How to Stop Hiccups

How to Stop Hiccups
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What are hiccups, why do we get them, and what can we do about them?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“[N]early everybody has experienced hiccups…” But, what exactly are they? The idea that a hiccup is just a simple muscle spasm of the diaphragm was apparently disproved over 40 years ago. Instead, it involves a complex orchestrated pattern of muscle contractions. But, why?

It may be a leftover from the womb. During fetal life, “hiccups are universally present, their incidence peaking in the third trimester”—suggesting “hiccups might represent a necessary and vital primitive reflex that would permit [in-the-womb] training of the [breathing] muscles without [choking on the] amniotic fluid.”

In adulthood, nearly anything can trigger hiccups. Case in point: “19-year-old woman…with persistent hiccups.” “Physical exam was normal,” except there was an ant crawling on her eardrum. The ant was removed, and the hiccups stopped. And, there appear to be as many cures as there are causes. As the famous Dr. Mayo put it, the less we know about something, the more treatments we seem to have for it. And, perhaps “no disease…had more forms of treatment than [the] persistent hiccup.”

There’s drugs, of course; there’s always lots of drugs, from thorazine to apomorphine. But, there’s also a whole slew of non-pharmacological approaches, from “…breathing into a paper bag,” and “drinking from the far side of a glass,” to smearing mustard onto your tummy. You’ll note “[m]any of these quote-unquote ‘remedies’ have not been tested and some appear to have been invented ‘purely for the amusement of the patient’s friends.'”

This first one here, forcible “traction” of the tongue, which means pulling on someone’s tongue, was attributed to the great Dr. Osler, the first chief physician at Johns Hopkins. But, the therapy dates back earlier, to “(perhaps not surprisingly)…French origin[s].”

Another trick that might work is “a modified Heimlich maneuver, with [just] moderate pressure.” “Three thrusts,” and the hiccups were gone. In general, though, treatments are disappointing. “[H]undreds of remedies have been tried, but none have been found to be “regularly curative.” You know doctors are getting desperate when they start suggesting things like chilling of the earlobe, and you know doctors are really getting desperate when they have to tack onto the end: “Prayer.”

This is the paper that started me down the hiccup rabbit hole. I was reviewing the latest research on vinegar, and stumbled across this. “After the failure of common treatments for hiccups, the patient was given a sip of vinegar,” and his hiccups stopped after just a single sip. Sour tastes, such as vinegar and lemon, have evidently been used to treat hiccups since the 1930s, but “nonpharmacological remedies such as vinegar…fell out of favor with the widespread use of [drugs].” After all, how much can you charge for a sip of vinegar?

Worse comes to worst, there’s surgery—the “phrenic nerve crush,” which is as bad as it sounds. But, before you go down that route, you’d be surprised “how many patients with hiccups respond to digital compression of the eyeballs.” Digit as in finger, as in, like, pushing your thumbs into someone’s eyeballs as a counter-irritation measure. That’ll get their mind off of their hiccups. And, if that doesn’t distract them enough, there’s always “digital rectal massage.”

27-year-old man presents to the ER with “intractable hiccups.” They try massaging other places. They try the “digital eyeball compression.” Nothing really seems to do it, so, bend over. “Digital rectal massage was then attempted using a slow circumferential motion”—and it worked! So, before giving people drugs, maybe we would be giving patients a massage. It’s “easy to perform,” and may be “less dangerous than” sticking your fingers into people’s eye sockets—which, if you’re in medical school and have to memorize all these stupid names, is known as the “Dagnini-Aschner Maneuver” (medicine loves its eponyms).

Speaking of maneuvers, how’s this for a pick-up line? Hey, *hic,* wanna help me cure my hiccups? “On the fourth day of continuous hiccupping,” with spousal help, the patient’s hiccups vanished at the point of climax. “It is unclear,” the doctor wrote, “whether orgasm in women leads to a similar resolution, an issue,” he said, would have to “be investigated further.”  

And it was, back in 1845, in an infamous, disturbing case report amounting to effectively bragging about sexual assault, published in what was to become the New England Journal of Medicine. A young religious woman with intractable hiccups fell into the hands of a Dr. George Dexter, who first attempted the best modern medicine could offer—bloodletting. She still hiccupped, though, until he pressed his hand on her genitals for a few minutes, and it apparently worked. This went on for month after month, frequently calling upon his colleagues to “[exhibit] to them this singular phenomena.”

Who was this guy? “Although his interaction with the young female patient would not meet today’s ethical standards [you could say that again!], his medical observation was [considered] valid.”

