When people have acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn, they often question what a simple and easy means is to helping stop or at least lessen the symptoms. One of the obvious things that might come to mind is simply water or more specifically hot or warm water.
Drinking hot water can help acid reflux in some situations. Though there are quite a few different things to consider before simply just drinking some hot water to help your acid reflux. Now I will cover them in more detail below.
How Can Drinking Hot Water Help Acid Reflux?
I want to talk about how hot water can help acid reflux. Firstly, when you drink water it prevents any acid from coming up from the stomach and into the esophagus or into the throat for people with silent reflux.
Simply drinking water even if just for a short time prevents any acid from coming up as the water is passing down your throat and esophagus which itself offers some aid.
The next way that hot water can help is that when it enters the stomach it can help lower the acidity of the stomach and the whole digestive tract. This is because water is usually around a pH level of 7 which is considered roughly around neutral on the pH scale.
Because the stomach acidity level is usually around a pH level of 1.5-3.5 when the water enters the stomach it can help lower the acidity which is turn should at least temporarily lower any acid reflux symptoms you may be experiencing.
This is also why water that has a higher pH above 7 is more alkaline and may offer an improved effect versus water with a lower pH which is more acidic. I will cover that further in the section titled “Water Acidity and Alkaline Water Explained”.
On top of what I have already covered above there may be a couple other benefits relating to acid reflux when drinking hot water.
One of them is that may help relieve constipation. Water is an effective way to relieve and prevent constipation. For some people with acid reflux their problems can be correlated to the bowels which may in turn help acid reflux as well.
One other important factor about drinking water is that it may reduce stress levels as was confirmed in this study. This is important to note due to stress and things like anxiety being common causes that can make and can worsen acid reflux symptoms.
Is Warm or Cold Water Best?
Before I talk about water acidity levels, I think it’s important to cover water temperature and if that makes any difference when it comes to relieving acid reflux symptoms like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and heartburn etc.
Really the best water temperature I would suggest is room temperature water for acid reflux. The reason I suggest this is because water at this temperature is less straining and irritating on the skin and tissues than hot or cold water.
If you think about acid reflux and heartburn for example, when you experience these symptoms it’s usually because of acid entering the esophagus or even the throat (LPR).
This causes general irritation and inflammation of the skin and tissue inside the esophagus and throat. If you drink water that is hot this may only irritate it further due to simply being too hot. To clarify when I say hot, I mean water that you can only sip because it’s too warm.
A good example to compare this to is if for example, you had some skin irritation or a burn on your arm, you wouldn’t pour hot water over it to relieve it would you. No, because that would in turn make things worse. The same theory applies to acid reflux too.
I suggest if you prefer warm water that you have boiled, let it cool (for 5-10 minutes) until its warm at best before drinking.
So, is warm water good for acid reflux? Well, it’s a better choice than hot water yes but I instead suggest to simply drink room temperature because this is guaranteed to not further irritate the skin and tissues inside your digestive tract, stomach etc.
When it comes to cold water it’s a better choice than hot water for acid reflux. This is simply because it offers a more cooling effect which in turn should offer some easing off symptoms.
Though really, I would suggest not to have extremely cold water for example with ice included because again this is more of a temperature extreme.
It probably will offer a more immediate relief feeling but afterwards this cold may irritate things further. Therefore, it’s recommended if you take cold water to let it warm up a little before drinking.
Having now covered all the different water temperatures just let me give the overview based on water temperatures (the temperatures are provided as a rough guidance):
1st choice (best) – room temperature water (20°C / 68°F)
2nd choices – slightly cold water (16°C / 61°F), slightly warm water (40°C / 104°F)
3rd choice – cold water (6°C / 43°F or colder)
4th choice (worst) – hot water (60°C / 160°F or higher)
Water Acidity and Alkaline Water Explained
What is arguably the more important factor when drinking water to help acid reflux is its acidity level on the pH scale. The higher the pH the more alkaline it is and the lower the more acidic.
Any water that is over a pH level of 7 is considered alkaline water. Knowing this then means that water that is more alkaline should help calm acid reflux down more. This is because the more alkaline the water the more it will help neutralize and balance out the acidity in the digestive tract and stomach.
If you don’t know what pH level your water is it’s likely it’s around a pH of 6-7. If you want to get more alkaline water look on the bottle and look for a pH level, the higher this is the better.
Though anything with 8 pH or higher is a great choice. Keep in mind if you didn’t know – as each pH level goes up 1 then it’s 10 times more alkaline than the previous level. For example, an 8 pH is 10 times more alkaline than a 7 pH and so on. Therefore, drinking a more alkaline water above that 8 pH can make a massive difference.
If you can’t find any bottled water matching these criteria you can opt to make your own using something like baking soda which when mixed with your water will make it much more alkaline. For more on making your own alkaline water with baking soda read – baking soda for heartburn. Also, for more information on alkaline water – alkaline water for acid reflux (LPR).
In conclusion it’s clear to see that drinking water overall is a good idea to help acid reflux though opting for a temperature nearer room temperature is the best choice.
Keep in mind that while drinking water may help calm symptoms it’s always a good idea to consider what caused the problem.
In quite a lot of causes it will be because of something you ate or drink soon before. Therefore, looking at and eliminating common acid reflux trigger foods would be a good path of action.
For common examples of foods and drinks to avoid check here – foods to avoid for acid reflux. Also, if you want or need to go that extra step then following a low acid diet like my Wipeout Diet Plan would also be likely to help a lot.
Does Honey and Hot Water Help Heartburn?
When honey is added and mixed with hot water it can help aid and soothe heartburn. This is because honey is an antioxidant that also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Also, honey has natural hydrogen peroxide which is great for treating wounds and internal damage called by acid reflux. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to let the hot water cool down a little before drinking.
Can Drinking Hot Water Cause Acid Reflux?
For some people drinking hot water may worsen their acid reflux yes particularly on an empty stomach. There are multiple possible reasons for this including that the valve above the stomach (LES) is not working properly.
When you drink a lot of water this could fill up the stomach more which puts more pressure on the stomach and also make the stomach work more which can increase chance of the LES opening and acid reflux occurring. Also, water that is hot not warm could perhaps irritate the skin and tissues inside the digestive tract due to its higher temperature.
Do Hot Drinks Make Acid Reflux Worse?
Ideally, it’s best to avoid hot drinks when you have acid reflux. It’s a good idea to let drinks cool down at least a little so it puts less heat pressure on the digestive tract that may be more sensitive and prone to irritation due to the acid reflux.
What is The Best Water to Drink for Acid Reflux?
The best water to drink would be water with no additives and a higher pH level. Any water that has a pH above 8 makes it more alkaline which should help calm and soothe acid reflux including heartburn etc.
I recommend: Waiakea Naturally Alkaline Water