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Digestive Disorders

Water Brash

09/10/1999

Question:

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

Answer:

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