Though “[r]ectal massage and sexual stimulation [may] help,…this kind of recommendation [should probably be] reserved,” this research review continues, he concluded, “for carefully selected patients.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Illia Uriadnikov via 123rf. Image has been modified.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“[N]early everybody has experienced hiccups…” But, what exactly are they? The idea that a hiccup is just a simple muscle spasm of the diaphragm was apparently disproved over 40 years ago. Instead, it involves a complex orchestrated pattern of muscle contractions. But, why?

It may be a leftover from the womb. During fetal life, “hiccups are universally present, their incidence peaking in the third trimester”—suggesting “hiccups might represent a necessary and vital primitive reflex that would permit [in-the-womb] training of the [breathing] muscles without [choking on the] amniotic fluid.”

In adulthood, nearly anything can trigger hiccups. Case in point: “19-year-old woman…with persistent hiccups.” “Physical exam was normal,” except there was an ant crawling on her eardrum. The ant was removed, and the hiccups stopped. And, there appear to be as many cures as there are causes. As the famous Dr. Mayo put it, the less we know about something, the more treatments we seem to have for it. And, perhaps “no disease…had more forms of treatment than [the] persistent hiccup.”

There’s drugs, of course; there’s always lots of drugs, from thorazine to apomorphine. But, there’s also a whole slew of non-pharmacological approaches, from “…breathing into a paper bag,” and “drinking from the far side of a glass,” to smearing mustard onto your tummy. You’ll note “[m]any of these quote-unquote ‘remedies’ have not been tested and some appear to have been invented ‘purely for the amusement of the patient’s friends.'”

This first one here, forcible “traction” of the tongue, which means pulling on someone’s tongue, was attributed to the great Dr. Osler, the first chief physician at Johns Hopkins. But, the therapy dates back earlier, to “(perhaps not surprisingly)…French origin[s].”

Another trick that might work is “a modified Heimlich maneuver, with [just] moderate pressure.” “Three thrusts,” and the hiccups were gone. In general, though, treatments are disappointing. “[H]undreds of remedies have been tried, but none have been found to be “regularly curative.” You know doctors are getting desperate when they start suggesting things like chilling of the earlobe, and you know doctors are really getting desperate when they have to tack onto the end: “Prayer.”

This is the paper that started me down the hiccup rabbit hole. I was reviewing the latest research on vinegar, and stumbled across this. “After the failure of common treatments for hiccups, the patient was given a sip of vinegar,” and his hiccups stopped after just a single sip. Sour tastes, such as vinegar and lemon, have evidently been used to treat hiccups since the 1930s, but “nonpharmacological remedies such as vinegar…fell out of favor with the widespread use of [drugs].” After all, how much can you charge for a sip of vinegar?

Worse comes to worst, there’s surgery—the “phrenic nerve crush,” which is as bad as it sounds. But, before you go down that route, you’d be surprised “how many patients with hiccups respond to digital compression of the eyeballs.” Digit as in finger, as in, like, pushing your thumbs into someone’s eyeballs as a counter-irritation measure. That’ll get their mind off of their hiccups. And, if that doesn’t distract them enough, there’s always “digital rectal massage.”

27-year-old man presents to the ER with “intractable hiccups.” They try massaging other places. They try the “digital eyeball compression.” Nothing really seems to do it, so, bend over. “Digital rectal massage was then attempted using a slow circumferential motion”—and it worked! So, before giving people drugs, maybe we would be giving patients a massage. It’s “easy to perform,” and may be “less dangerous than” sticking your fingers into people’s eye sockets—which, if you’re in medical school and have to memorize all these stupid names, is known as the “Dagnini-Aschner Maneuver” (medicine loves its eponyms).

Speaking of maneuvers, how’s this for a pick-up line? Hey, *hic,* wanna help me cure my hiccups? “On the fourth day of continuous hiccupping,” with spousal help, the patient’s hiccups vanished at the point of climax. “It is unclear,” the doctor wrote, “whether orgasm in women leads to a similar resolution, an issue,” he said, would have to “be investigated further.”  

And it was, back in 1845, in an infamous, disturbing case report amounting to effectively bragging about sexual assault, published in what was to become the New England Journal of Medicine. A young religious woman with intractable hiccups fell into the hands of a Dr. George Dexter, who first attempted the best modern medicine could offer—bloodletting. She still hiccupped, though, until he pressed his hand on her genitals for a few minutes, and it apparently worked. This went on for month after month, frequently calling upon his colleagues to “[exhibit] to them this singular phenomena.”

Who was this guy? “Although his interaction with the young female patient would not meet today’s ethical standards [you could say that again!], his medical observation was [considered] valid.”

Though “[r]ectal massage and sexual stimulation [may] help,…this kind of recommendation [should probably be] reserved,” this research review continues, he concluded, “for carefully selected patients.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Illia Uriadnikov via 123rf. Image has been modified.

