Is drinking warm water good for acid reflux? (5 alternatives)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is drinking warm water good for acid reflux? We will also give you five alternative home remedies and several tips that may help you relieve acid reflux. 

Is drinking warm water good for acid reflux?

Drinking warm water may be good for acid reflux because it would be expected to act as a flushing agent for hydrochloric acid pushed up into the esophagus from a burping action. However, this effect is expected in the case of ingesting warm alkaline water. Alkaline water, warm or cold, is one acid reflux remedy that can help manage the condition’s symptoms (2).

Today, heartburn or acid reflux is emerging as a common problem among people of all ages. Acid reflux is characterized by heartburn, regurgitation, and vomiting. Sometimes this condition is also known as acid indigestion. This usually happens when stomach acid flows into the food pipe or esophagus (4). 

As one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases, it affects 13–19% of people worldwide and has a greater prevalence in the western world, with population-based studies suggesting a prevalence of 10–40% in North America and Western Europe (3).

Several factors like spicy food, inadequate sleep, smoking, and drinking alcohol can lead to this condition in anyone. Some people like to treat this condition with home remedies.

Does drinking hot water help acid reflux?

No, drinking hot water does not help acidic reflux. Consuming plain water at room temperature rather than hot is more effective against acid reflux. It dilutes the stomach acid and reduces acidity and also aids in the digestion process.

However, for patients with Achalasia, a disease which could lead to gastroesophageal reflux, cold water could increase lower esophageal sphincter (LES) resting pressure and prolong the simultaneous contraction of the esophageal body. On the other hand, hot water could decrease LES resting pressure as well as LES residue pressure and shorten the simultaneous contraction of the esophageal body (1).

Is drinking warm water with lemon good for acid reflux?

No, the ingestion of lemon and other citrus fruits can worsen the symptoms of acid reflux. Citrus and other acidic foods such as tomatoes are considered to trigger reflux symptoms. A study assessing the physiologic dynamics of ingesting acidic foods noted that acidic liquids took longer to drink, required a higher number of swallows, had a slower duration of ingestion, and contained a smaller volume in each swallow when compared to a neutral bolus. This suggests a possible mechanism for the worsening of reflux symptoms in some patients, with ingestion of acidic foods such as fruits, juices, coffee, and carbonated beverages (3).

In fact, several studies show that lemon water can make symptoms worse in some people. If lemon water is your choice, and your reflux symptoms worsen, choose another of the options shown below.

5 home remedies for acid reflux

Ginger tea – In addition to all its properties, ginger is also very useful in improving digestion. It stimulates the production of enzymes by the digestive system, thus reducing the time that food spends in the stomach, thus avoiding gastroesophageal reflux. See more benefits of ginger.

Due to its content of phenolic compounds, ginger is an excellent option to relieve gastric irritation, reducing the chances of acid going up the esophagus. However, more studies are needed to verify this effect. 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used to treat a number of medical conditions, including those affecting the digestive tract, such as dyspepsia, flatulence, nausea and abdominal pain. However, the mechanisms responsible for its beneficial effects are not well understood (5).

To enjoy all its benefits, you can add 4 to 5 slices or 2 tablespoons of grated ginger in 1 liter of cold water, and should be taken throughout the day.

Baking soda Sodium bicarbonate is a natural alkaline salt that can reduce the stomach’s acidity in crisis episodes. Bicarbonate is used in some antacid medications that you can buy at the pharmacy, making it a good home option.

Use the bicarbonate, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 250 ml of water and drink at least half to obtain the desired effect.

Sodium bicarbonate, a rapidly acting antacid, reacts rapidly with gastric HCl in the stomach to produce sodium chloride, carbon dioxide, and water. Excess bicarbonate rapidly empties into the small intestine, where it is then absorbed. Sodium bicarbonate is often combined with citric acid. This combination reacts immediately with water to produce sodium citrate solution with the concomitant liberation of carbon dioxide. Sodium citrate is a fast-acting acid neutralizer that in suitable doses can raise stomach pH (6).

Chamomile tea – Chamomile is a natural plant with soothing properties that help treat stomach problems, control poor digestion, and treat stomach ulcers.

To enjoy its properties, you can prepare a chamomile tea 2 to 3 times a day, and you can even prepare an infusion with other plants with anti-inflammatory and soothing properties such as anise seeds, marshmallow, or yarrow, for example. Learn more about the benefits of this plant.

Chamomile flowers, lemon balm leaf, and peppermint leaf are used for a variety of foregut symptoms but principally dyspepsia. A meta-analysis noted that benefit in dyspepsia seemed to be more pronounced in patients with associated GERD symptoms (7).

Aloe juice – Aloe Vera helps treat pain and burning caused by reflux and is also useful for treating gastritis. In limited experimental studies, the effects of A. vera juice on gastrointestinal parameters such as gastric acid secretion have been shown. Also, it has been reported that A. vera has cytoprotective effects on gastric mucosa (8).

To prepare this juice, it is enough to open two aloe leaves, remove the pulp, peel an apple, and remove its seeds. Then add water in a blender along with the ingredients and blend well. Sweeten to taste.

In addition to this, some foods can help improve reflux, know what diet you should follow to treat reflux.

Simple tips for treating acid reflux

Other important tips for treating reflux include:

  • Avoid drinking fluids during meals;
  • Avoid lying down within 30 minutes after eating;
  • Chew and eat slowly;
  • Wear clothing or belts that do not constrict at the waist;
  • Eat in small portions, several times a day;
  • Eat at least 2 hours before sleeping;
  • Avoid liquid foods at dinners such as soups or broths;
  • Lie down on the bed to the left side, preventing the gastric contents from returning to the mouth.

Suppose treatment with medications, diet, or natural remedies does not improve symptoms and complications begin to appear, such as ulcers or Barrett’s esophagus. In that case, the doctor may order surgery to treat gastroesophageal reflux.

The bottom line

Drinking warm water for acid reflux may or may not be suitable because each person and situation are different. If your reflux symptoms get worse even after drinking warm liquids, choose another of the options mentioned above, or, better yet, consult a doctor about your recurrent issues with acid reflux. There is no scientific evidence that drinking warm water could relieve GERD symptoms. Alkaline water has buffering effects on the stomach and therefore can have a positive effect for GERD patients.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

  1. Ren, Yutang, et al. Response of esophagus to high and low temperatures in patients with achalasia. J Neurogastroenterol Motil, 2012, 18, 391.
  2. Koufman, Jamie A., and Nikki Johnston. Potential benefits of pH 8.8 alkaline drinking water as an adjunct in the treatment of reflux disease. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol, 2012, 121, 431-434.
  3. Sethi, Sajiv, and Joel E. Richter. Diet and gastroesophageal reflux disease: role in pathogenesis and management. Curr opin gastroenterol, 2017, 33, 107-111.
  4. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). University of Harvard. 2022.  
  5. Hu, Ming-Luen, et al. Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World j gastroenterol WJG, 2011, 17, 105.
  6. Garg V, Narang P, Taneja R. Antacids revisited: review on contemporary facts and relevance for self-management. J Int Med Res, 2022, 50, 3000605221086457.
  7. Ahuja, Amisha, and Nitin K. Ahuja. Popular remedies for esophageal symptoms: a critical appraisal. Curr Gastroenterol Rep, 2019, 21, 1-8.
  8. Panahi, Yunes, et al. Effect of aloe vera and pantoprazole on Gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in mustard gas victims: A randomized controlled trial. Pharmac Sci ,2016, 22, 190-194.