Fresh off the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga's company filed paperwork this week to begin producing wine, according to TMZ. ...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Feb 8, 2017
Have the Perfect Pint Experience with Guinness in Las Vegas

Have the Perfect Pint Experience with Guinness in Las Vegas

Guinness is providing an opportunity for North Americans to learn how to pour that perfect pint without leaving the States....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Feb 3, 2017
Nasty Woman Wines Launches in Oregon

Nasty Woman Wines Launches in Oregon

Nasty Woman Wines was founded by Meg Murray on Election Day, and she's using it to get more women to the table in policy and leadership positions arou...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jan 31, 2017
Veil Brewing Co. Creates an Oreo-Flavored Beer

Veil Brewing Co. Creates an Oreo-Flavored Beer

Richmond, Virginia's Veil Brewing Company is making all of our childish dreams come true with their latest release - which is brewed with Oreos....read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jan 31, 2017
SPONSORED
View all Articles

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

Close