Unfortunately, some people have difficulty swallowing, which is instinctive and comes naturally to the rest of us. The condition is called dysphagia and occurs when there is a problem in any part of the body involved in the swallowing process. This can be the neck or cheek muscles, tongue, or even the stimulus that moves food down the throat.
Thick water is a type of water with a thicker-than-usual consistency that serves the purpose of hydration for people with swallowing issues. The best place to buy thick water is through Amazon, which we have linked to further down the page. Thick water has important hydration health benefits for people with swallowing issues who would most commonly struggle to stay hydrated.
In the following article, we also cover the following:
- How to make it
- Choosing the best thickening agent
What is thick water?
Thick water is a solution, both scientifically and literally, for keeping people with dysphagia hydrated. High fructose corn syrup or starch-based thickeners are used to make thick water which is available over the counter. Additionally, one can also get a hold of thickening agents that can be added to drinking water to increase its viscosity at home.
What is the purpose of thick water
Thick water’s purpose is to help with hydration. It is a genius cure for people who may be suffering from one medical condition or the other that acts as a trigger to their dysphagia. Here are just some examples of how increasing the density of water can aid the symptoms of one’s medical condition and help with ingestion:
- Seniors can develop an over-sensitive gag reflex due to neurological conditions. Thicker water has a slower liquid flow. It gives enough time for their stimulus to close the airways. It prevents any water from entering the trachea.
- Dysphagia is also a common condition among those with cancer. Neck and head cancers, particularly (due to the tumor) obstruct or narrow down the passage of food. The tumor can also affect the ability of the lips, tongue, and throat muscles to function. This may also happen as a side effect of the treatment. The tongue is essentially what pushes the liquid or food to the back of the mouth and initiates the swallowing process. The tongue must act fast for running liquids, such as regular water. However, more dense liquids can give enough time for a weaker person’s body to act and close the larynx. Once the larynx is closed, breathing stops, and food can be swallowed without penetrating to the airway or the lungs.
- Neurological damage often causes by a stroke or injury in the brain or spinal cord can also be a cause of dysphagia. The resolution is the same. Slowing down the flow of water through thickening agents so that the muscles get more time to react to the trigger of the swallow and close the airways before water can enter it.
These are only three specific medical conditions that cause dysphagia mentioned above. Thick water is also a way for people with muscle sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease to stay hydrated.
How to make thick water?
Of course, there is always the option of buying pre-made thick water from the store. You may also purchase some commercial thickening agents and mix them with regular water to make thick water at home.
But there’s another more inexpensive way to make thick water at home. Now you may be wondering, what ingredients can be used to make thick water at home?
Well, there are some herbs and natural ingredients that can change the consistency of water altogether. Keep reading to find out about what thickening agents you can give a shot.
Choosing a thickening agent
The very first time making thick water at home is to choose your thickening agent. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Tapioca Starch (derived from the roots of a cassava plant)
- Aloe vera gel
- Cassava flour
- Marshmallow herbs (ingestion of which is great for coughs, sores, and skin infections)
- Slippery elm herb (popular home remedy in North America)
- Diatomaceous earth ( Extracted from the cell walls of diatoms, an algae found mostly in oceans)
Adding the agent
Once you’ve selected what substance you’d like to use to make your water thick, you can begin adding it to the water.
Take a teaspoon of the thickening agent and add it to the water. Drink it, or have the patient with dysphagia drink it. If there is some ease in the water being swallowed, then that’s a good sign.
If you think you could do with adding more of the thickening substance, proceed to add another teaspoon. Stop when it is the consistency one would like for it to be, and it solves the issue of swallowing.
Now, it’s important to note down this perfect ratio of the substance and water you just figured out. Using the ratio, one can make more thick water and store it in several jars at home, so it is readily available when one is thirsty.
Where to buy thick water?
Thankfully, you don’t have to bother figuring out where to buy thick water because we’ve done that research for you.
You can get them at grocery stores and pharmacies. Unless you have something else to pick as well, why bother leaving the house? Especially, when you can get everything you need from amazon. Here are our best recommendations below:
Probably one of the most popular brands you’ll come across is ”Thick-It” by Aquacare Beverages. This pack, in particular, is 46oz, which is approximately 6 glasses of water.
It is also unflavored, free of calories, and can be used just as normal water is used. That means you can dissolve any powdered drink mixes, supplements, or cocoa in it or even keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
And it will not throw off the flavor of the beverage you are going for! You can find the same water in an 8oz pack, which is about a glass or two and a great size for someone who’s just trying.
While this is nectar consistency, there’s also a honey consistency which is a tad bit milder in thickness.
- It mixes well with other drinks.
- It will help quench a thirsty thirst.
- It might take some time to get used to the consistency.
- The taste may not be for everyone, even if it says unflavored.
- It’s more expensive than normal water.
Thick & Easy Hydrolyte in Lemon Flavour
Suppose you’re buying for someone who doesn’t just have a problem swallowing but also has a problem with the taste of water. Then this 46oz (6 glasses) Thick & Easy lemon flavored solution can make it more exciting for them.
Let’s face it not drinking enough water due to it being boring and bland is a problem even people without dysphagia face. It is also available in two consistencies; honey and nectar. This also happens to be slightly more affordable than the ”Thick-it” brand.
|Thick & Easy Hydrolyte
|8.23 x 4.41 x 3.43 inches
|46 Fl Oz
- We prefer this lemon flavor.
- It’s great for people with swallowing issues.
- We wish it was a smaller container that was easier to carry around.
- The consistency still takes some getting used to.
Thick-It Original Canister
We’ll have to admit it, buying pre-made thick water can come around to be about a few bucks per glass! And depending on the medical condition that the dysphagia is triggered by, it can stay from a couple of months to years on end.
So if you don’t have the budget to spend hundreds of dollars on just water when you have other expenses to bear, this thickening agent may be your saving grace. This 36 oz canister gives you a total of 182 servings. It proves to be very economical in comparison to buying ready-made thick water.
With a thickening agent like this one, you also have the option of controlling the consistency of water for each glass. So, someone with temporary dysphagia might be comfortable with swallowing a nectar-like liquid at first.
However, they can slowly progress to drinking water with a consistency of honey. Lastly, this thickener is not limited to just water. You can make just about any liquid thick and more swallowable for people with dysphagia.
|Modified Cornstarch, Maltodextrin.
- It will save you a lot of money.
- You can add it to whatever you want and get the flavor you want.
- It’s the best thickener out there with no taste.
- It’s easier just to open a bottle that’s already premade.
You would pour it similarly to how you would pour regular water, except that it would just travel much slower.
You can compare the density with aloe vera gel. Depending on the consistency you shop for, it might pour in parts and appear like blobs of liquid pouring into a glass! And other consistencies will just look like you’re pouring some heavy gel.
What does it taste like?
It tastes very similar to regular water. The only difference is that the thickness can feel very chunky in the mouth. While some people don’t necessarily enjoy this chunky taste, others don’t feel it bothers them at all.
The bottom line is somebody may be suffering from dysphagia. They would care more about their nutrition and hydration levels than be bothered by the chunky taste in their mouth.
Thus, somebody drinking thick water with the right mindset can get away with the lumpy water they feel in their mouth.