Doctor's Note

DO NOT drink vinegar straight. I’m talking about just a tiny sip here. Otherwise, you can make the problem worse (see my video Vinegar Mechanisms & Side Effects). Vinegar is great stuff, though. Check out my recent video series for why I now include it in my own family’s daily diet:

There’s another way to treat hiccups—one that I’ve used myself since I was a kid. Since then, I’ve never had more than one or two hiccups, because I can stop them in their tracks. Learn my secret in the next video, How to Strengthen the Mind-Body Connection.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

98 responses to “How to Stop Hiccups

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  1. So what do you recommend then, drinking vinegar? straight or with water?
    When I get hiccups, they are so loud, it irritates anyone nearby. I can’t hiccup quietly. It also makes me laugh, for some reason, and seems to go on forever. I even get them in my sleep now and then, which is really disturbing! Wonder if anyone else has had this experience.




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    1. Thanks for your question June.

      As per the study mentioned by Dr Greger, we are only provided with the following information regarding intervention:

      “After the failure of common treatments for hiccups, the patient was given a sip of vinegar and his hiccups abated within 15 minutes. The hiccups recurred the following day and were relieved again with vinegar. This pattern was repeated after the second course of chemotherapy. The hiccups occurred on day one after chemotherapy and continued for eight hours with no benefit from chlorpromazine or metoclopramide. After one sip of vinegar the hiccups decreased in intensity and eventually ceased. The patient completed the following chemotherapy cycles without stopping any drugs and using vinegar whenever the hiccups recurred. The hic- cups either ceased or decreased in intensity after sipping vinegar.”

      Hope this answer helps.




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    1. And a first for me, too. But from the other side of the coin. I found it refreshing – not to mention funny – that I was able to laugh all throughout this without my usual ‘furrowed brow of concern’ as I do with Dr. Greger’s other videos.




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      1. I agree, Kay. I got the hiccups hours after some serious surgery, and for the next several hours I grew increasingly desperate as my head started to ache from the constant hiccuping. When I should have been sleeping, I was trying everything I could think of to cure the hiccups. Miserable!




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    2. I agree. I’m a devout reader and watcher. I’ve never in years felt the way I did when this ended. I see no real reason for this video. It wasn’t valuable information as it always is and as a woman, it was down right offensive. Not well done. Upsetting.




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      1. Rebecca, I completely agree with your statement. This was very offensive and not at all what I expect when I take time to listen to the doctor. This was 7 minutes of completely wasted time today. I think if the title had said Stupid Ways to Try to Cure Hiccups I would have been less annoyed, but the information on the sexual behavior was disturbing, as I felt I could hear the smile in the doctor’s voice. It was offensive no matter what.




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        1. Belinda, I too could hear that Dr. Greger was smiling, but it was at the absurdity of the research, the absurdity medical researchers, and the absurdity of the primitive attitudes men in the past had towards women, and absurdity of how the rich viewed and treated the poor.
          Dr. Greger was not being pervy, he was agreeing with you on how offensive the research was.




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        2. Wat’s wrong with you?
          Why everything you hear about sex is offensive?
          sex is the same part of our physiology as swallowing or breathing.
          don’t make it so absurdly serious and offensive, and even dangerous due to law and all this cases of suing men, or sex just became impossible to perform.
          It’s the reason why so many men became gay – to avoid you crazy “sex-is-offensive” behavior.
          Stop it, please.
          It’s ridiculous.

          Yea, this woman feel better when he stimulate her, but with such relationship with sex you may have the same problem as she ( she was extremely religious, so has sex problems too) – and no one will help you today again – because you made it so tabu, that everyone just be afraid even talk about this therapy – which is, remember, was the only thing that works.




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    3. I’ve found I can often cure hiccups by pressing on both sides of the vertebres at the lower neck. I think the nerve that goes to the diaphragm runs through there. Another time, when I had the hiccups, someone gave me a spoonful of something to cure them. It tasted so awful that it startled me out of the hiccups as I nearly jumped out of my skin. I never learned what it was, but it tasted like vinegar and sugar.




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  2. I’ve never had my remedy fail: eat a teaspoon of sugar. Ouch, I scarcely touch the stuff these days, and of course, I never had hiccups that went on for days and weeks.




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    1. Sugar works for me too, although not healthy. Here’s another treatment, or trick, that works for me: 1) close the mouth 2) stop swallowing saliva 3) breath through nose for a few minutes.




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  3. 25 years ago, I heard the advice that “drinking the juice of an orange” will stop hiccups. It has worked every time (25 times?) since then. Tastier than vinegar.




