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Special ‘straw’ shows promise as a cure for hiccups

Woman hiccuping

Everyone has a favourite home remedy for hiccups, from holding your breath to biting a lemon or drinking from the far side of a glass, but a new invention may be more effective than all our home ‘cures’, according to new research.

A specialised drinking tube patented and branded as the ‘HiccAway’ offers promise as an effective tool to stop hiccups.

The so-called ‘forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool’ (FISST) has an inlet valve that requires suction effort to draw water from a glass. The pressure contracts the diaphragm and closes a small, movable flap above the larynx called the epiglottis, which can stop hiccups.

A small 249-participant experimental study, published in JAMA Network Open, found the FISST stopped hiccups in nearly 92 per cent of cases and was rated higher compared with home remedies.

Study limitations

The study was small and further ‘gold standard’ randomised clinical trials will be needed as the next step to fully test the new tool’s efficacy, but the University of Texas researchers are optimistic it may prove to be an easy-to-use and safe tool for relieving transient hiccups.

What are hiccups?

Hiccups result when the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, which regulate your breathing, contract involuntarily and repetitively out of their usual rhythm.

What causes hiccups?

Hiccups can occur after eating and drinking (gastric distention), because of metabolic irritation through alcohol or cigarette smoke, some infections, strong emotions like excitement or, in very rare cases, because of neurological disease.

What foods cause hiccups?

Hot, acidic or spicy food or very cold liquids can irritate nerves near the oesophagus called the phrenic and vagus nerves, which may cause hiccups in some people.

Anything that causes your stomach to distend, such as eating a lot or very quickly in one sitting, swallowing a lot of air while eating, or drinking carbonated beverages, can trigger hiccups.

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