Aug 21, 2015

How to Stop Hiccups

Hiccups are caused by a spasm in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates your thorax (including your lungs and heart) from your abdomen (including your stomach and intestines). When you breathe in, your diaphragm contracts and pulls down and becomes flat in order to make room for more air in the lungs. When you breathe out, your diaphragm expands and forces air out of your lungs.

During a hiccup, your diaphragm spasms causing you to take a quick breath in. This breath in is then interrupted by the epiglottis closing and causing a “hic” sound. (FYI, the epiglottis is a flap that covers the space between the vocal cords).


It is possible to stop them within 60 seconds or so by swallowing a teaspoon filled with dry sugar. Specialists believe the abrupt sweetness on the tongue overloads the nerve endings in the mouth and blocks the hiccup spasm.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and also found on Medicine.net showed when a spoonful of granulated sugar is eaten, it was found to be effective in 19 out of 20 patients.