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  4. I have found drinking from the far side of the glass always works for me. but in order to do it you end up bent over to be able to get a drink, so it is something to do with breathing. but I have no idea. I only know this one always ! works for me…. so my guess it will work for at least 1% of the people, and after all it is free to try, and costs nothing, and no ill side effects !




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    1. Drinking water upside down (from the other side of the glass and bending over) has always worked for me also.. 100% of the time. It has also cured everyone who tries it when I recommend it to them.. 100% of the time. But you can’t stop during the process.. continue swallowing water the whole time you are bent over, drink the whole glass.




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      1. ME TOO! Always 100% effective…is drinking upside down- you don’t even need to drink from the far side, just fill my mouth with water and swallow it with my head near the floor. BOOM, cured!




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  5. This one had me laughing. Great way to start the day. Thanks Dr. Greger.
    My second child had them during my third trimester and later as a baby. We called her “Wild Girl Hiccup.”




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  6. I have found that when children hiccup, their calcium levels were low. Maybe adults too should try whole food calcium supplements as well
    It works!!!




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  7. Wow! it is so fun to see the occasional break from nutrition information to something like the research on hiccoughs. I laughed so hard and found the vinegar information helpful.

    It seems that startling the senses to some degree is helpful but boy, some unexpected maneuvers seemed to have helped. Thank goodness for ethical standards in care delivery!

    Thanks for the AM chuckle and please do it again one day!




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    1. Why? All it does is point out that a lot of medical research is a joke, and that hiccup remedies are about as effective as homeopathy. Things that are worth knowing. Although I suppose it was a bit too subtle for those that need the knowledge most.

      I’m honestly offended by this modern regressive leftist attitude of “I don’t like it / I don’t agree – so it must be verboten”. It’s this kind of selfishness and closed mindedness that leads to what we see on the news where students are burning up University campus’s just because they don’t want someone to talk there.




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  8. Concerning the Fish/ALS article from yesterday. Here is what the study author (Dr. Elijah Stommel) had to say.

    “For most people, eating fish is part of a healthy diet,” said study author Dr. Elijah Stommel, who’s with Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine in Hanover, N.H.

    “But questions remain about the possible impact of mercury in fish,” Stommel said in an American Academy of Neurology news release

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests that children and women of childbearing age eat two to three meals a week of fish like salmon, cod and sardines that are high in nutrients and lower in mercury. The FDA recommends against fish like shark, marlin and swordfish because of their higher mercury content.




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    1. Greg: The ALS connection is just one more reason to avoid fish among many, many reasons. Dr. Greger would not recommend any fish intake. Following is the NutritionFacts topic page for fish. Note the many problems with fish intake that are touched upon on just that one page. The page doesn’t even get into the issues with animal protein. http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fish/




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    1. I think it is definitely involved with breathing. When I let my breath out and keep it out for as long as I can stand it, the hiccups always stop. My brain gets the signal to stop everything and breathe again! Did you know that Pope John XXIII died from Hiccups? They gave him oxygen and it made them worse. He should have held his breath!




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    2. I learned that on my own when I was a kid. I noticed that I never caught the “beginning” of a hiccup. So I sort of meditated, carefully trying to catch the beginning. In doing so I naturally breathed very slowly. They seem to go away immediately with this technique. Glad you found it too!




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  9. 63 yo and been taking a tiny bite of a lemon or lime or a tiny sip of lemon/lime juice ALL MY LIFE!!! This has NEVER failed to stop my hiccups….NEVER!!!!!! Much better tasting than vinegar!




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  10. What works every time for me is to put a glass of water on a table and drink from it like a dog would, lapping it up, hands-free. I’m sure this has something to do with the change in breathing. My husband swears that a change in the weather (e.g. much colder weather) can trigger hiccups in him.




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  11. Dr G, it was a fun video, thanks! I chuckled throughout. I learn so much from the videos, it’s nice to have a ‘Now, for something different’ take on the wonder that is our bodies.




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  12. I have never met anyone with chronic hiccups.
    Every time I did meet a person with the problem, I have helped them end it with this–
    Simply suck in all the air you can take in.
    Fill your lungs –keep pulling air in.
    The lungs seem to expand and allow more air in as you hold your breath.
    Hold the air in as long as you can.
    That’s it! Worked every time.




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  13. Any suggestions for long-term hiccups? I’ve had one hiccup a day for several years. Not a “case” of the hiccups…one. Sometimes it is more than one per day, but it is rarely a string of hiccups. I asked my doctor about it and she said, “Well, that’s weird.” :)




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  14. Not with my digit, but I know a couple people who deserve this maneuver even if they don’t have hiccups!
    And sheesh lighten up people, cultivate some sense of humor, it’s a known life extender!




