We know that there are obvious types of food that induce the nightmare that is heartburn. What heartburn, you may ask? It’s that creeping burning pain on your chest up to your throat that can make any day difficult. Now, is water helpful?
Water and heartburn
As per Dr. Abemayor, “heartburn is the sensation you get when stomach acid washes into your esophagus. In general, water can help if you have heartburn by moving acid back into the stomach.”
This is essentially true. In fact, Sang Hoon Kim, MD, chief of gastroenterology at New York-Presbyterian Queens, stated, “water raises the pH of your stomach, [meaning it] dilutes the acid, and helps neutralize and even clear the acid in your esophagus.”
Can water make symptoms worse?
Refractory acid reflux is the term used to refer to acid reflux that does not go away even with treatment. This means that acid reflux persists even upon consuming water and other food types. Anything that can trigger the stomach to work can induce the heartburn sensation. Thus, this includes water. To add to that, eating or drinking on a full stomach and then lying down can worsen the heartburn because the full belly pushes the acid back into the esophagus more.
What really is a heartburn?
Heartburn is not a rare case. About 60 million people in the U.S. suffer through this once a month at the very least while 15 million are said to experience heartburn everyday, according to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG).
But what really is a heartburn? This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between your esophagus and stomach, relaxes more than it contracts. In other words, it does not close the passageway the way it’s supposed to as per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
In a normally functioning digestive system, the food and liquid that’s already in the stomach should not be regurgitating back into the esophagus. But as discussed, if the sphincter between the two organs does not close, reflux takes place.
Heartburn is an unpleasant sensation felt behind the breastbone, neck, and throat. In a chronic state, this is diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While anyone can get heartburn, the following hold higher risks:
- Overweight or obese
- Smokers or secondhand smokers
- Takers of certain medications
According to NIDDK, the following can trigger a bout of heartburn:
- Tomato-based food
- Alcoholic drinks
- Greasy food
- Spicy food
The following are things anyone experiencing heartburn can try:
- Lifestyle change
- Diet change by limiting acidic foods
- Quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes
- Don’t eat for several hours before bedtime
- Elevate the head of your bed by 6 inches
- Take medications such as antacids
- Talk to your doctor
Why doctor do not recommend alkaline water
While an alkaline solution can neutralize fluid in your system in a matter of minutes, But, it will not solve the root cause of heartburn. It’s no different than taking a Tums or drinking a lot of milk—which some people with reflux like to do because milk is also slightly alkaline.
However, we recommend regular water intake, it will raise the pH of your stomach, dilute the acid, and clear out the esophagus—so there’s lots of good reasons to drink water in general, and to stay hydrated.
At the moment, alkaline water is more of a complementary medicine, the medical opinion is really lacking on alkaline water.
FDA does not regulate alkaline waters, thus, the true pH of the water may not even be how the company claims it to be. The esophageal lining is not designed to withstand excessive alkaline content which may also cause further irritation.
However, if you’re really eager to drink alkaline water, it’s best to talk to your doctor about the possible benefits and disadvantages. Heartburn is a debilitating problem during exacerbation so make sure you’re doing what helps! And when you are ready, check out our best alkaline water pitchers list.