Water is essential to every living organism, including humans. Research recommends that humans take at least 8-9 glasses of water to remain hydrated and feel alive. Although you can survive without food for weeks, you cannot survive after three days without taking a drop of water.
Knowing that water is essential to the human body, water can still make you nauseous. But why does that happen? After all, if something is essential for my health, why is it hurting me? If you have asked yourself this question, you are not alone. In this article, I will discuss the various reasons why drinking water can make you nauseous.
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What is Nausea?
Nausea is an unpleasant feeling that arises in your stomach and is accompanied by the urge to throw up. It may or may not cause you to throw up. Although you can feel nauseous without throwing up the remnants in your stomach, you would always have the tingling sensation to throw up accompanied by discomfort in the stomach and sometimes pain. On many occasions, nausea often goes away without medication. However, if you are experiencing nausea at a serious level, you may want to see a doctor.
That said, different situations often cause nausea. However, some people get into this unpleasant situation by just drinking water. This is a common situation, and if you have these issues, you may need to take a minute to review this article.
Reasons Why You Can Feel Nauseous After Drinking Water
Drinking water is healthy for many humans. However, if you feel nauseous after gulping down a glass of water, it may be due to these reasons.
- Drinking Water In-Between and After Eating
Water is essential to the human body. You need it to survive. However, there are times when you should and shouldn’t take it. A vivid example is during and after a meal. When you drink water during a meal, your body’s PH tends to rise more than the basic level. This makes the stomach’s content larger, leaving little space to take in more food and causing unpleasant situations.
The same applies to after meals. Taking water immediately after you complete your meal could cause a nauseous feeling. Why? The stomach expands, thereby causing an overflow when you drink water. This mostly happens when you have consumed lots of carbohydrates.
Drinking soft water could allow the stomach to expand and leave a smaller room for your digestive system. With this, you can have the urge to throw up and expel the excess out of your stomach. Hence, avoid taking water during and immediately after meals.
- Empty Stomach
Just like when you drink water immediately after a meal, drinking water on an empty stomach can also make you feel nauseous. When you are starving, you probably already feel light-headed or even nauseous. Taking a glass of water only adds to the problem. Since your body is already low on energy, you need food, not water. Drinking a lot of water on an empty stomach only leads to stomach discomfort that could lead to nausea.
Another reason you could feel nauseous may be drinking water contaminated with bacteria. Let’s admit it: bacteria are everywhere and are quite common in our environment. The question is can they make you feel nauseous after drinking contaminated water?
Water that is too close to organic waste can get contaminated outdoors. If this water isn’t close to organic waste, you may get in contact with waterborne pathogens in the public space.
An example is Giardia, a parasite that infects the small intestine. It is the most commonly diagnosed disease in the country. Symptoms from getting infected by this bacteria include nausea 1-3 weeks after getting into the human body. Another bacteria that causes nausea is cryptosporidium.
Symptoms manifest after a few days and can last for about two weeks. If nausea lasts for only a few hours, then you may not have a problem at all. Since giardia and cryptosporidium are resistant to chlorine, you may consider purifying your water before use.
Also, you will have to be tested to find out whether the bacteria have infected you. You can go to an approved laboratory where they can test direct samples, or you buy the test kits for yourself and do the analysis yourself.
- Algae Outbreak
The combination of sunny weather, rain, and chemicals from sewage plants or agricultural industries can result in the outbreak of toxic algae in the water systems. This further leads to poison in drinking water. The ingestion of such water, even for a short time, can lead to sore throat, diarrhea, liver damage, and nausea. However, if the algae aren’t the type that produces toxins, then you may be on the safe side.
Pesticide is another contaminant that can cause you to be nauseous after consuming water. Pesticides such as chlorpyrifos can result in slight nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Such pesticides arise from agricultural use and can contaminate drinking water.
MTBE is a toxic byproduct of refined petroleum. It was served to millions of Americans between 2010 to 2015 in the form of contaminated tap water. The toxin produced a foul odor that made the water undrinkable. The issue with MTBE is that it can be supplied as groundwater and doesn’t degrade easily.
This event has led to the contamination of various groundwater sources and even caused many public water providers to stop their work. The toxin is easily absorbed by the intestine and can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, or even disorientation in the human body.
- Wrong Water Temperature
The wrong water temperature can also result in nausea. A vivid example is by consuming chilled water directly from the refrigerator. When the water is extremely cold, your body utilizes extra energy to regulate the water temperature and ensures it matches your internal temperature.
Hence, instead of consuming chilled water from the refrigerator directly, you may consider placing it outside your refrigerator for about half an hour before drinking. Once it is at normal room temperature, you can drink the water. With this, you won’t feel nauseous after drinking the water.
- Drinking Too Quickly
The way you drink your water and the posture you observe while drinking can cause nausea. Drinking too much water quickly, especially cold, can make you feel bloated immediately.
Although many consider this normal, they do not understand that it may cause nausea. The best way to avoid nausea in this situation is by drinking slowly or taking small sips rather than big gulps.
Also, the body posture you observe while drinking water is essential. It is best to drink water while sitting half straight up. Sitting upright could make you feel nauseous after drinking water.
Dehydration also causes one to feel nauseous. You may experience nausea once you aren’t drinking enough water. Aside from nausea, you could also have headaches, dizziness, weakness, tiredness, dry lips, or mouth.
A simple way to know if you are seriously dehydrated is by checking the color of your pee. If it is dark yellow, you need to drink more water. It is essential to give water to the human body when it strongly desires it.
The lack of electrolytes in the body system may be the reason why you are nauseous. You need electrolytes – a group of essential minerals – to survive and enable your body system to function properly.
The electrolytes in your body can be low if you have lost fluids during heavy exercise, are placed on medication such as antibiotics, or are suffering from illnesses such as diarrhea, kidney disease, or heart failure.
A lack of these essential minerals in the body could result in nausea, lethargy, or fluid retention. You may consider drinking more water or sports fluids containing these essential minerals to prevent a lack of electrolytes.
If you are pregnant, especially in early pregnancy, you can feel nauseous after drinking water. You could experience morning sicknesses during the day or even at night. You could also have other symptoms such as frequent urination, fatigue, stomach pain, low blood pressure, etc. So, the best thing to do is to get a pregnancy test and examine yourself, or better still, visit a doctor.
- Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions, such as digestive disorders or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can lead to nausea after drinking water. Although such conditions aren’t common, water can still trigger acid reflux or even heartburn. You should see a doctor for adequate treatment if you are dealing with digestive disorders.
Drinking water can make you nauseous. However, once you know what is causing the problem, you can easily find a solution that addresses the issue to get better.