Does Water Make You More or Less Bloated?

Last updated: June 2019

It can feel like you need two different wardrobes – one for your bloated days and one for your “normal” days.

As if the way we feel when we’re getting our period isn’t bad enough, we get the joy of looking bloated too. The shirt doesn’t lay as flat, the pants don’t button well... if at all.

It begs the question, what will help reduce the bloating? It’s said that increasing your water intake will help, but sometimes it feels like it makes it worse. So which is it, does water make bloating better or worse? Let’s “dive into” the matters.

The benefits of drinking water

First let’s understand what happens when we drink water. Being that our body is comprised of 60-70% water, it’s a big deal. It supports virtually every cellular function in our body.

When properly hydrated, we experience:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved digestion
  • Easier elimination
  • Clearer skin

But with playing such a key role in multiple systems, our body – more specifically our cells – need enough water to go around.

How much should you drink?

The ideal amount to consume in a day is half your body weight in ounces of water. This is the optimal amount for your body. Yes, it may feel like a lot of water so don’t overwhelm yourself. There’s no need to start chugging water right now. Simply increase the amount slowly. If you’re not drinking any water today, start with one glass.

This is where the discussion of bloating comes in. If you’re having a steady flow of water throughout your day, you’re able to flush out toxins and reduce fluid retention.

If, however, you flood your body with a high volume of water all at once, you’re likely going to experience a full and protruding belly. The bloating will be temporary but likely not comfortable.

Pacing yourself at a steady rate of eight-ounce glass of water per hour, you’re more likely to reduce bloating. Essentially, the faster you increase the quantity of water intake, the more likely you are to experience bloating.

How sodium plays a part

It’s also helpful to keep in mind that sodium intake will impact this process too. The higher amount of sodium you consume, the more likely your body is to hold onto that water. Sodium intake often has less to do with the shaker on your kitchen table, and more about the high amounts in processed (and restaurant) food. Frozen and canned foods tend to be the worst culprits, but there are, of course, low-sodium options.

Give it a try, get yourself a pretty new water bottle, and try to steadily increase your water intake throughout the day. I often allow herbal tea to count as a cup of water so long as there’s no sugar in it.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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