How to Get Rid of Hiccups When Drunk

Discover effective ways to get rid of hiccups when drunk. From holding your breath to sipping cold water, conquer those hiccups like a pro!

December 28, 2023

The Anatomy of Hiccups When Drunk

Hiccups can be an annoying and uncomfortable experience, especially when you're enjoying a few drinks. Understanding the causes and nature of hiccups when drunk can help you find effective ways to get rid of them. Let's explore the science behind hiccups and the factors that contribute to hiccups when intoxicated.

Understanding Hiccups

Hiccups are involuntary contractions, or spasms, of the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle located below the lungs that plays a crucial role in the breathing process. When hiccups occur, the diaphragm contracts suddenly, causing a characteristic "hic" sound as the air rushes into the vocal cords.

Hiccups are typically harmless and self-limited, lasting only a few minutes. However, they can be bothersome, especially when they persist for an extended period. Hiccups usually resolve spontaneously, but there are various techniques you can try to alleviate them.

Causes of Hiccups When Drunk

When it comes to hiccups when drunk, there are several factors that can contribute to their occurrence. Alcohol consumption can affect the normal functioning of the body, potentially triggering hiccups. Some common causes of hiccups when intoxicated include:

  1. Irritation of the Phrenic Nerve: The phrenic nerve plays a vital role in controlling the movement of the diaphragm. Alcohol consumption, especially in excessive amounts, can irritate the phrenic nerve, leading to diaphragm spasms and hiccups.
  2. Gastroesophageal Reflux: Alcohol can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscular ring that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This relaxation can result in the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, causing irritation and triggering hiccups.
  3. Changes in Breathing Patterns: Alcohol can affect the respiratory system, altering breathing patterns and potentially leading to hiccups. Irregular breathing, such as rapid or shallow breathing, can disrupt the normal coordination of the diaphragm and contribute to hiccups.
  4. Stimulation of the Vagus Nerve: The vagus nerve is a major nerve that connects the brain to various organs, including the diaphragm. Alcohol consumption may stimulate the vagus nerve, leading to diaphragm spasms and hiccups.

Understanding the underlying causes of hiccups when drunk can help you identify strategies to alleviate them. In the following sections, we will explore various techniques and preventive measures to manage hiccups when enjoying a few drinks.

Techniques to Get Rid of Hiccups When Drunk

Hiccups can be an annoying and uncomfortable experience, especially when you're intoxicated. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can try to alleviate hiccups and find relief. Here are some effective methods to get rid of hiccups when drunk:

Holding Your Breath

One of the most common techniques to stop hiccups is holding your breath. To try this method, take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you comfortably can, ideally aiming for around 10-20 seconds. This helps regulate your breathing pattern and can interrupt the hiccup reflex. After holding your breath, exhale slowly and resume normal breathing. If this method doesn't work on the first attempt, you can try it a few more times until the hiccups subside.

Another technique to try is drinking a glass of water quickly or sipping on ice-cold water to help soothe the diaphragm and potentially stop the hiccups. You could also attempt swallowing a spoonful of sugar or gently biting on a lemon wedge as alternative methods that may help interrupt the hiccup cycle.

Additionally, some people find relief by pulling their knees up to their chest and holding them there for a short period or by applying gentle pressure to the area just below the breastbone. These methods may help stimulate the diaphragm and reset the hiccup reflex.

Keep in mind that what works for one person might not be effective for another, so you may need to experiment with different techniques until you find one that works best for you.

Drinking Water

Drinking water is another simple and widely used method to stop hiccups. To try this approach, take small sips of water without pausing between them, making sure to drink a full glass of water in one go if possible. This helps to stimulate the muscles involved in swallowing and can interrupt the hiccup cycle. Drinking water may also help soothe any irritation in the esophagus, which can contribute to hiccups.

You can also experiment with different variations of the water-drinking method. One option is to drink ice-cold water, as the cold sensation may help reset the diaphragm and stop the hiccups. Alternatively, you could try sipping water through a straw while plugging your ears or pinching your nose closed. These additional actions can help further interrupt the hiccup reflex by involving more muscles and bodily senses.

Another example is to drink water from the opposite side of the glass. To do this, bend over at the waist and attempt to drink from the farthest lip of the glass without spilling. This unconventional method forces your body into an unusual position and can potentially break the hiccup cycle.

As with other hiccup remedies, what works for one person might not work for another, so it's essential to be open-minded and try different techniques until you find one that effectively stops your hiccups.

Swallowing Granulated Sugar

Some people find relief from hiccups by swallowing a teaspoon of granulated sugar. The granules of sugar stimulate the vagus nerve, which plays a crucial role in controlling hiccups. To try this method, take a teaspoon of sugar and let it dissolve on your tongue before swallowing. The sudden sweetness can help shock your system, potentially disrupting the hiccup reflex.

Other substances can be used similarly to stimulate the vagus nerve and interrupt the hiccup cycle. For instance, you could try swallowing a spoonful of honey or maple syrup instead of sugar. These sweet alternatives provide the same sensory impact and may be more palatable for some individuals.

Another option is to use a sour substance, such as vinegar or lemon juice. Take a small sip of either liquid or suck on a lemon wedge, allowing the tartness to stimulate the vagus nerve and potentially disrupt the hiccup reflex. This method may be particularly effective for those who find that sweet substances do not work for them.

It's important to note that these techniques may not work for everyone, but they're worth a try if you're looking for natural remedies to stop hiccups. Be open to experimenting with different substances and flavors until you discover an effective solution for your hiccups.

