Why Does Drinking Water Give Me a Stomach Ache?

by Jay | Last Updated:  Last updated on October 22nd, 2022,

Drinking too much water might cause gastrointestinal irritation and other symptoms.  It’s a little worrying if your stomach hurts after drinking water. Isn’t water, after all, healthy for you?


On the other hand, too much water, like anything else in life, can be harmful. Overhydration can lead to a variety of issues, including stomach irritability.

Yes, excessive water consumption can irritate the stomach and cause other problems. Consult a doctor if you have stomach pains after drinking water daily.

Stomach pains after consuming water

Do you get stomach pain after you drink water? Food is still in your stomach if you drink water after your meal. As part of the digestive process, the water fills your stomach, even more, increasing pressure and triggering the formation of more stomach acid.

Heartburn may occur when the stomach’s volume expands from food or fluids, and the stomach begins to produce acid to facilitate digestion.

Water has a considerably faster gastric emptying rate than solid food since it contains no nutritional components to break down for digestion. While this means that any discomfort induced by drinking water should be temporary, it’s worth noting that gastric emptying differs from one person to another.

Gender, menstrual status, and smoking status all affect solid gastric emptying, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility in July 2014. For example, men who smoked emptied their bladders faster than nonsmokers, and men, in general, emptied their bladders faster than women.

Women in the luteal phase of menstruation emptied their uteruses more slowly than those in the follicular or menopausal periods. The gastric emptying rate was unaffected by age, BMI, or alcohol use.

While there are no recommendations for how much plain water people should drink daily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim there are recommendations for daily total water intake.

Water absorbed from food, drinking water, and other liquids are called daily fluid intake. The amount depends on several circumstances, including age, gender, pregnancy, and nursing.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a sufficient daily fluid consumption for a healthy adult living in a warm environment is 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women and 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men, with food accounting for around 20% of the daily fluid intake.

Drinking too much water all at once might also induce stomach ache. Drinking a lot in one session is tempting if you’re behind on your daily intake. You should be aware, however, that drinking so much water at once carries some hazards.

Dangers of Excessive Water Consumption

Water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia, can occur when you drink too much water. Hyponatremia occurs when the body’s sodium levels are excessively low, according to the Merck Manual.

The cells must absorb the extra fluid, causing them to expand. In moderate situations, the swelling might produce confusion and weariness. Seizures, coma, or death may occur in more serious cases.

Drink little water throughout the day and only when thirsty to avoid water intoxication. The human body can only process a specific amount of water every hour. According to the National Kidney Foundation, drinking more than the body can tolerate can lead to various issues, particularly in people with kidney disease.

A possible reason for stomach pains after drinking water

It’s not uncommon to experience acidity in the stomach after drinking water, which is the core cause of most ailments you may be experiencing. However, just because something happens frequently does not mean you have to accept it and let it annoy you.

It would help if you tried to pinpoint what is causing your burning stomach sensation to determine the best therapy option. Here are a few possibilities for what’s causing this issue. If you suspect one of these conditions is affecting you, talk to your doctor for more information and ideas on how to cope with it at home.

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcers in the stomach can develop for a variety of reasons. They are frequently associated with stress, yet this isn’t the primary cause. If you have a stomach ulcer, the burning sensation you’re experiencing when you drink water is likely due to it.

Water can create acidity, which aggravates the ulcer and makes it ache and burn. If you have a stomach ulcer, your doctor will prescribe medication to help you get rid of it. Removing severe stomach ulcers may necessitate surgery, but not all of them do.

GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is also known as acid indigestion or reflux. The lower region of your esophagus is affected when you have this illness. When you have GERD, this section of your esophagus opens up more than it should, allowing acid from your stomach to rise.

This acid burns your esophageal lining, which can lead to cancer or other problems in this area of your body. In addition, drinking water might worsen if you have this condition, causing the stomach to create more acid.

Inflammation

There are various reasons why you could experience inflammation in your digestive system, ranging from the relatively common stomach illness to the serious Crohn’s disease and everything in between.

If you’re experiencing this, drinking cold water may help you relax; however, drinking hot water may induce a burning feeling. In addition, even cold water might aggravate the burning and agony of an inflamed stomach lining in certain persons with extremely sensitive digestive systems.

Irritable bowel syndrome

This illness causes inflammation in the intestines and the stomach and frequently occurs in conjunction with ulcers and GERD. IBS can be controlled with diet, exercise, and, in certain cases, stress management.

