Hiccups are caused by an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen.
When the diaphragm spasms, the vocal cords snap shut, producing the classic hiccup effect.
Common causes of hiccups include eating or drinking too quickly, swallowing air with food, drinking carbonated or alcoholic beverages, and smoking.
Most bouts of hiccups last only a short time, and they often go away on their own, but if you want to hasten their departure, try this partner-based strategy. It’s one of the most effective hiccup cures we’ve found.
- Pour yourself a tall glass of water (preferably room temperature).
- Have a friend stand behind you and plug your ears by pressing your ear tabs inward until tightly sealed.
- Take a deep breath and hold it.
- While holding your breath, drink the entire glass of water. No breath should come in or out. (If you are tempted to breathe through your nose, pinch it shut.) When the water’s gone, resume normal breathing.