Can Drinking Water Cause Acid Reflux?

Drinking water generally does not cause acid reflux and is often recommended to help with digestion and overall health. However, in certain situations, consuming water might contribute to symptoms of acid reflux. Here are some potential reasons why this might happen:

Stomach Distension

  • Volume: Drinking a large amount of water quickly can cause the stomach to become distended. This increased pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus, can potentially cause acid to reflux into the esophagus.
  • Full Stomach: If the stomach is already full from a meal, adding a large volume of water might further increase the likelihood of reflux.

Timing and Position

  • Lying Down: Drinking water right before lying down can increase the risk of acid reflux. Gravity helps keep stomach contents down, and lying flat can make it easier for acid to escape into the esophagus.
  • During Meals: Drinking large amounts of water during meals might increase the risk of reflux for some people by adding to the volume of food and liquid in the stomach.

Temperature and Type

  • Cold Water: Some people might find that very cold water can cause stomach discomfort or spasms, potentially contributing to reflux symptoms. However, this is individual-specific and not a common cause of reflux.
  • Carbonated Water: Sparkling water and other carbonated beverages can increase gas and bloating, which can put pressure on the LES and potentially lead to acid reflux.


  • Moderation: Drink water in moderate amounts throughout the day rather than in large quantities at once.
  • Timing: Avoid drinking large amounts of water immediately before or after meals. Instead, sip water slowly if you feel the need to drink during meals.
  • Stay Upright: Remain upright for at least 30 minutes after drinking water, especially if you are prone to acid reflux.
  • Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is important for overall health. Aim to drink water regularly throughout the day to avoid consuming large quantities at once.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If you frequently experience acid reflux or heartburn, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider. They can help determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatments or lifestyle modifications.

In summary, while drinking water itself is not a common cause of acid reflux, certain habits related to water consumption can contribute to reflux symptoms in some individuals. Moderate and mindful drinking habits can help minimize the risk.