Why Does Drinking Water Make Me Nauseous

Why Does Drinking Water Make Me Nauseous?

Are you getting acid pain, feeling like your stomach is a half-full water balloon, and you feel like you are about to throw up every time you drink water?

Does that feeling refuse to go away and keep getting triggered the next time you attempt to hydrate? Maybe it is just an urge to throw up after a cup of water that you keep brushing off, hoping it will go away.

First of all, you should know that nausea is a symptom of an underlying condition. Whether the feeling is starting at the back of your throat or right at the center of your tummy, making your stomach uneasy. It is your body communicating to you by reacting to something intrusive.

It can be a temporary problem or a sign of a bigger health condition that needs to be attended immediately. Let’s look at probable causes as to why drinking water makes me nauseous.

water splash

Drinking Contaminated water

Nausea could be an extension of your body’s sensitivity to a contaminant in the water that you are drinking. Certain compounds in the water leave lingering odors and tastes in it.

Check out your water source. Try switching the water source to establish if the nausea is consistent or only comes up when you drink from a certain source. Try bottled water. If you drink tap water, boil the water to destroys microorganisms and take out the chlorine taste and odor. Ask the people sharing the water source if anyone else is afflicted.

You can also get a water purity testing kit and test the contamination levels of the water if you think there is a chance you may be consuming contaminated water.

Drinking Water On a Full Stomach

If you are drinking water immediately after a meal, chances are you are uncomfortably full.

It Is the Food Making You Sick, Not the Water

You may fail to realize that the source of your discomfort is actually the food you ate before you picked up that glass of water. You might have had a large greasy meal a while back whose effects come to the fore when you pick up the glass.

It can also be an allergic reaction to something in the food like certain proteins, lactose, or gluten that you were not aware of at the time.

It is handy to keep a food diary that will help you establish patterns and identify triggers.

Water Intoxication

There is such a thing as overhydrating, the condition where your body is holding on to more water than the kidney can remove. The body will malfunction because you have too much water in your bloodstream.

This can lead to water intoxication and accompanying conditions like hyponatremia, whose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, cramps, fatigue, etc. It can make you sick to the extent of getting hospitalized.

Overhydrating also reduces sodium concentration in the blood, which is known to cause swelling of the brain.

One of the causes is drinking too much water quickly without giving the body time to adjust.

Chugging Water

Drinking water too fast will get you nauseated. A sign that your digestion is not working properly and there is too much water in your stomach all of a sudden. Sometimes you will even hear it sloshing around inside there.

This causes indigestion because you ingest a lot of air along with the water, making you feel bloated and uncomfortable. The presence of excess air in your digestive system is a recipe for indigestion. It will also dilute your stomach acid

Electrolytes like sodium are important in the body as they protect you from water intoxication. Too much water in your body too fast will interfere with their ratio, making you weak and sick.

Big plastic bottles with water on the table


Drinking Water Too Fast While Dehydrated

Your thirst might lead you to want to chug an entire pitcher after a gym session or on a particularly hot day. As much as you are parched, it is advisable to resist the urge to drink a lot of water at once because you are thirsty.

Go slowly and rehydrate with time if you feel particularly dehydrated. You can even diversify your hydration sources and throw in some fruits as well. This way, you hydrate while regulating water intake.

The Body Is Processing the Water You Drank On an Empty Stomach

Your body inputs some energy into processing anything you ingest, even water. If you drink water on an empty stomach, there is no food to fuel this energy, and the body looks for alternative energy sources to deliver the water to where it is needed.

Because you haven’t eaten anything, it will resort to rerouting energy from other bodily functions. The sudden withdrawal of energy will make you weaker, lightheaded, dizzy, and, you guessed it, nauseous.

This is why you find juice or soda very palatable when you are hungry. They contain sugar, and your body will be jouncing at any available energy source.

Other Digestive Problems

There can be underlying conditions just being brought to light, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. They can also make you feel giddy or nauseous after drinking water.

Even some less severe conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) causes stomach acid to flow up to the esophagus, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth that will cause nausea, heartburn, acid indigestion, and even make you vomit.

There is a high possibility these will be the source of your nausea if you have ever been diagnosed with any one of them. Visceral hypersensitivity is a classic symptom of IBS, which might explain the reaction to water.

