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Does Holding Your Breath Stop Hiccups?

A woman holds her breath and has a hand over her face.
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Everyone knows it. Hiccups are an incredibly frustrating experience. While many people have their go-to remedies for stopping them, it’s so hard to learn how to stop hiccups every time they come around. A remedy that works for you once sometimes doesn’t work again.

One popular home remedy for curing hiccups is to hold your breath. But does this method actually work? Maybe.

The truth is that there simply isn’t enough scientific research to definitively say whether or not holding your breath can stop hiccups, but some people still swear by this particular method.

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The theory behind this method suggests that holding your breath increases the amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream, which may help relax the diaphragm (which is responsible for hiccups). For some people, this hiccup cure can work.

However, others suggest that holding your breath can actually make hiccups worse since it causes your body to tense up. There are other methods, though, like drinking a glass of water quickly or breathing into a paper bag.

While breathwork techniques are great for some things—and may work for some people to cure the hiccups — it’s simply not a guaranteed hiccup blocker. It’s always a good idea to have a few different remedies on hand to try when the next bout of hiccups strikes.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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