How to Get Rid of Hiccups

From rubbing your ears to gargling water

It doesn't matter if your hiccups last for 20 minutes or 20 hours. No matter the time, we can all agree: They're the worst. Sometimes they go away on their own, but more often than not, you're left hiccuping your way through important meetings, workout sessions, shopping trips, and—worst of all—meals. Luckily, before you drive yourself too crazy, there are a handful of treatment options you can try that range from eating a spoonful of sugar to having an orgasm. If you've ever wanted to banish this minor (eh, major) annoyance, read on, and you'll learn how to get rid of hiccups once and for all.

Rub Your Ears

Who could pass up a nice earlobe massage and the opportunity to ditch the hiccups? According to gastroenterologist Anton Emmanuel, MD, rubbing your lobes might do the trick because they're connected to the vagus nerve, which serves the diaphragm muscle. Since hiccups are simply involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, that stimulation might relieve pressure and stop them in their tracks.

Eat a Spoonful of Sugar

A spoonful of sugar helps the… hiccups go away? That's probably not what Mary Poppins had in mind, but a small study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that eating some dry granulated sugar worked in 19 of 20 patients, most likely due to shifting the vagus nerve's efforts to the hard-to-swallow task instead of the hiccups. Yes, if you're curious about how to get rid of hiccups, start by sating your sweet tooth.

Have an Orgasm

As much fun as swallowing sugar is, there's one treatment sure to be a win: having an orgasm. Francis Fesmire, MD, who learned how to get rid of hiccups in spectacular fashion (and won a Nobel Prize for his research), recommends having some fun between the sheets to fix the problem. "An orgasm results in incredible stimulation of the vagus nerve. From now on, I will be recommending sex—culminating with orgasm—as the cure-all for intractable hiccups," he said.

Sip on Cold Water

Another unproven—yet possibly effective—way to get rid of the hiccups is none other than pouring yourself a glass of ice-cold water and sipping on it, says the Mayo Clinic. If that doesn't work, try doing so with a straw, which could help you better control your breathing and the movements of your diaphragm.

Rub Your Eyeballs

Sure, you could rub your ears—but you could also try rubbing your eyes. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the simple act might be enough to send your annoying hiccups packing for good. Or, you know, at least until they decide to strike again.

Swallow Bread or Crushed Ice

Eating a spoonful of sugar might do the trick, but there are other foods you can try the treatment method with, too. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the act of swallowing crushed ice or dry pieces of bread might also distract your vagus nerve and rid you of your hiccups.

Plug Your Ears While Drinking Water

Another technique of relieving your hiccups is plugging your ears while drinking a large glass of water through a straw. According to one older study in the Canadian Family Physician, they should be gone by the time you finish. (Plus, you'll become a little more hydrated in the process!)

Breathe Into a Paper Bag

An increase in carbon dioxide can do your hiccups some good, and you can try the method in a couple of different ways. "Holding your breath or breathing into a paper bag increases carbon dioxide levels in the lungs and may relax the diaphragm, stopping the spasms and, thus, the hiccups," says Daniel Allan, MD.

Gargle Ice Water

Dr. Oz sure knows how to get rid of hiccups, and there's one cure he swears by—so much so that he tweeted the tip out to his millions of followers on Twitter. "Gargle with ice water to cure hiccups. It will stop your diaphragm from spasming and put an end to the problem," he says.

Pull On Your Tongue

Another way to stimulate your vagus nerve—and hopefully stop your hiccups because of that!—is by gently pulling on your tongue, says the Cleveland Clinic. Yep, you're definitely going to look (and feel) silly, but that's all there is to it.

Tehrene Firman
Tehrene Firman is a freelance health and wellness writer. Read more
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