Drinking more water at once can make you feel fuller and give you a bloated stomach. When you drink water, the water travels through the esophagus into your stomach, after which it travels through the body to hydrate the cells. This takes time, and so meanwhile, the water sits in the smaller intestine, which makes you feel and look fuller. But water bloating is often only temporary, and your tummy goes back to its original size, i.e., it shrinks as soon as your body processes the water.
To avoid water bloating, try to sip your water instead of chugging it down. If you aim to drink at least 100 ounces a day, try to spread it throughout instead of drinking it at once at a shorter interval. Avoid drinking water through a straw as you can intake more air into your stomach. Also, avoid sparkling water as the bubbles can cause your gastrointestinal (GI) tract to become filled with air.
We have all heard the benefits of drinking water, but it gets tricky when you drink too much water. As they say, consuming anything in excess is never good for our body, be it the “zero-calorie drink” called water.
The balance between how much you need to drink per day and not to go overboard with drinking water should always be maintained.
First, we are told to hydrate ourselves, whether to lose weight, have healthy skin, or just plain ol’ “for the body to function better,” but now you’re reading that excess consumption water is bad too? Does that even make any sense?
Well, yes. You should drink at least 100 ounces of water in a day, i.e., 3 liters, but according to studies, drinking more than 5 liters a day can even prove to be fatal.
But, first, let’s understand bloating.
What is bloating?
You experience bloating when your GI tract is filled with gas or air.
When you’re bloated, you might feel uncomfortable or uneasy as though you’ve eaten a big meal. Your stomach feels full and tight and sometimes can even make you look bigger.
There can be many causes for bloating as intake of high sodium, drinking less water, menstruation for some women, food intolerances, water retention, and gas build-up.
How does drinking water causes stomach bloating?
I remember once, on an empty stomach, I almost drank 2 glasses of water, and believe it or not, I could feel the water flowing down through my throat and into my stomach and could literally feel my belly protruding outside.
Drinking an excess of water at once can make your stomach feel bloated.
Most of the water of the human body is contained in the cells. When we drink water, the water travels from our mouth, through the throat, in the esophagus, and into the stomach.
The water then travels through the body to hydrate the cells.
If you’ve noticed, after a few gulps of water, you feel you’ve quenched your thirst. It’s your body’s way of telling you to hold off drinking too much water. The water in your small intestine takes time to hydrate the cells of your body. If your brain registers hydration only after the cells are hydrated, the human body will consume water way more than needed.
Water bloating is different from regular bloating, which usually includes filling your GI tract with air or gas. Instead, water bloating happens when you drink a lot of water at once, causing stomach distention.
This can also be quite uncomfortable and make you feel uneasy and full, but don’t worry, it passes away as your body processes this water, and your tummy will feel back to its original self after some time.
How to prevent water bloating?
These are a few tips to help prevent water bloating:
- Try to spread your water intake throughout the day instead of drinking a lot of water at once. If you feel pretty thirsty, drink 1 glass of water, then wait for sometime before your 2nd glass of water.
- Avoid drinking sparkling water or soda pops, which can cause air build-up in your GI tract.
- Take little sips of water throughout the day instead of chugging it down.
- Don’t drink through a straw. This can also cause air to enter the stomach.
How much water should you drink?
Well, doctors recommend drinking at least half a gallon of water per day, but you don’t have to calculate every day how much water you drank.
Instead, let your body tell you whether it needs more water or not, like your pee should be pale yellow. If it’s darker, you need to hit the water cooler, and if it’s lighter, you need to hit the brakes.
If you’re exercising or doing your daily activities, drinking 1-2 glasses of water within an hour is sufficient without overtaxing your kidneys.
How can I cure water retention?
Take a low-sodium diet, exercise regularly, avoid eating bigger meals, eat more proteins and take your needed vitamins.
Does losing water weight make you look thinner?
Losing the extra pounds caused due to water weight can make you look thinner in your abdomen and sometimes your face, but keep in mind this doesn’t change the amount of fat in your body.
To cut down body fat, you need to exercise regularly, follow a calorie-deficit diet, sleep well and be hydrated.
What happens when you drink too much water?
Too much water intake may lead to hyponatremia, which is a drop in your blood sodium levels.
Sodium is an important electrolyte that regulates water distribution in the body. But if you outdrink more than what your body can excrete, then you may experience water intoxication, nausea, or a disruption of brain function.
This can happen if your cells are overhydrated, making them swell, and as your brain is an enclosed area, the swollen cells may put pressure on the brain, which can even be fatal.
Too little and too much water both are harmful to your body. You need to find the right balance between the two and let your body tell you how much you need to drink every day.
As I said, keep an eye on your pee color, or keep a tab of drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day.
Along with that, make sure to have a balanced diet filled with protein, grains, fruits, and leafy vegetables.