ZocdocAnswersWould drinking more water help with my indigestion?

Question

Would drinking more water help with my indigestion?

Always seem to get indigestion after I eat, especially when it comes to spicy stuff. If I were to drink more water would that help my stomach? Does how much water you drink have anything to do with your digestion?

Answer

Sorry to hear that you get indigestion after you eat, particularly when you are eating spicy foods. You ask a very good question about whether water will affect digestion, and in particular your indigestion. First of all, there is something call the lower esophageal (or "cardiac") sphincter that separates your stomach from your esophagus. Heartburn or "reflux" is the term used to describe the symptoms that occur due to esophageal irritation from gastric contents "refluxing" from the stomach through the sphincter, and into the esophagus. Your stomach is stimulated to secrete acid by food, or even the anticipation of eating food. Water, to the best of my knowledge, does not stimulate the production of stomach acid like food does. However, it also doesn't decrease it. There are certain factors which are known to increase the likelihood of causing "reflux"...such as overeating, chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine. Water may help with gastric emptying, so indirectly may help prevent reflux, however more importantly if you are drinking alcohol or caffeine (coffee) with meals, then exchanging them for water may help your indigestion. There are potential health consequences to untreated reflux, so it is worth seeing a gastroenterologist to be evaluated and treated if needed. There are also other problems such as a developing ulcer that can give discomfort with eating, further emphasizing the need to have a physician follow you. Best of luck.

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