Have you ever felt nauseated or nauseous after drinking a glass of water?
Have you ever wondered why that happens? Why you feel nauseous after drinking water?
Well, there is definitely more than one possible explanation. So if you want to know more, check out today’s post!
You can differentiate hard water vs soft water here.
Table of Contents
Nausea is not painful, but it can be very unpleasant and often comes with the urge to vomit.
The purpose of nausea is to keep you from repeating whatever caused the discomfort. The physiology behind it has not yet been clarified, however, four pathways have been identified in the human body that can create a feeling of nausea or vomiting:
Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulation – CNS stimulation can occur due to elevated intracranial pressure, irritation of the meninges (i.e. blood or infection), and extreme emotional triggers such as anxiety.
Chemoreceptor Activation Zone Activation – Located in our brain outside the blood-brain barrier, the Chemoreceptor Activation Zone is easily exposed to substances such as toxins and drugs that circulate in our blood.
Triggering of the Peripheral Pathways – Triggering in the gastrointestinal tract and other organs, could be a sign of toxins present in the gastrointestinal lumen. Other possible activators are the distension of the gastrointestinal lumen due to obstruction or dysmotility of the intestines.
Vestibular system disorders – Disorders of the vestibular system in the inner ear may be caused by movements that cause dizziness and vertigo.
Simply put, nausea is a nonspecific symptom.
Reasons for nausea after drinking water
Even finding the reason why you feel dizzy or vomiting right after drinking running water is like making a diagnosis of tiredness – there is more than one possible explanation. One thing is for sure: Drinking water typically should not cause nausea.
With that said, the following is a list of reasons to be questioned.
1. A full stomach
It’s almost too simple, right? A full stomach is the most likely cause for which you feel sick. Especially after a rich meal, you should not try to force water into your stomach above it.
What’s more, your stomach may have a hard time emptying. Therefore, avoid drinking large amounts of water at once. Give your stomach time to release fluid into your small intestine before drinking the next cup. For any other questions, be sure to consult a doctor.
The second possible, albeit unlikely, the explanation is that you are drinking water contaminated with bacteria. You heard correctly, bacteria are very common even in US water supplies. The question is, are there enough potentially harmful germs to make your water unsafe to drink?
In nature, water that is too close to organic fecal waste can be contaminated with disease-causing microorganisms. But even if you’re not on a camping trip, chances are you’ll come into contact with waterborne pathogens at home or in public.
Take giardia, a parasite that colonizes the small intestine. Giardiasis is the most commonly diagnosed disease caused by intestinal parasites in our country. However, symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, generally occur first 1 to 3 weeks after exposure and not immediately afterward.
Another parasite that can cause nausea among other symptoms such as abdominal cramps is cryptosporidium. Symptoms last from a few days to two weeks. So if your nausea goes away in a couple of hours, it’s probably a good sign.
Incidentally, both giardia and cryptosporidium are quite resistant to the chlorine used for water disinfection.
Also, the only way to know if it’s bacterial contamination is through testing. You can send a sample directly to an accredited laboratory or buy a test kit and run the analysis yourself.
Your 5-micron carbon block filter certified by independent third-party laboratories to meet NSF requirements for cryptosporidium and giardia reduction.
As the name implies, a whole house filter provides filtered water for the entire house, so you don’t even have to worry about germs when taking a shower.
3. Algae sprouts
Hot weather in combination with rain and chemicals from sewage treatment plants or agricultural runoff can lead to the proliferation of toxic algae in lakes and rivers that feed our municipal water systems. The result: Poisoned drinking water.
Short-term exposures – from ingestion or skin contact – have been linked to sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver damage. And it was found that the algal buds are growing at an alarming rate.
In 2010, the number of reported outbreaks was 3. In 2017, there were 169. The only good news is that not all algae outbreaks produce toxins.
4. Antimony and Cadmium
Antimony and cadmium are metalloids or transition metals that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in doses above the EPA drinking water limits.
The federal legal limit for antimony is 6 parts per billion (ppb) while the recommended health guideline defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is 1 ppb.
For cadmium, the applicable federal standard that defines the highest level allowed in drinking water is 5 ppb. OEHHA’s current guidelines are 0.04 ppb – that’s 125 times less.
On the other hand: According to the EWG database on tap water, the utility company with the highest concentration of cadmium in water in 2015 was the Garden Acres Mobile Home Park in Calabasas, OK with a level average of 13.7 ppb.
That is more than double the legal limit. Second place went to the Crown King Water Company based in Glendale, AZ with 8.49 ppb.
For antimony, the 2015 samples taken from the Quail Valley West Side Water Diversion System in Tehachapi, CA contained an average of 11.3 ppb ensuring first place. Then came the Hanson Water Department in Hanson, MA at 9.00 ppb. Congratulations!
Chlorpyrifos is a widely used pesticide that can trigger nausea, headaches, and dizziness in low doses. Obviously, it has its origin in agriculture as one of the main contributors to the contamination of our drinking water.
In August 2018, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA must ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days of that date.
Between 2010 and 2015, MTBE, a toxic by-product of oil refining, was served as contaminated tap water to literally millions of Americans. Its bad smell makes the water not drinkable. Fortunately, the health guidelines were not exceeded.
What is shocking is that currently there is not even a national drinking water standard.
Another problem with MTBE is that it migrates through groundwater and is not easily degraded. This has led to extensive contamination of groundwater throughout the US, including forcing a number of public water providers to shut down drinking water wells.
Aside from nausea, MTBE has also been linked to dizziness, headaches, and disorientation. It is quickly absorbed by our intestines.
It doesn’t have to be serious (but it can be)
The most likely reason you feel dizzy or nauseous after drinking running water is that your stomach is too full. This is not a serious matter that you have to worry about. Next time, just give your stomach more time to empty before taking the next sip.
If that doesn’t help, you better see a doctor. You may also want to consider testing your water for impurities, such as microorganisms or chemicals, to rule out possible contamination. If your water test result is positive, either stick to bottled water or use a drinking water filter.