Why Sparkling Water May Help an Upset Stomach

Woman with upset stomach

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If your stomach is upset, a glass of sparkling water may just be the remedy you need in order to start feeling better.

Many beverages have been touted as the solution for a variety of common ailments over the years. That includes indigestion — a broader term for upset stomach or upper abdominal discomfort. However, few of those claims are backed by clinical research.

But sparkling water is a little different. There is scientific evidence to suggest that it may help settle your stomach.

In 2002, researchers conducted a study on the effects of carbonated water on dyspepsia (upset stomach) and constipation. The results were intriguing: patients’ upset stomachs felt better after they consumed carbonated water, when compared to regular water.

San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water in a bottle and a glass with ice

Sparkling water didn’t just help alleviate those with stomach aches. It also helped relieve constipation and contributed to feelings of satiety (fullness).

However, the study may have been slightly flawed. It didn’t account for something else that may have made the participants feel better. Carbonated water wasn’t the only thing the participants were ingesting during the experiment; the beverage used was sparkling mineral water.

Sparkling Mineral Water for Upset Stomach

Oddly, researchers for the 2002 study described above didn’t use regular carbonated water. Instead, they used sparkling mineral water, adding a new variable to the experiment.

It is unclear whether the positive outcomes patients experienced were a result of the carbonated water, the minerals it contained, or a combination of the two.

We do know that magnesium, a common mineral in sparkling mineral water, can be helpful for easing abdominal cramping and constipation. More research is required to determine whether or not carbonated water without minerals can help remedy an upset stomach.

Nevertheless, the experiment validated the idea that if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to alleviate a mildly upset stomach, sparkling water may just do the trick. However, be sure to opt for sparkling mineral water if possible. There is reason to believe that the remedy may actually come from the minerals that some carbonated water contains.

Topo Chico sparkling mineral water

Sparkling Water vs. Sparkling Mineral Water

Mineral water generally comes from a natural source. It contains a variety of dissolved minerals, which may include sodium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium in varying quantities — depending upon the source.

Sparkling water is a broader term. It usually refers to carbonated water that is manufactured and may or may not contain minerals, flavoring, or even artificial sweeteners (rarely).

Sparkling Mineral Water Brands

There is no guarantee that any beverage will help your upset stomach. But, there are several brands of sparkling mineral water that are widely available and taste great. Sourced from natural springs across the globe, these effervescent waters have natural carbonation and contain a variety of minerals:

  • San Pellegrino
  • Perrier
  • Gerolsteiner
  • The Mountain Valley
  • Topo Chico
Sparkling water being poured into a glass

Can Sparkling Water Cause or Worsen a Stomach Ache?

Sparkling water does not inherently cause harm to peoples’ stomachs or digestive systems. The refreshing beverage is generally considered a safe and healthy. It even hydrates you just as well as flat water.

Since most sparkling water contains no sweeteners, little or no flavoring, and no nutritionally significant ingredients, it usually impacts our stomachs the same way that regular water would.

However, some brands do contain artificial sweeteners, which can irritate our stomachs and even have a negative effect on gut health, according to a 2014 study on non-nutritive sweeteners. Check the label of your sparking water to determine if it contains any sweeteners; most popular brands including LaCroix and Bubly do not.

Some sparkling water may even contain caffeine, which can certainly cause stomach problems for some people, particularly when consumed in large quantities.

Additionally, if you suffer from a digestive disorder like irritable bowel syndrome or acid reflux, sparkling water may exacerbate your symptoms. Consult your doctor or dietician if that is the case.

Sparkling Water and Other Ailments

In many cultures, natural springs of sparkling mineral water have long been fabled to have health benefits. The concept has even become a part of some brands’ official backstory. Topo Chico, for example, is said to be sourced from a spring in northern Mexico, where a princess was miraculously cured of an illness after drinking and bathing in the water.

Modern medicine may not back every purported health benefit of sparkling water, but there is some evidence to suggest it may be a decent beverage to help settle our digestive systems.


There is no evidence to suggest that sparkling water can help to rid you of diarrhea better than regular water. In fact, if you have diarrhea, sparkling water may worsen it by increasing the amount of gas in your digestive system.

However, we know that sparkling water hydrates us just as well as water, and rehydration is extremely important when suffering from diarrhea. So while regular water would be best, sparkling water is probably better than alternatives like soda or juice.

Avoid sparkling water brands that contain artificial sweeteners if your stomach is sensitive to them. Very few sparkling waters contain artificial sweeteners, but they do exist.

And while sparkling water is unlikely to cause diarrhea for most people, if you have a digestive disorder like IBS, sparkling water and other carbonated beverages may contribute to the likelihood of a flareup.


Can sparkling water help with nausea? While the answer isn’t simple, it seems that it sometimes may.

As noted above, sparkling water may help relieve indigestion, according to the 2002 study. Indigestion is often the cause of nausea, so it’s possible that drinking sparkling water may make you feel a bit better. However, in general, most medical professionals recommend regular water when you’re feeling ill.

Conversely, a study conducted in 2018 found that sparkling water may contribute to feelings of nausea for some people. By increasing our “gastric volume,” with CO2 gas, it can cause feelings of bloating. Bloat, in turn, can make us experience nausea.

Interestingly, women who participated in the study experienced greater discomfort related to the consumption of carbonated beverages than men did. Gender aside, different people react to carbonation differently, and some may not experience any bloating from sparkling water.


Research has shown that sparkling mineral water may help remedy constipation to a small degree. The 2002 study found that it performed better than regular water in reducing feelings of constipation. In fact, participants that drank regular water did not report any differences in their symptoms.

It’s not clear why carbonated water helps reduce constipation. It may be the carbonation, the minerals it contains, or a combination of the two.

Sparkling Water May Benefit Mildly Upset Stomachs

If your stomach hurts, there could be a multitude of causes, and it’s important to rely upon the advice of medical professionals. For commonplace indigestion, it may be worth a try to sip some sparkling water and see if it helps you feel better.

If you experience frequent or severe stomach or digestive discomfort, seek medical attention immediately. This article is not intended as medical advice; it is for informational and entertainment purposes only.