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What Is Thick Water?

What Is Thick Water?
Shweta Chaubey

Hydration becomes difficult when you have swallowing difficulties. Very recently, the internet has started talking about thick water. But do you know what is thick water and who can have it?

What is thick water?

Thick water is a type of water for dysphagia, a swallowing disorder. It helps prevent pulmonary aspiration while swallowing in those with that condition. Foods can also be thickened to make swallowing safer. Everybody has had food “go down the wrong way”! Thickened water prevents a person from choking on water.

What is thick water used for?

Most people have probably never heard of thick or thickened water – not until it becomes a necessity anyway. Thick water purpose is to resolve a swallowing disorder called dysphagia. Swallowing involves using several muscles and nerves to get the food or drink from the mouth into the stomach. A person with swallowing difficulties may feel it hard or even impossible to get the food down their throat or esophagus due to some blockage in the esophageal tube or neuromuscular weakness in the tongue or mouth.

Dysphagia can be mild or severe and, in certain cases, cause pulmonary aspiration (i.e., food or drinks making their way into the lower respiratory area), leading to a cough or potentially even pneumonia. Patients who have been extubated are often advised to use food thickeners. The IDDSI addresses the appropriate viscosity and consistency of thickened water. According to which the thickness of a liquid is evaluated by the amount of liquid that pours out of a 10 mL syringe in 10 seconds. 

What is thick water made of?

Thickened water is a mix of a thickening agent and water. You can either buy pre-thickened water or make your own by adding these thickening substances. The most common agents to thicken water include -

  • Xanthan Gum
  • Guar Gum
  • Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC)
  • Cornstarch

According to research by the National Institutes of Health, xanthan gum thickeners were less viscose than starch-based thickeners.

Who can benefit from thick water?

People experiencing difficulty swallowing may benefit from the use of chunky water. But, before administering food thickener, it is recommended to consult a medical professional. Usually, swallowing is diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist. The specialist assesses the facial and oral structure and watches the patient eat and drink. The most common medical conditions that can cause swallowing problems are - 

  • GERD and acid reflux
  • Esophagus inflammation (esophagitis)
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Thyroid nodules

People with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, Dementia, or Alzheimer’s may develop swallowing problems.

What does thickened water taste like?

It tastes very much like regular bottled or tap water. The real difference is in the consistency. One can pour and swallow thick water more easily. However, it is chunky and contains additives. Drink thick water in a small glass to easily transition from thin to thick fluids.


Where can I buy thickened water?

HPFY offers a wide range of thickened water products, including flavored thick water like lemon water and food thickeners to help you get adequate nutrition despite swallowing problems. Explore our catalog today and find what suits your needs the best.

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Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

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