Why does my stomach hurt when I drink water?

If you have been taking a cold sip of that sweet H2O, and you are suddenly feeling that something isn’t feeling really quite right, you may be in for a nasty surprise.

Water is supposed to be this nourishing thing that we humans depend on, so you may be feeling confused as to why this liquid would suddenly be causing you issues.

It’s not like you went out the night before and had an excessive amount of alcohol to drink, in which case it may be a little bit easier to understand why everything feels like it is hurting just a little too much. 

We’d also like to actually get into a couple of the reasons why you may be feeling this pain, and what you can do about it in order to make sure that you are addressing the underlying issues.

So, you may have been wondering why a website that seemingly sells lead paint test kits is in fact writing an article about why you’re experiencing a stomach that hurts when you’re drinking water, and the sad reality is that the two may be connected. And if it does turn out that they’re connected, you will want to make sure that you aren’t continuously being exposed to the dangerous heavy metal which is causing your stomach to be upset. 

However, we’ll talk more about that as we get to that specific section of the article. For now, we just wanted to let you know that there actually is a connection, and that we haven’t gone fully off brand in order to write this article. 

There are certain situations where it is especially important that you make sure that it is not lead poisoning or exposure that you are dealing with, especially if you have just recently removed a plaster wall or you found hairline cracks that you repaired in your old home, which could be an indication that you didn’t take the necessary steps to protect yourself against lead poisoning.

Pregnant women should also be especially careful that they aren’t doing anything that would expose them to elevated lead levels.  Perhaps you were removing old paint without properly protecting your airways against the dust that it would generate if you weren’t using one of these chemical solutions to help you out. 

However, it could also be that the pain that you are feeling is entirely unrelated to lead exposure. Read on to get a better understanding of the most likely sources that could be causing these issues.

Is your pain occurring at a specific time of the day or does it simply seem to happen at random?

When you’re dealing with stomach pain, it’s a good idea to figure out if it seems to only manifest itself at a specific time of the day as that could be an indication that there is something around that time which is causing it. Are you only experiencing it when you are drinking water of a certain temperature? Is it perhaps that you get it only when you drink hot water, or do you also get it with tap-cold water as well? 

In the morning

While mornings may be rough for a lot of people, there is something that will make them even more rough and that is if you start experiencing pain in your stomach right as you get out of bed. Perhaps you manage to get down that one glass of water before the pain really sets in, despite being told that starting out the day with a glass of water is a healthy thing that could even help curb some of those early morning cravings, like the craving to have a big sugary breakfast.

There is a definite chance that if you’re experiencing pain in your stomach in the morning when you’re drinking water, that it more so just has to do with the fact that you are basically causing a shock to the stomach. Your stomach is really longing for some food, and you have yet to give it any food. 

If you believe that might be the case, try changing up your routine to see if at all it changes your stomach pangs. If you still want to have a glass of water in the morning before you start eating, perhaps try pushing back your breakfast a couple of hours. If you are used to eating at 7am, and you have your first glass of water 10 minutes before that, simply try seeing if you are able to eat at 10am instead, and having your first glass of water at 9:50 instead. 

Is that changing anything for you? If so, great! If you still experience pain if you are having a glass of water before you have any food, then it simply might be that your body is not cut out to engage in a serious amount of hydration before you put some food in it. 

Is cold water causing it? 

While there are certain times when you really feel like getting the chilling effects of consuming a cold glass of water, there are also times when it may seem like it is actually this cold water that is causing the pain for you. If you seem to mainly be experiencing the pain after a glass of cold water, whereas you won’t after a glass of warm H2O, perhaps the easy answer may just be to make sure that you are putting slightly fewer ice cubes in the water to figure out what sort of temperature will trigger your body into its adverse reaction to this very healthy liquid.

Your body’s normal temperature is around 98 degrees so when you’re flushing down a very cold glass of water, it is no surprise that you are exposing your body to quite the shock. The same is the case when you put an ice cube in your mouth, or anything else that is very cold for that matter, and you’re experiencing a brain freeze.

Your body may simply not be able to handle the differences in temperatures that you are exposing it to, and pain could be the obvious thing that comes out of it as a consequence. 

Are you drinking it too fast? 