Sipping Cold Water

Similar to drinking water, sipping cold water can help interrupt the hiccup reflex. The cold temperature can provide a shock to the system and divert the focus away from hiccups. Take small sips of cold water, letting it flow slowly down your throat. This method may be particularly effective if the hiccups are triggered by irritation or inflammation in the diaphragm or esophagus.

Breathing into a Paper Bag

Breathing into a paper bag is a technique that can help regulate your breathing and potentially stop hiccups. Place a small paper bag over your nose and mouth, ensuring that it's not too tight. Breathe slowly and deeply into the bag, focusing on your breath. This can help increase the carbon dioxide levels in your body and relax the diaphragm, potentially stopping hiccups.

Gargling with Water

Gargling with water can provide relief by stimulating the nerves in the throat and interrupting the hiccup reflex. Take a small sip of water and gargle for a few seconds before spitting it out. Repeat this a few times until the hiccups subside. Gargling may also help to soothe any irritation in the throat, which can contribute to hiccups.

While these techniques can be effective for many people, it's important to remember that individual results may vary. If your hiccups persist or become particularly bothersome, it's recommended to seek medical attention. Persistent hiccups or hiccups accompanied by unusual symptoms may require further evaluation.

Prevention Tips for Hiccups When Drunk

Experiencing hiccups when drunk can be an unpleasant and inconvenient side effect of alcohol consumption. While hiccups are generally harmless, they can be bothersome and disrupt your enjoyment. Fortunately, there are several prevention tips you can follow to minimize the occurrence of hiccups when drunk.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption

One of the primary ways to prevent hiccups when drunk is by practicing moderation in your alcohol consumption. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to various physiological effects, including hiccups. By pacing yourself and consuming alcohol in moderation, you can reduce the likelihood of experiencing hiccups. It's also important to be aware of your tolerance level and know when to stop drinking to avoid overindulgence.

Avoiding Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated drinks, such as soda or sparkling beverages, can contribute to hiccups when drunk. The carbonation in these drinks can cause the stomach to become distended, leading to irritation of the diaphragm, which is one of the main muscles involved in the hiccup reflex. To minimize the risk of hiccups, it's advisable to avoid or reduce your consumption of carbonated beverages while drinking alcohol. Opt for non-carbonated alternatives like water or fruit juices instead.

Eating Slowly and Mindfully

Eating too quickly or consuming large meals while drinking alcohol can increase the chances of hiccups. When you eat rapidly, you may swallow excess air, which can trigger hiccups. To prevent this, try to eat your meals slowly and mindfully. Take smaller bites, chew your food thoroughly, and savor each mouthful. By practicing mindful eating, you can reduce the likelihood of hiccups occurring when you're enjoying a drink.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can contribute to the occurrence of hiccups, even when drunk. When you're feeling stressed or anxious, your body may go into a heightened state, potentially triggering hiccups. Engaging in stress-reducing activities, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or engaging in hobbies, can help calm your mind and minimize the chances of hiccups. Additionally, surrounding yourself with a positive and relaxed environment can also contribute to a more enjoyable drinking experience.

By following these prevention tips, you can reduce the likelihood of experiencing hiccups when drunk. Remember to drink alcohol responsibly and be aware of your limits. If hiccups persist or become persistent and bothersome, it's advisable to seek medical attention.

When to Seek Medical Attention

In most cases, hiccups when drunk are temporary and resolve on their own. However, there are instances when hiccups persist or are accompanied by unusual symptoms, which may require medical attention. It's important to be aware of these situations to ensure your well-being.

Persistent Hiccups

If your hiccups continue for an extended period, typically lasting longer than 48 hours, it's advisable to seek medical attention. Persistent hiccups, also known as intractable hiccups, may be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. For instance, prolonged hiccups can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diabetes, or even a brain tumor. The healthcare provider can assess your symptoms, evaluate your medical history, and conduct necessary tests, such as blood tests or imaging studies like an MRI or CT scan, to determine the cause of the prolonged hiccups. It's important not to ignore persistent hiccups, as they may indicate an underlying issue that requires prompt medical intervention. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and improve your overall health.

Unusual Symptoms Accompanying Hiccups

If your hiccups are accompanied by unusual or severe symptoms, it's important to seek immediate medical attention. Unusual symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Vomiting or blood in vomit
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Hoarseness or changes in voice

These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition that requires medical evaluation. It's crucial not to dismiss these symptoms as they may be unrelated to hiccups and could be indicative of a medical emergency.

While hiccups when drunk are often benign and subside without medical intervention, it's important to recognize when seeking medical attention is necessary. Persistent hiccups lasting more than 48 hours or hiccups accompanied by unusual symptoms should never be ignored. Consulting a healthcare professional can help identify any underlying conditions and ensure appropriate treatment.


In summary, hiccups when drunk can be an unpleasant and bothersome experience. Understanding the causes and implementing effective techniques to alleviate them can make a significant difference in your enjoyment of social gatherings and alcoholic beverages. By practicing moderation, avoiding carbonated drinks, eating mindfully, and managing stress, you can reduce the likelihood of experiencing hiccups while intoxicated.

However, it's crucial to recognize when hiccups may indicate a more serious underlying issue or require medical attention. If hiccups persist or are accompanied by unusual symptoms, seeking professional advice is essential for maintaining your well-being. Stay aware of your body's signals and drink responsibly to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both yourself and those around you.


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