Possible Causes Of Stomach Pain After Drinking Water

Have you ever experienced a sharp pain in your stomach after drinking water? It can be surprising since water is supposed to be neutral and doesn’t have much of an impact on your stomach.

While this is true, there can be many reasons your stomach is irritated. Here are a few possible causes of stomach pain after drinking water:

Possible Causes of Stomach Pain After Drinking Water: Short Summary

There can be many different causes for having stomach pain after drinking water. It could be something harmless like drinking water too suddenly or something more serious, like lead poisoning.

You need to observe the circumstances of your stomach pain to determine the exact cause. Refer to our detailed list of all possible causes of stomach pain after drinking water to investigate the cause of your pain.

Everyday Causes of Stomach Pain after Drinking Water

Sometimes the cause of stomach pain after drinking water is due to rectifiable factors like the time of the day or the temperature of the water. If you experience stomach pain in any of the following everyday situations, you can make some changes to get rid of it.

Drinking Water in the Morning

Drinking water first thing in the morning is said to be good for you. However, for some people, drinking a lot of water first thing in the morning shocks the stomach.

You need food after a long period of fasting and having water instead gives a small shock to your stomach which causes stomach pain. It might even lead to nausea. Try to change the schedule of your meals and observe if it helps you feel better.

If it doesn’t help, it is possible that drinking water first thing in the morning does not suit you. Try to make up for it by increasing your water intake throughout the day.

Drinking Cold Water

Sometimes a chilled glass of water is exactly what you need to quench your thirst, especially in those sweltering summers. If you always experience pain after drinking cold water, it is possibly because of the temperature of the water.

This often happens if you drink chilled water after exercising or intense activity. You generate heat when you exercise and drinking cold water at this time shocks your digestive system.

Drink warm water and see if it causes you pain. If it doesn’t, you need to figure out the temperature of water your body is comfortable with. Put fewer ice cubes in your water until you find a temperature that works for you.

Drinking Water Rapidly

If you feel really thirsty, you will probably gulp down water really quickly. This is because our thirst makes us overestimate the amount of water we need and we drink as much as possible very quickly.

When we drink too much water, our stomach expands to accommodate it, which can be quite uncomfortable and even painful.

It also causes hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium level of your body drops too low. It can cause nausea and stomach cramps, too.

You don’t need to drink less water when you are thirsty, just try drinking at a slower pace so you are more mindful of how much you are drinking.

Medical Causes of Stomach Pain after Drinking Water

If your stomach pain is not caused by any of the above situations, it is possible that there is a medical reason behind it. Treating the disease behind the pain will also cure your stomach pain. Most of these diseases can be managed by lifestyle or dietary changes.

The following conditions could be causing your stomach pain after drinking water:


Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common condition. It causes inflammation in your digestive tract and is often activated by processed foods, Brussel sprouts or food containing wheat germ.

Drinking water can also trigger your IBS and cause pain in the stomach. Heartburn is also a common symptom of IBS.

Changing your diet to remove trigger foods and leading a more balanced lifestyle will help you get your IBS under control.

Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers can be caused by a myriad of causes. Stressful situations or anti-inflammatory medication could cause ulcers to form in your stomach. They could also be a side effect of other medications.

Drinking water gives you acidity, which stresses the ulcer and causes you pain. You may even feel a burning situation.

Stomach ulcers could be caused by a temporary problem or they might be a more serious problem. If the problem persists, you need to seek treatment for your ulcers.


Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against injury or infection. Sometimes the inflammatory response gets out of hand and starts attacking healthy cells.

Inflammation in the stomach causes pain when you drink water. The pain is even more intense if you drink hot water. People with sensitive stomachs will feel pain even with cold water.

If the inflammation is caused by a pathogen like in the case of stomach flu, it will go away as your body recovers. If it is a symptom of something more serious, like Crohn’s disease, you need to get it diagnosed in time.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GRED is more commonly known as indigestion or acid reflux. It causes the rear opening of your esophagus to open wider than it is supposed to. This makes your stomach acid rise up.

The lower part of your esophagus is not supposed to be in contact with stomach acid, thus it is not protected from it like the inside of your stomach. You feel pain and a burning sensation when the stomach acid touches your esophagus.

Drinking water at this time increases the amount of acid in your stomach, making the pain worse.

Stomach Pain Caused by Water Quality

Drinking clean water is crucial to our health. Water meant for drinking is supposed to go through multiple levels of filtration to ensure that it is safe to drink.

However, tap water in our homes comes from the municipality. Sometimes there are discrepancies in the filtration process and the water is contaminated. It is also possible that the water was clean, but dirty pipes infected it with pollutants.

The following issues of water quality could cause you stomach pain after drinking water:

Microbial Growth

It is possible that there are certain microbial growths in the water you are drinking, especially if the original source is groundwater. These pathogens can infiltrate the well water and infect more people.

Your stomach might not be equipped to handle these microbes, which will cause many problems, including stomach pain. You need to make sure the water you are drinking is completely clean and safe to drink.

If drinking tap water is causing you stomach pain, you should try heating it first to get rid of microbial growth. You can even install a filtration system to make the water safer to drink.


Water is sometimes chemically treated to disinfect it before it reaches you. This kills any unwanted pathogens and makes the water safe to drink.

Chlorine and chloramine are the disinfectants usually used to treat the water. Some municipalities also use fluoride to treat the water as it is good for dental health.

If the amount of these chemicals in the water is too high, it can cause allergic reactions in some people, which can include stomach pain or irritation.

Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is a very harmful condition that seriously affects your health. Unfortunately, it is usually diagnosed late and becomes increasingly harder to deal with.

Lead contamination is usually caused by old pipes and plumbing. In homes built between the 1930s to 1960s, galvanized steel was used for plumbing inside the house. It corroded over time and leaked lead into the drinking water.

If you are experiencing weakness, nausea and stomach cramps, it could be caused by lead poisoning. Checking the quality of water and the condition of the water will help you figure out if you have lead poisoning.

Arsenic Contamination

It is not very common in the United States, but there are many countries in the world where the groundwater is contaminated with arsenic. Countries like Bangladesh, Mexico, China and India have reported many cases of arsenic contamination.

Some places in the US are also vulnerable to arsenic contamination in water. Symptoms of arsenic contamination include nausea, stomach pain and diarrhea. If you are experiencing these symptoms, get diagnosed by a doctor immediately.

Parting Thoughts

There can be many different causes of experiencing stomach pain after drinking water. In most cases, it is due to everyday situations like drinking water too fast or drinking chilly water. These circumstances are fairly easy to manage.

However, sometimes stomach pain after drinking water is caused by medical conditions or contaminated water. In both cases, you need to contact your doctor and seek treatment.

If your symptoms are severe or they persist for a long time, it is a sign that there is a serious issue. You should seek medical assistance and get the water quality in your home evaluated.

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