You’ve just hiccuped for what seems like the 100th time. You start to wonder if they will ever stop. More important, you wonder what you can do to make the hiccups stop.

Before we explore the cure for hiccups, let’s find out what a hiccup really is.

When it comes to hiccups, the diaphragm is the culprit. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of your chest.

Normally the diaphragm works perfectly. As you inhale, it pulls down, helping your body draw air into your lungs. When you exhale, it moves up to force air out of the lungs.

Your diaphragm works hard day and night, and most of the time it goes unnoticed — at least until you are struck with a case of hiccups.

When the diaphragm becomes irritated, it jerks downward, causing you to suddenly draw air into your throat. The abrupt rush of air causes your vocal cords to close, causing a hiccup sound.

There are several things that irritate the diaphragm, including laughing too hard, drinking carbonated beverages, and eating or drinking too quickly or too much. Hiccups can also be a side effect of some prescription medicines.

In rare instances, hiccups can last for days or weeks. An American man named Charles Osborne had hiccups from 1920 to 1992. Charles’ 72 years of hiccups earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Another strange case of hiccups occurred when a man named Christopher Sands had hiccups for almost three years. Eventually doctors discovered Christopher had a tumor in the part of his brain responsible for muscle activity. Once the tumor was removed, Christopher’s hiccups disappeared.

So now that you have hiccups, what can you do to put an end to them?

The unfortunate truth is this: There is no one definite way to cure hiccups, but there are a lot of suggestions on how to try:

  • Hold your breath.
  • Drink water from the opposite side of the cup.
  • Put a pinch of sugar under your tongue.
  • Ask someone to scare you.
  • Gargle with ice water.
  • Pull out your tongue (this supposedly stimulates the “vagus nerve” and stops spasms of the diaphragm).
  • Breathe into a paper bag.


43 Join the Discussion

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    • Hello, Sofia! Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis today and leaving us a comment! Maybe next time your friend has the hiccups, you can show her this Wonder of the Day! :-)

  1. I still could not believe that Charles has hiccups for 68 years….sorry for him…Though, good to hear that he led normal life:)


    • Hi, Elango! Thanks so much for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! We were happy to hear that Charles led a normal life, too! :-)

    • Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis today and for sharing this great advice for trying to get rid of hiccups, ShiningLily! We appreciate your comment very much! :-)

    • Hi, Mike! Thank you so much for visiting this Wonder of the Day® and for pointing out that slight miscalculation! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

  2. I go nuts when I have the hiccups for more than two minutes! My favorite cure is one I found. You have somebody else cover your ears for you, and then drink an entire glass of water. I was amazed the first time it actually worked! Anyhow, at least I’m never as bad as Charles.

    • We sure are glad to hear that you don’t have the same problem that Charles had, Selma! :)

      Thanks for sharing the WONDERful cure you found– we will be sure to try it the next time we find our-(hic)-selves (hic-hic-..) hiccuping! :)

    • Well thanks for sharing your WONDERful comment about those pesky hiccups, Elsa! We hope you can put a stop to them the next time you get the hiccups– and now you know why they are there, too! Great work, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your SUPER comment, Dan! We are glad you learned something new about the human body and why we some-hic-times get -hic- the HICCUPS! Have a WONDERful day and we hope you’ll come back to visit us soon! :)

  3. I tried it out, and it worked!!!! I found another way to get rid of the hiccups, but I am not sure how to put a video on Wonderopolis, could someone help me???

    • Hi there, Arista! We’re so excited that you have found another way to get rid of those pesky hiccups! Only those at Wonderopolis can upload Wonder videos, but we are glad that you’re creating one of your own! We bet your family and friends would LOVE to see your video, especially if you are thinking of posting it to the Internet. We are glad that our Wonder inspired you to find a cure on your own– great work! :)

  4. Thanks for the info. You can also try having someone plug your ears for you and drinking a glass of water while they do… It’s a family favorite method ^_^ Source: here

    • Hiccups are no fun at all– we definitely agree, Carlos! Thanks for WONDERing with us! We hope this Wonder will help you the next time you’ve got the hic- the hic- the HICCUPS! :)

  5. My really good way to get rid of hiccups is to take 10 sips of water without breathing or pausing! It works every single time… I am dead serious.

  6. Had the hiccups for about 30 minutes and tried all of those things except for the paper bag. I looked up ‘ how to get rid of hiccups’ and it brought me here as I was looking for an alternative method. What do you know they went away as I was halfway through reading the article! So I guess thank you Wonderopolis I owe you one!!!

    • Hi cojack! How did you make everything smaller? Has this helped with your hiccups before? Thanks for commenting on this WONDER! :)

  7. I totally watched the video and it actually works what they did in the video. I’m so happy they are gone!! Thanks for making this site. Now I’ll remember how to get rid of them when I get them again sometime.

  8. Vagus nerve stimulation can improve hiccups, by irritating the pharynx through swallowing dry bread or crushed ice, or by applying traction to the tongue, or by stimulating the gag reflex.
    The bread part worked for me..

  9. I just held my breath, put my fingers in my ears, put my fingers behind my ears, and stuck out my tongue

    I was hiccuping like, once every 10 seconds or something. It completely stopped after I did this.

    Not sure, but I *think* this ridiculous technique is effective.

    I was only holding my breath before and that wasn’t helping, so it’s either the tongue, plugging ears, or massaging behind your ear earlobe against like, under your hear head. Or perhaps a combination.

    Well, good luck.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Josh! We appreciate you joining the discussion and sharing your thoughts with our WONDER friends! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is a hiccup?
  • What causes hiccups?
  • How do you get rid of hiccups?

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Think those suggestions are crazy? That’s only the tip of the iceberg!

How about sucking on a lemon? Drinking pickle juice? Doing math in your head? Eating yogurt? Those and many more can be found on this list of 40 Funny Ways to Cure Hiccups!

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