If you’ve recently experienced heartburn, you might want to drink a glass of warm or hot water. Does this help? Does drinking hot water help acid reflux?
Drinking hot water can provide relief for acid reflux for some people or make it worse for others. If drinking hot water does give you relief, that relief will be temporary, not long-lasting. Ginger tea, milk, or kefir are more effective for acid reflux than hot water.
Read on to learn more about how hot water might help you deal with acid reflux.
Does Drinking Hot Water Help Acid Reflux?
Having heartburn is never a fun thing. Even in short bursts, the sensation of having your stomach acids go up your windpipe is more than uncomfortable. Now, imagine suffering from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and having to go through it every hour or so. You will discover how it can get so tiresome that you would be willing to try anything to get rid of your condition.
So, let’s get straight to the point – does drinking hot water alleviate the discomfort brought about by acid reflux? Unfortunately, the answer is not so black and white. According to medical experts, the results will vary from person to person. Meaning there is a chance that it might not work quite as well as you hoped it would. However, it is also possible that it might not do anything at all or make your condition worse.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is a very common condition. According to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), more than 60 million people in the US suffer from acid reflux. They report experiencing acid reflux at least once a month. What’s more? Over 15 million of them say that they get acid reflux at least once a day.
Acid reflux occurs when a bit of stomach acid somehow flows back up the windpipe. It happens because the valve between the stomach and the esophagus (called the lower esophageal sphincter) gets too relaxed that it fails to prevent the escape of gastric acids.
The lower esophageal sphincter would normally act like a check valve, which means that it lets food and liquid go into the stomach but prevents them from going back up the windpipe. If this valve relaxes, it opens and allows gastric acid to flow back up the esophagus, thus causing discomfort.
When you get acid reflux, you will often feel a moderate burning pain just behind your breastbone. You may also feel a burning sensation in your throat if the acid can travel up that far. If you often experience acid reflux, like say at least once a day, then you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In that case, you need to check with your physician.
What Foods Trigger Acid Reflux?
Just as drinking water can ease the symptoms of acid reflux, there are also certain drinks you need to avoid. Listed below are some of the beverages that will aggravate the symptoms associated with acid reflux. Do your best to limit their consumption, or better yet, eliminate them from your diet completely.
- Alcoholic Beverages—Aside from stimulating the production of even more gastric acid in the stomach, alcoholic drinks also cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. Both issues trigger acid reflux or make it worse if you are already suffering from it.
- Carbonated Drinks—The sugars in most carbonated drinks can also trigger your stomach to create more acid to aid in digestion. Also, the bubbles in the drink can cause your stomach to expand, putting a lot of pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter. This causes it to open up and allow gastric acid to escape and flow into the windpipe.
- Caffeine—If you are suffering from chronic acid reflux, then you need to look for another way to get yourself energized in the mornings, as coffee can aggravate your condition. Caffeine makes your stomach more acidic, which will only make your acid reflux worse.
- Chocolate—Unfortunately, aside from coffee, you might also need to lessen, maybe even give up on, chocolate. It contains both cocoa and caffeine. Both substances are notorious for causing additional acid products in the gastric system, thus worsening acid reflux symptoms.
- Citrus Juices—Obviously, citrus fruits contain a lot of citric acids, so consuming them if you have acid reflux problems will cause your condition to worsen. Keep in mind, though, that it does not mean that all fruits can aggravate your acid reflux. Some can help ease it a bit, like bananas.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Acid Reflux?
People experience acid reflex differently, and it usually depends on the severity of the person’s condition. Here are some of the symptoms that usually manifest in people with acid reflux.
Also referred to as acid indigestion, heartburn occurs when you feel a burning pain that starts in your stomach and moves up into your chest. There are also times when the pain reaches the throat. However, even if it is referred to as heartburn, you can’t categorize it as a heart condition. It just feels like it.
Regurgitation is yet another common acid reflux symptom. It is the feeling of stomach acid backing up through your throat and up into your mouth. When you experience regurgitation, it will usually leave a bitter or sour taste in your mouth. You may also experience “wet” burps due to your stomach acid backing up your throat.
People who have acid reflux will also experience a condition called dyspepsia. It is the general term used to describe stomach discomfort, and its symptoms include:
- Frequent burping
- Nausea, especially after eating
- Bloated feeling
- Always feeling full
- Upper abdominal pain
If you experience any of these symptoms, then the stomach acid may cause inflammation on the lining of your esophagus, leading to bleeding and swelling. Here is the scary part, stomach acids could damage the cells so much that they cause a cancerous disease called Barrett’s Esophagus. Although the chances of you getting this disease are quite low, it is still a possibility.
