Acid reflux is a common health condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. It leads to affected individuals experiencing discomfort and a burning sensation known as heartburn. Though there are various treatments recommended for managing this condition, many people wonder, “Does water help acid reflux?” To effectively manage acid reflux, it’s important to understand how hydration affects the symptoms this condition causes.

How Does Water Help Acid Reflux?

Before exploring the benefits of drinking water to manage acid reflux, covering the causes of acid reflux is a must.

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a small ring of muscle that serves as a valve between the esophagus and stomach. When this ring functions correctly, it opens to allow food into the stomach, then closes to prevent stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus. However, if the LES is weak or becomes too relaxed, acid can escape. This is what leads to the symptoms of acid reflux that many people experience.

Common triggers for acid reflux include:

  • Dietary choices: Spicy foods, fatty foods, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol can relax the LES.
  • Eating habits: Large meals, eating close to bedtime, and lying down after eating can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Lifestyle factors: Obesity, smoking, and certain medications can increase the risk of acid reflux.

The Role of Water in Managing Acid Reflux

Water is both a natural and readily available remedy that individuals can use to help manage their acid reflux symptoms in several ways.

For one, drinking plenty of water can dilute the concentration of a person’s stomach acid. This reduces its corrosive effects on the esophagus. By lowering the stomach’s acidity, water can help relieve the burning sensation that comes with heartburn.

On top of that, drinking water helps wash down the acid that might have backed up into the esophagus. This can help provide quick relief from discomfort in the throat and chest, as well as preventing further irritation of the esophagus.

Proper hydration is also essential for healthy digestion. Drinking water aids in breaking down food, which makes it easier for the stomach to process. Easing digestion tends to reduce the odds of experiencing acid reflux. By drinking enough water, the body is better able to keep the digestive system moving, which ensures that food flows through the GI tract as it should.

Finally, neglecting to drink water throughout the day can worsen acid reflux. Staying well-hydrated helps maintain the stomach’s acid balance and promotes overall digestive well-being.

How Much Water Should You Drink?

While drinking water can help manage acid reflux naturally, it’s important to moderate your water intake. Drinking excessive amounts of water, especially while eating, can increase the overall volume of your stomach’s contents. This puts extra pressure on the LES and may worsen acid reflux symptoms. To ensure that you’re drinking the right amount of water, keep these guidelines in mind.

Throughout the Day

Do your best to drink at least 11-15 cups of water daily. This helps maintain overall hydration and supports digestive health. Take care to space out your water intake so that you’re not overhydrating in short bursts.

Before and After Meals

Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before and after meals. Doing so can help prepare your stomach for digesting food. It can also wash down any residual acid in the esophagus after eating. As mentioned, though, you should avoid drinking large amounts of water during meals to prevent overfilling your stomach.

Listen to Your Body

Everyone’s hydration needs are different. Pay attention to your body’s signals and adjust your water intake accordingly. If you experience increased reflux symptoms, consider adjusting the timing and amount of water you drink.

Tips for Incorporating Water into Your Routine

Introducing water into your daily routine to help manage acid reflux can be simple with a few practical tips. Try the following to ensure you’re properly hydrated.

  • Start Your Day with Water: Begin your morning with a glass of water to kickstart your metabolism and hydrate your body after a night of sleep.
  • Carry a Water Bottle: Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day as a reminder to drink regularly. Choose a bottle with marked measurements to help track your intake.
  • Infuse Your Water: If you’re not fond of plain water, add a slice of lemon, cucumber, or a few mint leaves to add flavor to your beverage. However, it’s wise to be cautious about citrus fruits if they trigger your acid reflux. Lemon slices should add a hint of flavor without being overpowering.
  • Adjust Water Temperature: Some people also wonder, “Does drinking hot water help acid reflux?” While it’s not necessarily advisable to drink hot water, warm water might aid in relieving acid reflux. So, if you don’t like cold water, warming it up might help encourage better hydration.
  • Set Reminders: Use phone alarms or apps to remind yourself to drink water at regular intervals. Consistency is key to maintaining proper hydration.
  • Monitor Your Diet: Along with drinking plenty of water, you should be mindful about your diet. Avoid known triggers, eat smaller meals throughout the day, and chew your food well before swallowing to aid your digestion.

Additional Lifestyle Changes for Managing Acid Reflux

While drinking water can help with acid reflux, combining this natural remedy with other lifestyle changes can produce better results.

On top of staying well-hydrated, try elevating the head of your bed by 6-8 inches when you sleep. This can prevent acid from flowing back into your esophagus.

In addition, it’s a good idea to manage your weight by adopting a balanced diet along with a healthy exercise routine. Try to avoid drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes as well, being that both of these habits can weaken the LES and worsen acid reflux.

Finally, wear loose, comfortable clothing around your abdomen. Clothes that are too tight can put pressure on the stomach and LES, so try to avoid waist trainers, poorly fitting bras, and the like.

Does Water Help Acid Reflux?

Water is a simple and natural part of our day, but does water help acid reflux? The simple answer is yes. By diluting stomach acid, flushing out residual acid, and promoting healthy digestion, water can help alleviate the discomfort of acid reflux. Making sure that hydration is part of your daily routine can significantly improve your symptoms and improve your digestive health. However, if you continue to experience acid reflux despite your best efforts, please consult a healthcare professional. 

The team at Arizona Premier Surgery is here to help. Reach out to our office to schedule an appointment and we’ll address your needs as quickly and completely as possible.