Why Am I Having Stomach Issues from Water?

A man experiencing stomach issues from water holds his stomach in pain

Contaminated drinking water can cause many stomach issues, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and more.

We’ve put together this guide to help you protect your health! Keep reading to learn:

  • What could be causing your stomach issues
  • The potential health risks
  • How to prevent your water from making you sick

What Could Be Causing Stomach Issues from Water

Many pollutants can cause stomach pain after drinking water. Here are some of the most common contaminants that could be making you sick:

Coliform

These bacteria live in plants, soil and the gastrointestinal tract of animals. Coliform contamination in water can come from many different sources, such as waste disposal, cross-contamination from sewage plants or leaking well caps.

Coliforms may not always give you gastrointestinal illnesses, though. If you have been consuming them in small amounts over time, you may have built up an immunity to them. However, the presence of large quantities in water could indicate that harmful pathogenic microbes are also present.

Cryptosporidium

This microscopic parasite is the leading cause of waterborne illnesses in the United States. It is protected by an outer shell, which allows it to survive for a long time outside of a host. The exterior is even tough enough to survive chlorine disinfection.

Cryptosporidia often get into drinking water when the water mixes with human or animal fecal matter. Consuming contaminated water can cause cryptosporidiosis, a gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, stomach pains and fever. These symptoms can begin 2-10 days after consumption.

E. coli

The body contains many harmless strains of bacteria that are like E. coli. What makes E. coli especially dangerous is that it generates a potent toxin, which can make you very sick.

There are many ways this type of bacteria can infiltrate local water supplies, including sewage leaks and farm runoff. It most frequently gets into homes with private well water since it receives no municipal treatment before reaching the tap.

Giardia

Giardia is a parasite known to take up residence within the small intestine of humans and other animals. When this happens, it results in a gastrointestinal illness called giardiasis. Some common symptoms of drinking bad water containing giardia include fatigue, weight loss, stomach cramps, vomiting and headaches.

This parasite often lives in fecal matter. So, the most commons sources of contamination in drinking water include animal feces, improperly disposed diapers and runoff from nearby farms.

Salmonella

You have probably heard of Salmonella because of how frequently it causes food-related illnesses in the United States. However, the harmful bacteria can also infiltrate drinking water when it encounters human or animal feces.

Salmonella frequently gets into private wells through sewage overflows and stormwater runoff. Storms and flooding can also make wells even more vulnerable to Salmonella contamination.

Shigella

Shigella is another strain of bacteria that lives in feces. It typically infiltrates drinking water through sewage contamination or flooding and can cause bloody diarrhea, fever and stomach pain. These symptoms usually start 1-2 days after consumption and can last a week or more.

A chart listing common bacteria, stomach issues from water they can cause and potential solutions

The Potential Health Risks

All these bacteria cause very unpleasant symptoms, including diarrhea, fever, headache and stomach pain. But fortunately, infection is rarely life-threatening. The age groups most at risk of severe illness are the very young and the very old.

If you come down with a waterborne illness, we recommend consulting your doctor about the best treatment options. These will likely include bed rest at home with plenty of fluids and pain medication. However, some more severe cases may require hospitalization.

How to Prevent Disease from Drinking Bad Water

Concerned dangerous contaminants in your water might be making you sick? Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening!

The first step is to determine whether you have city water or well water. If you get your water from the city, then you are already protected by municipal water treatment. This isn’t to say contaminants can’t still find their way into your tap. But your city is required by law to notify you when contamination occurs.

However, if you get your water from a private well, it’s up to you to make sure your water is clean. The first step is to get your water tested regularly. A professional water test can help you identify what pollutants you’re dealing with. Once you know that, you can then pick the right water treatment equipment to protect your health.

One of the best options for removing harmful bacteria from a private well is a chlorine injection system. This system will take your water and inject it with chlorine to neutralize the harmful bacteria. Then it will filter out the chlorine before sending the water to your tap. As a result, the water will be perfectly safe to consume and enjoy!

Need Help Keeping Bacteria Out of Your Water?

Angel Water is here to serve you! We have helped homeowners throughout Northern Illinois keep coliform, E. coli, giardia and more out of their tap water. We would love to do the same for you.

Contact us today at 847-382-7800 or fill out the form below to learn how our licensed experts can help you. We can perform professional water testing, install chlorine injection systems and more!

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