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Digestive Disorders

Water Brash



What is water brash? Is this a symptom of GERD? How can you distinguish between water brash and sinus drainage?


Water brash indicates the filling of the mouth with clear, salty fluid. This fluid is not regurgitated gastric contents but rather secretions from the salivary glands. This secretion occurs via a reflex after stimulation of the distal esophagus by acid irritation. It is, therefore, a symptom or manifestation of GERD. There is no definitive way that I am aware of for distinguishing water brash from sinus drainage. Perhaps disappearance with medical treatment of acid reflux would be one way.

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Response by:

John D Long, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati