Why Does Drinking Water Make Me Nauseous?

Why Does Drinking Water Make Me Nauseous

Water is the basis for human survival. Whether or not we drink enough water can determine our risks for different health problems, from small headaches to organ failure. When it comes to nausea, it’s actually recommended to help the feelings subside. So why does drinking water sometimes make you feel sick? Isn’t that completely counterintuitive? Doesn’t that miss the point of water entirely? As it happens, there are actually many reasons why an ordinary glass of water can leave you feeling sick to your stomach. Here at Lipsey, we provide office water delivery in Atlanta and we consider ourselves experts on what water can and cannot do for you, especially when it’s high-quality. That’s why we’d like to let you in on why your water may be turning your stomach.

Why Do We Get Nauseous?

Before we can even begin to answer the question of “why does water make me nauseous,” it’s good to figure out what function nausea has in the body, exactly. Nausea, annoying as it is, does serve a function in the human body. Primarily, it’s the body’s defense mechanism against outside contaminants. If we eat something bad or develop an illness, we will throw up in an attempt to purge the body of the foreign contaminant or toxin. It’s also a defense mechanism in general. If a person is stressed, they will likely feel nauseous as their body prepares to “lighten the load” in order to make a speedier getaway.

However, the human body is not perfect. Wires get crossed, and we can also feel nausea during pregnancy, while riding in a motor vehicle, or while stressing over something completely esoteric that doesn’t require a fight or flight response. Sometimes, nausea can occur for seemingly no reason whatsoever. It’s a response that, while understood in purpose, isn’t exactly understood in function.

Why Does Water Sometimes Cause Nausea?

With all of what we just said in mind, there are a few reasons as to why water could make you nauseous. It may seem like a counterintuitive response, and it sometimes is, but there are also some perfectly legitimate reasons as to why you just might not be able to stomach water.

The Stomach Is Too Full

This one isn’t too complicated to understand. The stomach has a limited capacity—about one quart, to be exact. If you try to put something in a container that’s already full, it will spill out. That’s true for all containers, including the stomach.

The Stomach Is Too Empty

This one is less straightforward. After all, there really shouldn’t be any reason as to why nausea is triggered on an empty stomach. If anything, the body should want more food. However, when you go hungry, stomach acid can build up and cause acid reflux. Adding liquid to the mix may cause the acid to become diluted, but it also won’t give it anything to absorb into and digest. So, you’ve just raised the liquid levels in the stomach while the environment is already very acidic, and you’re also likely experiencing stomach cramps from the empty stomach trying to digest what isn’t there. The solution to this one is simple: eat some food. Once you do that, water should go down just fine.


Again, this one may seem to not make sense, but it also does. It seems silly for your body to reject water when it needs it most, but dehydration is no joke. If you’re dehydrated, you may experience a wide range of symptoms, from a dry mouth to a debilitating headache. You may wonder why your throat is dry even when you drink water and it might be because of dehydration.

If you suspect you’re dehydrated, a quick test you can do is to lay your hand flat and pinch the skin on top of one of your knuckles. The skin should quickly snap back into shape when released. If it doesn’t, you’re dehydrated. Try to take it slow with your water intake if nausea is a problem, and consider taking medicine if it’s the headaches causing nausea. However, if you just can’t get any water down, you may need to seek professional help.

Electrolyte Imbalance

You’ve probably seen this word plastered on sports drinks everywhere you go, but do you know what electrolytes are? They’re a group of essential minerals—namely calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphate, potassium, and sodium—that the body requires in order to maintain its natural energy and ambient electrical levels. Having too many or too few of these minerals present at one time can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, which can produce nausea.

While this can be remedied in some cases by just ingesting more electrolytes, it’s also entirely possible that an electrolyte disorder can be an indicator of something far more serious. If, after replenishing your electrolytes, you’re still experiencing symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat, muscle cramping and weakness, convulsions, numbness and tingling, confusion, and of course, nausea, you may need to consider going to an immediate care facility to get tested for an underlying condition.

Water Sensitivity

Not all water is equal. Tap water, in particular, can contain an array of different contaminants. These can be lead, algae, pesticides, and even microplastics. While these typically occur in trace amounts and are undetectable by the majority of the population, there are some who may be more sensitive to these pollutants than others. For those who are sensitive to these pollutants, they often trigger the same response as a foreign contaminant in the gut, which is to say nausea and vomiting. In some rare cases, these intolerances can even manifest as full-blown allergic reactions, which can make it quite frightening when a glass of water can end in a trip to the emergency room.

If you suspect it may be your tap water causing the issues, consider switching to pure bottled water. Here at Lipsey, we provide only high-quality glass-bottled mountain spring water straight from the Blue Ridge mountains. If you want to help ease stomachs on a larger scale, we also provide office water delivery in Atlanta. Consider buying our premium quality spring water today and see the difference it can make for you.