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  15. When I was little, my mom taught me three or four different hiccup remedies (eat peanut butter, drink water backwards, hold your breath, etc). Then she explained that it’s not so much WHAT you do, but that you believe it works.

    To test her theory, I made up a silly remedy. I’d say to her, “Mom, ask me if I have the hiccups.” She’d reply, “Vicki, do you have the hiccups?” “No, thank you very much, I don’t have the hiccups.”

    Believe it or not, that worked perfectly. The key, it seems, really is “belief,” probably combined with the concentration needed to pull off the remedy? I am not sure why, but I’ve been doing this ever since (getting someone to ask me if I have the hiccups, and then replying that no, I don’t have them) for 30 years now, and it’s never once failed me.




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  16. I’m all for comic relief, and the novelty of weird medical history, I just don’t think unexpectedly interjecting it into a nutrition facts video is the best venue. Maybe have a different category of videos for stuff like this, so long time devotees can enjoy the quirky side of the doctor Greger we know and trust. But as the name implies, people come here expecting nutrition facts. It’s hard enough to get people to take this diet seriously. If I were new to this information I would question the validity of the whole site with a video like this one floating around.

    But worse than all that (and I can’t believe I’m only the second commenter to say something about it), is the seriously disturbing mention of medically sanctioned sexual assault with a light hearted and comedic tone! WTF!?! Sure, you prefaced it with the word “disturbing” but the entire tone and purpose of the video is light hearted and comedic, unless you are a highly skilled comedian (and even then it’s questionable) you CANNOT mix sexual assault with comedy, it contributes to rape culture. A quick google search can explain it a lot better than I can. Sexual assault is SERIOUS, not light hearted. I repeat. Do not mix sexual assault and comedy! Especially if you’re a man! Geez, it’s 2017, I can’t believe I have to point this out.

    And if you think I’m over reacting I guarantee you I’m under reacting based on my previously high regard for Dr Greger. If you want to see reacting, just wait until a sexual assault organization finds this video. They love to expose stuff like this, especially from doctors, because the people who help us when we’re in vulnerable situations need to be held to higher standards than average people.

    Dr Greger, I suggest you delete this video before a sexual assault organization calls you out. It was very poor judgement and seriously offensive. I thought you were better than this, but now I’m questioning. Geez!




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    1. You should be offended at the medical research, but it’s pretty obvious Dr. G is isn’t making light of sexual assault, but rather pointing out how ridiculous and unethical the research was. He’s agreeing with you on how wrong it all was.




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  17. While watching the factoids before the commercial break on the the show “Science International: What Will They Think Of Next” there was a statement that the best cure for the hiccups is a sneeze…that was almost 40 years ago. It has worked every time and I get them a lot…spicy food, hard liquor, cold beer from a bottle, carrots, bread etc etc
    The problem is how to sneeze on command…another NF vid?
    The other option is take a deep breath-hold-swallow saliva three times…about 80% effective.




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  18. What has worked for me for 45 years is
    – to time how regularly the hiccups occur.
    – Then begin drinking a glass of water a few seconds just before the next hiccup is expected.
    – The idea is to be swallowing when the hiccup occurs.

    Swallowing during a hiccup re-sets the neural impulses of the phrenic and vagus nerves responsible for hiccups.
    This resetting occurs because you are contracting the tracheal muscles and diaphragm when a hiccup neural impulse arrives.




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  19. For the record and from my personal opinion: This website has covered topics such as cancer screenings, lotions for skin ailments, air fresheners, etc. It does not happen often, but covering non-nutrition topics is not a new idea for NutritionFacts. All of such videos do cover health related issues, however, and usually with a food element. I greatly appreciate getting solid health-related information on non-nutrition topics, especially when there is a food element, such as what we got in today’s video.

    In this case, the video has helped to satisfy my curiosity about hiccups and enlightened me to a history I had no clue about. Also, the various cures people are sharing in this discussion has been a big eye-opener for me. I thought my mom’s cure was the best, but now I’m thinking hard about the idea that we just need to concentrate on something to stop hiccups. Maybe it’s a brain problem more than a physical problem. I’m really interested in the idea of taking a sip of something sour too. I don’t get hiccups often, but I’m going to try vinegar or lemon juice the next time I do.

    As for people finding the video offensive: I find that reaction interesting, but not one that I share. As someone who is very familiar with Dr. Greger’s work, I know that Dr. Greger was using the tone at the end that he uses to point out something he thinks is completely ridiculous and does not agree with. He was not condoning the idea that doctors should pick certain patients to touch intimately. Dr. Greger was pointing out the absurdity of the idea. I had no problem with the content or the tone of this video, and I was prepared to be offended up front. I had read people’s comments before watching the video. I just do not see what you are seeing. That’s OK. I just want to give another perspective here for those who seem upset. This video does not have a one-way/right-way to interpret it. If this video bothers you, you know that future videos will likely be what you normally expect.

