How To End Hiccups Forever

Sarah McMahon
4 min readOct 12, 2018


Sometimes, when my tum-tum is empty and I decide to nosh on baby carrots, I get the hiccups. This only happens with raw carrots, which is weird and slightly discomfiting. It’s also annoying, because not only am I hungry, but I’m hiccuping and holding a half-eaten carrot, like the human-sized rabbit I truly am.

Everyone thinks they know the cure to hiccups: hold your breath, drink water, eat a spoonful of peanut butter, a spoonful of sugar, a spoonful of shut-the-fuck-up, Dave. Let’s take a deep dive into the world of hiccup cures, shall we?

Ways to heal your hiccups, according to Google:

Hold your breath.

Not too long or you’ll die.

Put a pinch of sugar under your tongue.

Stop doing this once you’ve consumed the entire sugar dish and continue to hiccup.

Ask someone to scare you.

This has been go-to hiccup advice for generations, and I for one, would like it to stop. First, if you ask someone to scare you, the scare is expected and therefore does not work. You will not be scared. Second, nobody needs that kind of pressure! Your friends and family already do enough for you, they don’t need the added burden of finding new, creative, elaborate ways to freak you out, especially if you’re someone who isn’t easily scared,.

Gargle with ice water.

Wait, water with ice? You’re supposed to gargle water+ice cubes? This seems like an ideal way to choke, and is an excellent example of questioning the content you find online, an extremely useful skill to hone, by the way.

Pull out your tongue.

With your hands. Make sure they are clean, please, and maybe do this in your closet, or some other very secluded locale. Pulling out your tongue supposedly stimulates your vagus nerve and stops spasms of the diaphragm. Don’t ask me where or what your vagus nerve is, or you’ll make me very angry.

Breathe into a paper bag.

Doing this will cause you to consume more CO2, or Carbon Dioxide, which “puts out” your hiccups. Like a fire extinguisher “puts out” that burning pizza you left in the oven while you were consumed by this riveting literature. I’m not a huge fan of the bag method because it reminds me of throwing up on an airplane, something I’ve (knock on wood) never done.

Cover your mouth.

Like covering your mouth while coughing or sneezing, which you should all be doing, but which some of you are not. Apparently, covering your mouth has the same effect as breathing into the bag — trapping carbon dioxide and extinguishing those nasty hiccups.

Use your hands.

Apparently, if you squeeze the ball of your left thumb between your right thumb and forefinger, you trick your brain into focusing on the discomfort of your hand-squeeze, which affects your nervous system and stops the hiccups. Maybe? Someone try this and let me know if it works.

Drink some H2O.

Okay, thanks for the old news, Google. Instead of pounding down a glass of water, consider taking nine or ten small, quick sips, and commence the hiccuping, because everyone knows that shit doesn’t work.

In all my (very intense) research into hiccup cures, I came away with an overarching lesson: there are two things that are proven to stop hiccups. The first is raising levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, and the second is stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the stomach. Both methods relax the diaphragm. I’m not sure why these remedies work, but they do.

I had an opportunity to test my research the other morning. It was a Saturday, and I did nothing but read and drink coffee all morning until going to the gym, where I did an interval workout on the elliptical, followed up by some very sophisticated and strategic weight lifting moves. When I finally got home by tum-tum was very grumbly. While I waited for some sourdough to toast, I munched on a very large carrot, which looks a bit phallic if you tilt your head just right. Sure enough, halfway through my carrot, I felt it coming: the huge, horrible, inevitable hiccup. Shit balls. I jumped into action, sticking my head into a paper Trader Joe’s bag and taking deep, deep breaths, like I had to do when uncle Jorge dumped me off the edge of his fishy dingy and I almost drowned. Within minutes, my hiccups dissipated. Ce la vie, my bitches.

P.S. I don’t actually have an Uncle Jorge, but it’d be neat if I did.


Sarah Rose