What Causes Diarrhea Immediately After Drinking Water?

Numerous causes of diarrhoea can occur after consuming water, including lactose malabsorption, IBS, sulphate contamination, and overhydration.

More than three loose, watery stools per day are considered diarrhoea. Typical reasons include:
  • infections
  • food intolerances
  • disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (GI), such as IBS
Water consumption is a rare trigger. Diarrhoea may result from water for several causes, including:
  • There's something in the water that moves your bowels.
  • Your gastrocolic reflex is being triggered as you extend your stomach.
  • There is too much water in your diet.
  • The water is not absorbed by your intestines.
Continue reading to find out why water might cause diarrhoea.

Why do I get diarrhea after drinking water?

These are a few possible explanations for why drinking water could cause diarrhoea.

High sulfate levels

Dehydration and diarrhoea can result from high sulphate levels in drinking water, particularly if your body isn't acclimated to it. After a few days, both adults and children often develop a tolerance to sulphate levels.

The maximum amount of sulphate permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States is 250 milligrammes per litre. Over this threshold, the taste usually becomes bitter.

Osmotic diarrhea

When food particles remain in your colon without being absorbed and attract water into your intestines, it can cause osmotic diarrhoea. Watery stools might result from an excess of water in the colon.

Possible reasons consist of:
  • lactose malabsorption in dairy products
  • certain laxatives, such as magnesia citrate and lactulose
  • bile salt malabsorption in individuals with celiac disease
  • illnesses that harm the cells lining your intestines, such as rotavirus
  • exposure to cytotoxins generated by bacteria such as Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 or Escherichia coli (E. Coli)

Water intoxication (water poisoning)

Drinking a lot of water quickly can lead to water intoxication, which can deplete electrolytes in the blood and induce potentially fatal symptoms like:
  • nausea and vomiting
  • altered mental state
  • increased pressure around your brain (intracranial hypertension)
  • diarrhea
  • confusion
  • high blood pressure
Water or other liquid drinking competitions are often linked to water intoxication. Additional reasons consist of:
  • consuming an excessive amount of water without electrolyte replacement after exercise
  • an illness known as psychogenic polydipsia, characterised by obsessive water consumption
  • excessive water replenishment if you suffer from a disease that raises your levels of antidiuretic hormone

Irritable bowel syndrome

You can regulate how easily food passes through your GI tract by using your gastrocolic reflex. This reaction causes your stomach to contract more muscles to facilitate the passage of food.

Irritable bowel syndrome may be brought on by a gastrocolic reflex issue (IBS). It is believed that certain IBS sufferers may have an overactive gastrocolic reflex, which results in rapid passage of faeces through the GI tract soon after eating.

Theoretically, consuming a lot of water may cause your stomach to expand and trigger the gastric reflex.

Dumping syndrome

Food that goes through your stomach too quickly, usually within 30 minutes of a meal, is called "dumping syndrome." It may result in symptoms such as:
  • diarrhea
  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • stomach growling
  • nausea
When the aetiology is unknown, impaired gastric reflex function may contribute to the development of dumping syndrome. Large liquid intakes may cause this reaction to be triggered.

Traveler’s diarrhea

When you visit places where the food or water is contaminated, you run the risk of contracting traveler's diarrhoea.

About 30% of instances of traveller's diarrhoea are caused by E. coli, making it the most common cause. Osmotic diarrhoea can result from an E. Coli infection.


Osmotic diarrhoea can result from dysentery, a gastrointestinal ailment brought on by bacteria or amoebae. Among the possible bacterial causes are:
  • Shigella
  • E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
Amebic dysentery is uncommon in the US and typically strikes individuals who have recently travelled to a tropical region.

Medication use

Osmotic diarrhoea may be brought on by certain drugs, including:
  • magnesium-containing laxatives
  • the laxative lactulose
  • antacids

Food poisoning

When you eat food contaminated with dangerous microorganisms, food poisoning results. Osmotic diarrhoea can be brought on by some bacteria, such as E. coli, which are known to cause food poisoning.

Other causes

Following water consumption, additional possible causes of diarrhoea include:

Circumstances that result in the malabsorption of carbohydrates, like:
  • lactose intolerance
  • glucose-galactose malabsorption
  • sucrose-isomaltose deficiency
  • Crohn’s disease
  • taking too many laxatives
  • an unconnected reason to the water you're working with

What can cause diarrhea after drinking water on an empty stomach?

When diarrhoea occurs on an empty stomach, possible causes include:
  • infections
  • IBS
  • water intoxication
  • dumping syndrome

Treating the underlying cause of diarrhea

These are a few possible remedies for diarrhoea.

Home remedies

Home remedies include:

CauseHome Remedy
Sulfate in drinking water
  • •avoiding water with high levels of sulfate and drinking bottled water
  • reducing fluid intake
  • consuming electrolytes
  • eating smaller meals
  • drinking water or fluids after your meal
Dumping syndrome
  • eating smaller meals more frequently
  • avoiding liquids for 30 minutes Source
  •  after your meal
  • avoiding dairy and simple sugars
  • eating bland foods like:
  • bananas
  • toast
  • avoiding alcohol
  • eating foods high in probiotics
  • rice
  • applesauce

Medication side effects
  •  stopping or changing the dose of certain medications

Medical treatments

Medical treatments include:


  • diuretics
  • sodium replenishment through an IV (intravenous) infusion
  • stopping medications causing the problem
  • anti-diarrheal medications
Dumping syndrome
  • medications like tolbutamide (Orinase) and propranolol (Hemangeol, Inderal)
  • surgery
  • bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
  • antibiotics
  • antiparasitic medications

When to get medical help

Getting medical help is a good decision if:
  • you have diarrhoea for longer than seven days
  • You have really bad diarrhoea.
  • You discover blood in your faeces.
  • You have a dark or black stool.
  • You're getting thinner.
  • You experience a severe or persistent stomachache.
  • You can't hold down fluids.


If you have diarrhoea after drinking water, it may indicate that the water is tainted with sulphur or another toxin. It usually takes a few days to build up a tolerance to sulphate, and as long as the levels stay within EPA guidelines, you can safely keep drinking it.

See your physician if, after a few days, your diarrhoea doesn't improve.


How do you stop water diarrhea?

Drink plenty of liquids, including water, broth and juices.

Is water good or bad for an upset stomach?

If you vomit, start with sips of water or sucking on ice chips.

Can water solve stomach problems?

Being dehydrated can inhibit this process and cause nausea and cramping.

Do bananas help with diarrhea?

Pectin, a water-soluble fiber, helps reduce diarrhea

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