However, if you have IBS and are experiencing a particularly terrible episode, drinking water is likely to induce discomfort in your stomach or intestines and heartburn. Therefore, it’s critical to drink water slowly and at room temperature when you have IBS since this will help it go down easier.

Stomach aches from contaminated water

Yes, the quantity of water you consume is an important factor. However, water quality is also a significant consideration. If you have stomach aches, the source of your problem could very likely be the quality of your drinking water.

Drinking sterilized tap or well water can give you a stomach ache. Viral gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines, may be caused by untreated water.

A variety of viruses can produce stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea as a result of this infection. In addition, bacteria in the water, such as Salmonella and E. Coli, can induce the same symptoms. In most underdeveloped nations, the link between these microbial pollutants in drinking water and stomach pain is a significant problem.

Arsenic is another dangerous water contaminant that can induce stomach pains. Arsenic is a chemical element found in nature and can be found in the soil. Arsenic poisoning can cause headaches, stomach aches, convulsions, diarrhea, vomiting, and even death in some people.

While the EPA regulates arsenic levels in drinking water in most nations, there is no way of knowing how much arsenic is present in many water sources unless tested regularly. Therefore, a reverse osmosis water filtering system is the most effective approach to removing arsenic from water.

Allergic reactions to your municipality’s chemicals put into the water might also cause stomach problems. To protect against bacterial contamination, most cities and municipalities around the country will add abrasive chemicals like chlorine and chloramines to the water.

The harmful chemical fluoride, frequently added to tap water, is of special concern. Fluoride has some advantages in preventing cavities but is extremely deadly at greater concentrations.

Drinking fluoridated water at even the low levels set by their generally safe towns has caused stomach problems in certain particularly sensitive persons. In addition, because fluoride is highly hazardous, many people think that no amount of fluoride should ever be consumed by drinking water.

Those who suffer from stomach problems daily should have their water checked for toxins. If contamination is the problem, a reverse osmosis water purifier should be installed. Reverse osmosis systems can remove 90-99% of impurities such as arsenic, fluoride, and microorganisms that can cause stomach discomfort.

FAQs

What to do once I start feeling sick after consuming too much water?

Your body’s way of getting rid of a toxin is to vomit. Let’s say alcohol.  Rather than trying to stop yourself from puking, focus on making yourself feel better until your body has eliminated the alcohol.

Here are a few suggestions for reducing nausea and vomiting side effects:

  • First, rehydrate yourself by sipping modest amounts of clear drinks. Then, wait until you’ve had a chance to recover for roughly 30 minutes. Water, Pedialyte, Gatorade, and Powerade are all examples of transparent liquids. It also works with low-sugar ginger ale.
  • Rest as much as you can. On the day of a hangover, avoid overindulging.  You can feel better by sleeping it off.
  • Don’t drink the night again after a vomiting incident to give your stomach and body a break.
  • Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication that can help you feel better. The liver breaks down acetaminophen and is already busy taking down extra alcohol by-products. Therefore most doctors recommend ibuprofen over acetaminophen. On the other hand, Ibuprofen can irritate some people’s stomachs, so take it with small amounts of food.
  • Keep your energy levels up by eating little amounts of bland meals like toast, crackers, or applesauce. Wait a few minutes after you’ve vomited again to avoid triggering the vomiting reflex.

Is it safe for me to drink water from the tap?

With so much advertising for bottled water and water filtration systems, it’s reasonable if you’re wary of the water coming out of your kitchen faucet. Although some cities’ water contains trace amounts of pollution, most healthy adults may still drink from the tap in most areas—and tap water is still the most cost-effective and easiest option to stay hydrated.

Trendy bottled water brands continue to dominate supermarket shelves, but the environmental impact of all that plastic is considerable:

Apart from a large number of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions required to power manufacture and shipping, most plastic bottles end up in landfills rather than recycling bins. Because of these factors, many individuals prefer tap water.

While tap water quality varies by place, certain fundamental concepts apply in most cases and location-specific resources to help you decide whether tap water is good for you.

Final thoughts

A few things to consider while trying to figure out what’s causing your stomach to burn after drinking water. Of course, only a doctor can tell you what’s causing the problem, but it’s always a good idea to have some information to discuss your worries with your doctor.

And in some cases, these issues can be readily managed with over-the-counter medications, so you may never need to see a doctor unless the irritation persists. 

Jay

Self assessed Germaphobe, specializing in everything water, water filters, health and nutrition. Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I've acquired immense amount of knowledge when it comes to natural, biology, and everything about human anatomy.