Does Drinking Water Increase the Symptoms of Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus and causes a burning sensation called heartburn. Normally, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, keeps stomach acid in the stomach. Acid reflux occurs when the LES opens too often or does not close tight enough. Drinking plenty of water may help decrease symptoms of acid reflux.

Water and Acid Reflux

Drinking water helps neutralize and rinse out stomach acid that has refluxed into the esophagus. If you have acid reflux, drink at least six to eight glasses of water everyday before meals. Avoid drinking water during meal time as this can worsen acid reflux symptoms. Avoid drinking flavored water, alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee. These drinks can worsen symptoms of acid reflux.

Water and Meals

You need an acidic stomach environment in order to digest food. When you drink water with meals, stomach acid is usually diluted, which leads to incomplete digestion of food. Undigested food may stay longer in your stomach, which can increase acid reflux symptoms. Drinking water with meals also over fills your stomach, which can cause the LES muscle to open and allow stomach contents to leak into the esophagus.

Flavored Water and Acid Reflux

Flavored water contains added natural and artificial flavors, sweeteners, vitamins and minerals. Most people drink flavored water as a healthier alternative to carbonated beverages. You may experience increased symptoms of acid reflux when you drink flavored water. Artificial flavors and other additives in flavored water may irritate your stomach and esophagus. Drink pure water instead of flavored water.

Treatment

You can prevent acid reflux symptoms through modification of several dietary and lifestyle factors. Avoid or limit consumption of foods that irritate the esophagus and stomach. These foods include citrus fruits, citrus juices, tomatoes, tomato-based products, chocolate, peppermint, garlic, onions, spicy and fatty foods. Avoid or limit alcohol, carbonated drinks and caffeinated beverages. Eat small frequent meals instead of large meals and avoid lying down right after a meal. Avoid eating right before bedtime. Raise the head of the bed 4 to 6 inches with blocks to prevent nighttime reflux. Lose weight if you are obese because abdominal obesity worsens acid reflux.

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