    I need to emphasis that this post represents my personal opinion.




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    1. Thea, I agree that Dr Greger was not “condoning the idea that doctors should pick certain patients to touch intimately”.

      Words and tone matter. So let’s explore. First, I think your words are interesting, “touch intimately” is not what we’re talking about. The woman in that study was sexually assaulted, let’s use the proper terminology so as not to dilute the seriousness of it. Because that’s entirely my point. When we use our words and tone to make sexual assault less serious we slowly contribute to a culture that allows a “boys will be boys” mentality. Regardless of intent, that is what this video has done. And just to be clear, I don’t think it was Dr Greger’s intent to do so. I think (I hope) he’s horrified that he’s done so.

      I am not the kind of person who likes to get into comment wars. But when I saw this video I had to speak up. My intent in speaking up is to point out to people that discussions of sexual assault should not be done in a casual and comedic way. They should be treated with the seriousness they deserve.

      I’m not surprised that some people will not be offended by this video. In fact, that’s also my point. Our culture has said this is not a big deal. Our culture is wrong. And pointing out the problems with videos like this is how we change culture for the better.

      This video made a lot of people laugh. I’m all for laughter. But when sexual assault is interjected into comedy it dilutes the seriousness of it. Regardless of intent, that is what has happened, and I think Dr Greger should apologize.




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      1. Christy: I respect your opinion. I just do not share it. You are entitled to your opinion, but so am I. I completely agree with you that sexual assault is a big deal. What I disagree with is that this video makes light of sexual assault. That’s the difference. As a female who is also very sensitive to this topic, my opinion is that there is nothing for Dr. Greger to apologize for.

        I commented originally, because 1) people were acting surprised that NutritionFacts covered the topic, when covering other health topics is not that unusual, and 2) I’m hoping that people who have strong feelings about this video may see that there are other legitimate ways to view the content of this video. I’m really not interested in getting into a debate about it.




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      2. One of the things I love about this site is Dr Greger’s reliance on fact and experts. So I challenge him to consult a Women’s Study expert to evaluate this video for appropriateness. An expert can explain it much better than I can.




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        1. There is nothing inappropriate about condemning unethical research, and that’s what Dr. G was doing.

          I know it’s not nice to hear about this kind of research, but we must be able to discuss this kind of information (without becoming insta-offended at the messenger) in order agree on how disturbing and unethical the research was.

          People need to learn to hold their offence and direct it in the appropriate direction. Should people be offended? Yes 100%. But not at the messenger. They however be offended at the researchers in the past.




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      3. I don’t have access to the paper, but based in what we could see the patient didn’t object to the treatment, anymore than the other example (that man who mas subject to rectal massage).

        I find both “treatments” extremely invasive, and in no way would have submitted to anything like that, but in both examples, there was nothing regarding objections from the patients. From the moment that is allowed is not assault. Do you really think is that different from “pelvic exams”? They would be completely inappropriate if wasn’t because people allow it for the sake of their health.

        Being that true or not, in my case I stand for the not…. But each individual should decide if its right for them or not.




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    2. Unfortunately we live in a world where people look for reasons to be offended as quickly as possible. They want to be offended, and become offended so fast that they aren’t able to understand the context or the information itself. And because of the speed of offence they lash out at the person delivery the information so that they can blame someone for something.




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  20. Taking a very deep breath and holding it until you cannot hold it any longer works every time for me. If it doesn’t, you are not holding it long enough! When you start to feel fear it will definitely work. I don’t think anyone has died from holding their breath, but fear and surprise seem to do something that causes hiccups to stop.

    Finally, eat less! Harahachibu i.e 80% of full stomach.




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  21. Chill. If you find this offensive, please don’t bother reading it! A bit of historical information and certainly not meant to be offensive. I appreciate the videos/written material. Many thanks.




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  22. This video had unnecessary info that was meant to titilate. I found it offensive.
    Get someone to sensitively edit your work, AND please return to shorter videos; 2-3 minutes max.




