Does Drinking Water With Your Meals Cause Bloating?

Do you remember when your mother would tell you that having water with meals will interfere with the digestion process and cause bloating? Was she right in what she said or did she blame water for no reason? Find out the answer to this question below.

However, before we understand the impact of drinking water with meals, let us first understand what bloating means since it is more of a symptom than a syndrome. Bloating symptoms include3

Increased gas production

Impaired gas motility

Impaired evacuation of gas

Abnormal abdominal refluxes leading to GERD

Perceived abdominal pain and discomfort 

Bloating may occur after meals since there is an increase in the volume of the food and fluids coupled with the digestive juices produced by the stomach. Fluid retention within the small bowel during the period after meals can also lead to abdominal tightness. There are 6-8 liters of secretions produced within the body and this along with meals and fluids contribute to an uncomfortable feeling of fullness.6

So Does Drinking Water With Meals Really Causes Bloating?

Yes and No.

The brain is the part of the body that decides when to start or stop drinking and in fact, even chooses the appropriate drink. This happens before the ingested fluid reaches the intra and extracellular compartments and the taste buds have the job to send these messages. By the time, neuronal messages are triggered, the water intake is already done. If this intake is high, then bloating may be seen.7 Hence, water must be consumed in small quantities during meal times.

How To Reduce Bloating8

The management and treatment of bloating will always have to be individual specific after a careful study and examination of trends and symptoms experienced. Here are some of the general tips on how to reduce bloating:


Foods that easily ferment within the colon should be avoided like certain sugars, carbohydrates and gluten.

Physical Exercise

Exercise is essential for patients suffering from extreme bloating. Physical exercise improves intestinal gas clearance and reduces bloating symptoms.

Use of Probiotics

Probiotics must be consumed either in their original form like in yoghurts and certain cheeses or taken as supplements.10


Antacids, Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole, and esomeprazole or Histamine-2 receptor antagonists like Cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine, and nizatidine can be taken under the supervision of a medical practitioner.11


1,2,3,8 Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of Bloating
Read More »

4,6 Functional Abdominal Bloating with Distention Read More »

5 Evaluation and management of dyspepsiaRead More »

7 Water, Hydration and Health
Read More »

9 Abdominal Bloating: Pathophysiology and TreatmentRead More »

10 Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of BloatingRead More »

11 Treatment of heartburn and acid reflux associated with nausea and vomiting during pregnancyRead More »

Author: Ruchi Rajan


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