Though water can cause acid reflux when eating, this isn’t a serious problem and will not harm you.

However, there’s a reason why this occurs, and there’s a very easy solution.

“Drinking water helps neutralize and rinse out stomach acid that has refluxed into the esophagus,” says Dr. Saurabh (Seth) Sethi, MD, a Harvard University and Stanford University trained board-certified gastroenterologist practicing in the San Francisco bay area.

“In general, water is good for managing GERD,” continues Dr. Sethi.

“However, avoid drinking water during meal time, as this can worsen acid reflux symptoms.

“Drinking water with meals over-fills your stomach, which can cause the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to open and allow stomach contents to leak into the esophagus.”

If Skipping Water During Meals Is Too Hard to Do…

If you must have water with your meals (e.g., a zero-calorie thirst quencher that helps with portion control), then make sure you do not gulp air as you drink the water.

Drink the water slowly if you normally gulp and guzzle. You may even want to just give it brief sips instead of a sustained drinking.

You can also see what happens by drinking less water than you typically do during your meals.

Another suggestion is to drink the water 30 minutes before eating, and then have only tiny amounts during the meal.

If the meal is large, this will make you want to drink more water. Plus, eating a lot of food in one sitting can trigger acid reflux — especially if you hurry through the meal.

Cutting back on large meals, then, is yet another tactic to try, in an effort to avoid acid reflux while drinking water with food.

In summary, water — from a molecular makeup standpoint– does not directly trigger acid reflux. The trigger is in how you consume it.

Follow Dr. Sethi at Twitter ( and Instagram ( 
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.