Even though acid reflux is a common yet rarely serious condition, you would do well not to ignore the symptoms associated with acid reflux. You only need to make a couple of positive changes in your lifestyle and consider using OTC antacids when the symptoms are a bit too much. These should be enough to help you control your acid reflux, if not eliminate it.
When Do Acid Reflux Symptoms Occur?
One thing that you need to know to help you get rid of acid reflux is to learn when its symptoms occur. It often gets triggered when:
- You finish a rather heavy meal.
- You bend over too far or lift anything heavy.
- You lie down with a full stomach, usually when you do so on your tummy.
People who suffer from GERD often experience acid reflux symptoms at night, sometimes while they are sleeping. The symptoms that happen during nighttime are the most painful. Still, you need to remember that the amount of pain you experience is not an indication of how much damage your acid reflux dealt with your esophagus.
More than 50% of all pregnant women suffer from heartburn during the entire term of their pregnancy. This seems to happen because of the increased hormone production causing increased acid production and the growing fetus placing pressure on the stomach. Fortunately, in most cases, acid reflux greatly improves and sometimes completely disappears after childbirth.
How Water Might Help?
You experience acid reflux when your stomach acid flows up through your esophagus and up your throat. So, in theory, drinking hot water should help push the stomach acid back down where it came from. This makes a lot of sense if you think about it, but there is more to drinking water than just that.
Medical researchers found that although drinking warm to hot water can help by physically pushing the acid back down to the stomach, it also changes the stomach’s chemical makeup. Drinking more water naturally raises your stomach’s pH, making it less acidic, thus greatly minimizing the likelihood of acid reflux. The water can also wash away the acid stuck onto the walls of your esophagus, making you feel a lot better.
How Water Might Worsen Symptoms?
Some people suffer from a more complicated form of GERD, known as refractory acid reflux. Essentially, it is a type of acid reflux that is resistant to any treatment, much less simply drinking water. These people may have a problem wherein drinking a bit too much water and other types of food and drink can trigger their acid reflux.
However, you do not necessarily need to have refractory acid reflux to feel the symptoms when you drink water. According to gastrointestinal experts, consuming anything that will cause the stomach to work can theoretically cause the same sensation as acid reflux.
In other words, for some people, at least drinking hot water can lead to acid reflux. You can also inadvertently cause acid reflux when you drink water (or any other liquid) on a full stomach and then lie down afterward. Filling your stomach too much will push the stomach acid up the esophagus, and when you lie down, you are pushing it further up the windpipe.
What Are Other Home Remedies That Can Help with Acid Reflux?
If drinking hot water fails to deal with your acid reflux, then what should you drink? Here are a couple of suggestions on what you can drink to help ease the symptoms of acid reflux. (Remember that results may vary.)
Some of these liquids might greatly help with your condition, while others may not do quite as much as you hoped they would. You will need to do a bit of experimentation to figure out what works for you.
This tea does not contain any trace of caffeine, so there is nothing that can influence the acidity of your stomach. Also, ginger contains compounds that work to reduce the production of acid naturally, thus lessening discomfort. Ginger also has antibacterial properties. It can lower the risk of infections, which means helping heal the damage dealt by the gastric acids on your windpipe.
Dairy products can help soothe the symptoms of acid reflux. However, it would be best if you consumed them plain and with no added sugars. Low-fat and non-fat milk will work well to calm your stomach, and many experts agree that milk substitutes like almond and soy milk can work. Milk is alkaline, so it can help neutralize the excess acids in the stomach.
Just like milk, yogurt is a dairy product; so, it can also ease acid reflux. As mentioned earlier, you need to drink the ones that do not contain sugar. If you want it sweeter, you can add a bit of honey. As a bonus, yogurt drinks also contain beneficial bacteria that keep the gut flora balanced and healthy.
Kefir is a fermented milk product that is chock-full of healthy bacteria, significantly more than yogurt. Aside from neutralizing excess gastric acid, kefir also helps boost the stomach’s health by aiding in proper digestion.
Mentioned are just some of the natural remedies you can try if you are looking for ways to ease the discomfort caused by acid reflux. If you are lucky, you might even find something that can completely cure your acid reflux.
Conclusion—Does Drinking Hot Water Help Acid Reflux?
Does hot water help ease acid reflux? Many people claim that they found relief from acid reflux by drinking hot, but not scalding, water. However, some also testified that drinking water exacerbated their acid reflux.
Despite the different reactions, both sides of the argument have their own share of merits. Your results may also be different, so it is all about finding out if it works for you. If it does not, then maybe it is time for you to look for other remedies, like those indicated in this article.