Although you may be feeling that there is an unsatisfiable amount of thirst that is headed your way and that the best way to deal with it is in fact to drink as much water as quickly as you possibly can, but are you getting the same level of pain if you drink the water, however, at a slower pace? When you force yourself to consume it at a slower pace, there is also a very likely possibility, and that is that you will end up drinking less of it. We are not saying that you shouldn’t be looking to satisfy your thirst, but perhaps just drink water until you feel you are no longer thirsty, rather than trying to cause something that resembled a fluid overload, and the expansion of your stomach to an extent that isn’t comfortable.

While water is crucial for our survival, you can in fact drink so much water that you die from it, and that is when the water to electrolyte ratio is entirely off. When you are drinking massive amounts of water without taking in the necessary sodium, you could be lowering your body’s overall sodium levels and getting to a point of hyponatremia, which can cause both stomach cramps, weakness, nausea and other nasty side effects. 

Medical reasons

If the methods above were able to address the situation, and you are now no longer experiencing any pain, we are happy that you managed to address the situation! If something else is causing it, it may be an indication that there are more serious issues that you should be looking into, and as per the focus of our website, the first one that we will be talking about is lead poisoning. 

The bad thing about lead poisoning is that there is very little that you can do about it right now, however, the good thing about discovering that it is in fact an issue that you are dealing with, is that you can take the necessary steps in order to remedy the situation, whether it is you or your landlord who has to do it. 

Lead poisoning

Lead poisoning is unfortunately a very serious medical condition that can lead to some very difficult side effects, especially the later you are finding out that that is what you are dealing with. While we wish we could say that the situation was different, there are still lots of homes across the US that have lead inside of them, where you perhaps haven’t managed to get a professional to come out with an XRF analyzer to see that the old paint that was installed back in the day when the house was built contains heaps of lead in it, and over the years, this paint has not managed to stay intact due to the constant weathering that it has been exposed to, and as a consequence you have been inhaling little lead flakes for a very long time. 

If your lead exposure stems from the fact that it is all over the walls, the best thing would be to make sure that you have it all abated, however, the second best situation is to encapsulate the old and problematic paint

The good news regarding the potential exposure to lead is that it has been limited over the years, as lead was both previously used in residential paint as well as the pipes and plumbing of the house, however, the inclusion of the heavy metal in the residential paint was prohibited starting in 1977. There are still a lot of water pipes out there that were galvanized steel pipes that would trigger the release of lead over time, as these pipes were common between the 1930s and the 1960s. Luckily we have since gone over to use copper pipes instead but you would be well off making sure that your water doesn’t have high levels of lead in it. 

We recommend that you both get a blood test as well as a water test if you are suspecting that this may be an issue for you. Making sure that your home is lead-free is not both good for you, but it is also good for the other people of the home, especially if you are living with someone relatively young who is very much at risk when it comes to the exposure of this heavy metal. 

Arsenic contamination

There are a range of countries across the world where the arsenic content in the water is dangerously high, and if you get vomiting and abdominal pain, this could be another thing that is causing issues, and you’ll be saddened by the fact that there are actual places in the United States where inorganic arsenic in the groundwater can pose a threat.  Other countries where this is a concern includes Argentina, Bangladesh, China, India and Mexico. In order to get a more thorough list, make sure to check out WHO. 

Microbial growth and allergic reactions

There may be a specific growth of certain microbial organisms that your stomach isn’t ready to handle, and these pathogens can cause a range of problems, where stomach pain is just one of them. If you are used to drinking the water straight from the tap, and you are experiencing pain at that point, you should try boiling the water to get rid of those pathogens and see if it fixes the problem. 

Allergic reactions is another thing to consider as some municipalities may have different processes that they expose the water to before it’s sent to the houses, and they could end up adding stuff like chlorine and chloramines which you may have allergic reactions to. 

Other medical issues

Don’t think that these things are what is causing your issues? There’s unfortunately an extensive list of medical reasons why you could be experiencing stomach pain, including stomach ulcers, inflammation, gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome and others. 

Some of these issues may be resolved with a healthier lifestyle that is less inducive of inflammation, like eating a ketogenic diet in general. If you suspect that there are medical reasons for your pain, you really should be consulting a doctor. 

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