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  23. OK, I should get paid for this cure I am going to give you guys now>>> !!!! lol This works 100% of the time, not 99% !!! lol I have used this for over 40 years on people and I have never had it NOT work> NEVER ! lol To cure Hiccups instantly, you go grab a spoon. Dip it into your peanut butter jar, take a huge scoop and eat the whole thing at once.. Don’t lick it, don’t eat small bites> eat the whole thing fairly quick and it will be gone gone gone.. Done….
    100% cured!! Never fails.. It always stops the stomach contractions.. Always.. No medicine, no crazy cure standing on one leg, putting your head back gargling water, just good old peanut butter.. Glad i could help. this has been a great site to learn from and a great Doctor to teach us…




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  24. I loved this video. I cannot tell you how much i enjoyed it. Dr G has quite a dry way of editing this all together.

    That being said, about 15 years ago, my friend’a Macedonian grandmother taught us that hiccoughs can be relieved with 1 Tbsp vinegar. Works like a charm, immediately and fairly conistently. Although i must say I have found that it helps better with hiccoughs brought on by … excess drink… than by other means. That is to say that it worked well in my youth but I don’t find it as helpful these days. :)




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  25. This video was indeed offensive to woman just because of the lighthearted nature and that “grab her by the p*” attitude that seems to be “locker room talk” “boys will be boys” isn’t what I want when I come to seek knowledge. Nutrition facts has let me down. I want an apology. However unintentional, insensitivity that results in offending someone is grounds to look back over your work and see what went wrong.




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  26. I am an avid reader of NutritionFacts.org. I am delighted to find that D. Greger’s insights about diet and health are superb.

    Who’s to say that 170 years ago a digital rectal massage performed by a medical doctor was less offensive than exerting pressure on the female genitalia? The former still has a place in modern medicine, but the later did not survive the test of time for relieving unremitting hiccups.

    Had there not been such experimentation, bloodletting might have continued to the present day to be standard practice for therapy of many conditions.




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  27. Regarding the topic, I barely ever get hiccups but I found out this: If I am in a situation where I can concentrate, I try to relax, close my eyes, trying to visualize the areas that are contracting, keeping calm (meditate), after some seconds, sending a mental command to STOP to those areas. Most of the time it works. :)

    Since is not always possible to relax when hiccups attack, in those other cases trying to hold the breath, then breathing slowly also works.




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  28. When I get hiccups swallowing a spoon of peanut butter right out of the jar works every time.
    Nothing else has for me. I attribute it to the neural- muscular focus
    of peristaltic contraction to distract and reset some con joining nerve.
    (And, this MAY be the base of all the other “cures” as well – distraction.)
    Try it.




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  29. To cure my hiccups I drink water while pushing both lower ear folds inward so my hearing is very muffled. To achieve this I need help. I usually drink the water while my husband pushes my ear folds inward. This cures my hiccups with a 100% immediate effectiveness rate. I only get hiccups after eating dry toast. I can’t eat gluten so I toast GF bread if I’m going to travel or hike with it so it doesn’t crumble. I have often wondered if the cause is muscles affected by overly dry food passing through the esophagus together with stimulation of a nerve perhaps. Also I have wondered since my ears need to be closed, if the reason for the cure is pressure-related because it seems to restart whatever is going on with muscles of the esophagus (like a ripple effect). Anyway, it works every time for me.




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  30. I don’t get hiccups often….but I was happy when I got them yesterday! ….I went straight to the video….5 min long….and my hiccups stopped before I had a chance to try vinegar…then I got hiccups again this morning (weird for me – two days in a row!), and I took a small spoonful of apple cider vinegar after the first hiccup, and I didn’t hiccup again!!! Very cool! I love Dr Greger! AND team :)




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  31. I am surprised you did not mention the only real cure of hiccups I have ever heard about and used. When I was a young man attending University of Arizona I waited after class one day to discuss a specific questions with the professor. There were several students ahead of me in line when I got a very loud and persistent case of the hiccups.

    Seeing my embarrassment and distress someone also waiting in line introduced themselves as a medical student and gave a quick explanation that hiccups are an attempt for the body to reach some kind of equilibrium that a sudden change in blood-pressure will always immediately fix. He suggested that he should hold my place in line while I ran as fast as I can up and down the building hallway to get my heart rate and blood pressure elevated. He assured me if I did that I could return to my place in line and no longer have my loud audible and severe case of the hiccups.

    I was desperate because I had eaten some very hot hot-sauce prior to class and often after eating very hot chilis this would set-off insane hiccups that were nearly impossible to end (typically they would last for as long as an hour). So I set my books down and sprinted down the long building hallway back and forth twice (long enough I was breathing hard and could feel my elevated pulse). I returned very shortly to my place in line with no more hiccups.

    I don’t recall for sure but the student who was kind enough to help me might have been from Asia (and this may be why the medical data review offered here does not mention Asian understanding of hiccups and the cure by changing blood pressure). If you listen closely to Dr Gregor’s video many of the suggested cures for hiccups would in fact cause a sudden increase in blood pressure.