If you already suffer from digestive disorders or heartburn, they will be aggravated when you drink water on an empty stomach, and you will feel worse. It affects the acids in your stomach, and if you already suffer from acid reflux, it will worsen with water in your stomach and nothing else. Nausea will be accompanied by painful belching and burping accompanied by bloating and stomach pain

Diluted Stomach Acid

These acids usually break down what you consume so that they can be easily digested. If you have a lot of water and no food in your stomach, the acids will become weakened such that they lose their strength to break food.

Anything you ingest will no longer agree with your digestive system, which may cause nausea. If you normally have acid reflux, the irritated food pipe lining will generate a bitter taste in your mouth along with other symptoms like coughing, burping, bloating, heartburn, abdominal discomfort, and nausea.

Drinking Techniques

It is clear from the above causes that a huge part of the problem can be attributed to how we drink water. We need to address this bit as it is within our control and can save many discomforts.

Here are a few tips on how you should it so that drinking water doesn’t make you nauseous.

  • Start with a little water daily, take small sips and a deep breath in between the sips, sweetening with honey or sugar
  • Drink small sips of water throughout the day instead of trying to gulp it all at once
  • Chew on ice chips if you feel nauseated. This actually rehydrates you without filling your stomach with excess water
  • Add a splash of juice or fruit in the water to add some flavor
  • Balance your water intake with your food intake. Don’t drink too much water on an empty stomach or a full stomach (also eat healthy and control your portions).
  • Room temperature water may be easier for your body to handle than ice cold or warm water.
  • Try other options like alkaline or mineral water to see if there is a difference
  • Ensure the water you are drinking is safe. Test the contamination level and purify it before consumption if needed.

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Getting Rid of Nausea

Most of the time, you will be unable to immediately determine the exact trigger of nausea, but you need to feel better fast to continue being functional.

We came up with a few fixes you can use to make it go away after drinking water. They may not have the same effect on everyone, but you should not miss something that works for you in this list.

Avoid Crunching Your Stomach After Drinking Water

This triggers the gastric juices to act, and they will rise and cause nausea. Limit your movement for a short while after drinking water.

Get Fresh Air

This can relax your nerves and calm you down, which goes a long way in taming nausea

Use a Cool Compress

This is a non-pharmaceutical intervention to the increased body temperature that is created by nausea. It can be in the form of a cold towel that you hold at the back of your neck for a few minutes to provide relief.

Pressure Therapy

The pressure point for nausea is the inner wrist. You can press against it with the opposite hand, change hands and repeat for the other hand for a few minutes until the feeling subsides.

Controlled Breathing

Take deep, slow breaths through your nose, holding it in for a few seconds before letting it out again. This is a tested exercise for relieving nausea. Keep going until the urge passes.

Find a Distraction

Taking your mind off it is a very effective way of managing nausea. The more you think about it, the worse the feeling becomes. Distract yourself by watching television, reading a book, chewing gum, or any other activity you can manage under the circumstances.

Go for Lemons

They have citric acid, which facilitates digestion and has a soothing effect on the stomach, stimulates bowel movement, and will provide an alternative refreshing taste in the mouth. Drink some warm lemonade or lemon juice.

Use Ginger

It is an antiemetic, meaning it is effective against vomiting and nausea, so it is recommended for motion sickness and other unsettling situations. If you can’t stomach chewing a piece of ginger directly, drink some ginger tea and see how it works.

What to Do When You Need to Sleep

Vomiting in your sleep is dangerous because you may choke on it and introduce a whole set of new complications. There is a need to manage your nausea if it starts when you are about to sleep.

Raise your head high on a pillow to keep the acid from coming up to your throat. This position will also minimize the probability of choking.

Drink a sweet liquid to alleviate nausea, or use peppermint.

Knowing why you have been feeling nauseous, to begin with, is the first step towards preventing future occurrences and getting the right help if it comes to that. We strongly recommend that you talk to your healthcare provider if the symptoms persist.

However, you should not be automatically alarmed as it is often not an indicator of a major ailment. We felt the need to write this piece should encourage you with the knowledge that you are not alone in this.

Amanda Perkins

Amanda began her career as a technical writer for a healthcare group in 2008. Years after getting married and starting a family, she joined her husband Joshua on the Water Filter Authority journey to educate other families and households about safe, affordable, and effective water filtration systems.