Why drinking salt water to ease a stomach ache isn’t a good idea

Why drinking salt water to ease a stomach ache isn't a good idea

Why drinking salt water to ease a stomach ache isn’t a good idea

Some believe that taking salt water can relieve stomach pain almost immediately. A more advanced form of this is called a saltwater flush which is believed to relieve constipation, reduce bloating, or cleanse the colon.

While many claim this works, it’s not recommended to take saltwater when you have a stomachache. Here are some reasons why drinking salt water to ease a stomach ache isn’t a good idea

Salty water does not calm a stomach as much as plain warm water. If you drink very much saltwater, it will cause vomiting. That’s why people marooned at sea die of thirst. If they drink the saltwater, it makes them vomit up all their fluids and results in dehydration. Most times, if it works, it’s usually as a result of a placebo effect where your belief in it helped you get well, or in other cases, any benefits all come from its main ingredient – water!

It is usually worse when you have high blood pressure as saltwater elevates your blood pressure.

About saltwater flushes

Saltwater flushes are quite different from just drinking salt water when you have a stomach ache. They specifically are used to treat constipation, bloating, and to detoxify the colon during a juice fast or similar cleansing program.

Supporters of colon cleansing link chronic medical problems with colon toxins and, therefore, they recommend colon cleanses to increase immune function and energy levels.

The saltwater flush itself supposedly aids the colon in purging old fecal material and toxins from the body, and it is thought to be safe overall.

Nevertheless, there are some in the medical community who warn against the practice.


Some side effects can be serious even though many proponents of saltwater flushes report that there are minimal risks.

Common side effects include symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

The potential for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance may lead to symptoms that can be serious, including:

  • muscle spasms
  • weakness
  • twitching
  • numbness
  • confusion
  • feeling lethargic
  • convulsions
  • seizures
  • heart problems, including changes in blood pressure and heartbeat

Saltwater flushes are not a good option for everyone, and speaking to a doctor before starting a salt water flush is essential. Again, it is worth remembering that the body can cleanse and flush itself without additional help.

It may be recommended that those with high blood pressuredigestive issues, kidney or heart disease, or other serious medical conditions should avoid saline flushes and colon cleanses.

Saltwater cleanses are not to be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women or children.


It is limited if any scientific evidence to support the use of saline flushes.

However, many personal experiences are noted on the internet, discussing practices with this cleanser. But further research is needed in this area to determine the efficacy and safety of colon cleansing.

How to do a saltwater flush

A common salt water flush recipe involves mixing non-iodized salt with water by:

  • adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of non-iodized salt, preferably sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt, to 1 liter of water, and stirring until dissolved
  • drinking the mixture over 5 or so minutes

A saltwater flush is often done on an empty stomach, for instance, first thing in the morning, to produce several bowel movements throughout the day.

If a person tries this remedy, they should make sure that there is a bathroom nearby for most of the day.

It’s not like salt water is generally bad, there are very good uses of saltwater

Good uses of saltwater

Canker Sores

Rinsing your mouth with salt water can ease the pain and help you heal faster. Stir a teaspoon of salt into a half-cup or so of water. Swish and spit. Do this several times a day until your canker sores don’t bother you anymore.

Ingrown Toenail

This is when the edge of your toenail curves down and gets trapped in your skin. It often affects the big toe, and it can hurt. To ease swelling and tenderness, soak your foot in warm salt water several times a day. Follow with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. See your doctor if it doesn’t improve or gets worse.

Stuffy or Runny Nose

Salt is a proven way to help you breathe easier when you’ve got a cold, the flu, or allergies. A bonus: It’s affordable, too. Look for over-the-counter saline nose sprays at the drugstore. Or use a neti pot to rinse out your nasal passages with saltwater.

Sore Throat

Gargling with salt water — about 1/2 teaspoon dissolved in a cup of warm water — can ease swelling and make a sore, scratchy throat feel better.

Teeth whitening

A few studies show that toothpaste with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which is different from the table salt, whitens your teeth better than the kind without it. The soda scrubs away surface stains but won’t scratch your pearly whites.

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