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Why Does Drinking Water Make Me Nauseous

by Clara Wynn
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Why Does Drinking Water Make Me Nauseous

Why Does Drinking Water Make Me Nauseous

Why Does Drinking Water Make Me Nauseous? Have you ever felt so thirsty that you drank a glass or two of water, only to find yourself feeling nauseated? It’s happened to all of us at some point in our lives, but what if it happens more than once and your doctor can’t determine why? If you’re like me, you may have tried drinking another type of beverage such as soda, coffee or tea instead of plain old H2O — and found relief. But what if these beverages don’t help either? And what about those times when you think you’re just “parched” from dehydration, yet suddenly get queasy after sipping on a tall glass of water?

I know I’ve experienced this nausea-water phenomenon many times over my lifetime. Typically, water doesn’t make people ill unless there is an underlying issue. In fact, most of us drink far too much water and probably need to cut back. However, there are also cases where consuming water actually makes someone feel worse. So, how do we figure out which category applies to you? And should you simply stop using water altogether?

If you’re still confused, let’s take a look at why consuming water might make you feel bad. The first thing to consider is whether you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acid flows upward into the esophagus. This causes heartburn, chest pain and other symptoms similar to indigestion. When patients with GERD consume food and fluids, they often experience burning sensations within their upper abdomen. These symptoms include bloating, burping, belching and flatulence. Since water contains no fat or oils, it won’t affect GERD sufferers in any way. On the contrary, for people who already struggle with GERD, drinking lots of water could potentially worsen their discomfort. Why? Researchers aren’t sure, but suspect that increased salivation caused by drinking large amounts of water could lead to further irritation.

Another possible reason why drinking water makes some people feel poorly relates to the consumption of alcohol. People who binge drink tend to become dehydrated because they fail to replenish lost fluid throughout the day. Alcoholic drinks contain high levels of sugar, which draws water away from the body and leads to dehydration. Dehydration can result in headaches, dizziness, weakness and nausea. Again, water isn’t the culprit; rather, it’s the alcohol itself that has taken hold. One solution would be to switch to nonalcoholic versions of alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine and liquor. Or better yet, choose distilled spirits over hard liquors like rum, vodka and whiskey.

In rare instances, drinking water can irritate the lining of the digestive system. For example, if you frequently use laxatives, enemas or colon cleanses, then drinking water while doing them could trigger diarrhea or constipation.

Similarly, if you have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or diverticulosis, and you regularly ingest fiber supplements, then drinking water could upset your digestion. Lastly, if you have diabetes and you’re diabetic ketoacidosus, then drinking water can raise blood glucose levels. To avoid this potential problem, wait until your bowel movements return to normal before you drink anything else, especially liquids.

Despite the above examples, drinking water will likely never cause anyone to vomit uncontrollably. Vomiting is usually a sign something is wrong, and thus requires medical attention. In short, if you’re experiencing chronic bouts of nausea and vomiting, consult your physician immediately.

The next time you feel queasy after drinking water, consider cutting down on sugary drinks. While sweetened carbonated sodas and juices are tasty, they can also wreak havoc on your digestive system. Artificial sugars can trigger insulin spikes that drive up blood sugar levels. When blood sugar gets too high, the pancreas releases the hormone glucagon, which forces cells to convert stored glycogen into plasma glucose.

High levels of glucose can damage intestinal walls and aggravate existing conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Plus, excess carbohydrates contribute to weight gain, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, if your goal is to improve overall health, keep sugary drinks off your menu entirely. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives like sparkling water, unsweetened teas and fruit juice.

To prevent dehydration, experts recommend drinking eight glasses of fluid each day. Of course, everyone’s tolerance level varies, so monitor your own thirst cues and hydrate accordingly.

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