    I have used “running” as a quick way to stop hiccups dozens of times during my lifetime and it always works. One thing I have noticed since I also run as a hobby and sport that the more “fit” I am the more I have to run to stop the hiccups. When I was completely out of shape during my college years it didn’t take much effort to get my heart rate and blood pressure elevated.




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  32. I have a sure-fire painless cure for hiccups that I used as a kid, and that I teach my children. Have the person with hiccups drink a glass of water, slowly. While they’re drinking, another person stands behind them and holds, or closes their ears for a few seconds. If you do it properly, it works. Every time.




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  33. When I get hiccups, I take a napkin or paper towel and put it over a glass and drink a full glass of water through the paper towel. Pulling and sucking extra hard by drinking through the paper towel creates a “draw” on the stomach or diaphragm (no scientific evidence and I understand what “draw” is supposed to mean – it’s just what I was told and what has worked for me countless times)! The hiccups went away every single time except for one!




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  34. I think this hiccups video was well worth a few minutes. It was funny and interesting. The underlying point seems to be that medicine has a lot to learn even when facing common problems. Some “solutions” are far fetched, suggesting that doctors may be guessing or using ineffective treatments at times. This is in keeping with the information shared Dr. Greger has shared in the past. Maybe a little levity is also a good way not to die.

    I always thought a big glass of water cured hiccups most of the time. I will probably stick with that remedy.




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  35. I am really glad to see the video!
    I was WONDERING when someone would cop to apple cider vinegar.
    If I had a Ph.D I would do a study checking correlation between low stomach acid and hiccups.
    I noticed that they would often start after I took a calcium/magnesium supplemement. In addition to thinking I always had low stomach acid, I figured cal-mag must neutralize or use up stomach acid even more. Vinegar in water isn’t HCl, but it has done the trick for decades.
    Even after the tried and true high school breath-holding stopped working.
    I can’t BELIEVE more people haven’t figured this out.




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  36. I just watched your video on hiccups. My cure for hiccuping has successfully worked for over forty years. Others have tried it with the same consistent results. I did not learn about this cure in a book. I learned it through simple inductive reasoning in the midst of a hiccup session that was progressively causing me to become more agitated from the lack of relief. Hiccuping is a form of breathing. You cannot hiccup when you cannot breathe. So, I held my breath. That did not work. My mental desire to not hiccup while holding my breath was consistently over-ridden by the impulse to hiccup. Okay, I said to myself, I’ll try drinking a glass of water. Go ahead, I said to my lungs, try hiccuping with water passing down the throat. It worked! The trick is to start drinking just a few seconds before the next hiccup, and continue drinking for no less than 20 seconds. On a few occasions when my timing was off, the hiccups did return after the first try. No problem. Drink another glass of water for 20 seconds and make sure to start just a few seconds before the next hiccup. That was more than forty years ago and I have yet to fail on the first or second attempt. It’s simple physiology. One cannot hiccup when the body is “forced” to not breathe.




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    1. Ronald Gordon: Thanks for sharing. That was the same solution my mom shared when I was growing up. She had me hold my breath while drinking at least 10 swallows. :-) Like so many other ideas shared on this page, it works!




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      1. Many years ago my Uncle Tony told me to hold my breath and take three swallows of WARM water and do not breathe between swallows. This worked immediately for me. While I don’t know whether it is true or not, I once read that hiccups are a symptom of indigestion.




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        1. Leanda Zerbe: Thanks for sharing! So many of these tricks involve modifying or paying attention to the breath in one form or another. I had never heard the idea of linking hiccups to indigestion. That’s not something that makes sense to me, but who knows. There can be more than one cause of something and also many factors.

          It tickles my funny bone that we have so many methods to fix hiccups. It’s also convenient. If one method doesn’t work, try another… :-)




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          1. You’re welcome, Thea. I can remember getting hiccups after meals, but I can’t say that I’ve only had them after meals. I just had them one day this week after I ate lunch at work. They were very short lived and went away on their own this time before I left the lunch room. Didn’t need the warm water. (0:




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      2. That’s what I always do for hiccups. Have 9 sips of water while holding my breath. If 9 works, I suppose 10 would work as well. :-)




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        1. marlyse: I find that 10 can be hard to do! I think the goal is to do as many as one can. By the time one thinks one is going to drown, the body has given up on the hiccups. ;-)




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  37. Dear Dr. Greger,
    We have people dying in Arkansas, too. You haven’t been here since 2002. Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing areas in the country with over 500K residents, home to the world’s largest retailer in Walmart, the world’s largest meat producer in Tyson and the University of Arkansas. We need to be saved, as well.




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