Antacids: How to Properly Reap the Benefits of This Medicine?

Are you one of those people who experience indigestion quite often? Or perhaps you feel heartburn-like symptoms on a daily basis? Either way, this is not pleasant at all, especially if you are dealing with it on a regular basis. Fortunately, there is a way to control/minimise it – you just need to get the right kind of medication. The most commonly used meds for this condition are the antacids, which can be purchased over-the-counter.

What are Antacids?

antacid pills

The purpose of antacid meds is to neutralise the acid content of your stomach. Generally speaking, these tablets include magnesium carbonate, magnesium trisilicate and aluminium hydroxide in their ingredient list which are completely safe to use. They can come under different brand names and are available in tablet and liquid form. Except for these medications, some antacid meds can be combined with simeticone which is great for reducing wind (flatulence). Alginates can also be found in some brands of antacid medications since they can protect the lining of the gullet from stomach acid.

The Use of Antacid Medicine

antacid-tablets-calcium carbonate

One of the most common uses of antacid tablets is to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux that can lead to heartburn or gullet (oesophagitis) inflammation. Additionally, stomach relief tablets can also be used to relieve symptoms that are caused by ulcers in the stomach and part of the gut known as duodenum. Besides, this stomach relief medicine is also used for occasional bouts of indigestion (dyspepsia) as it helps to neutralise the stomach acid.

How Antacid Tablets Work?

The stomach normally produces acid to help with food digestion, but also to kill bacteria. Now, since this acid is considered corrosive, the body produces a natural mucous barrier as to protect the stomach lining from being damaged. Unfortunately, in some people, this barrier can ‘break’ allowing the acid to damage the stomach. This can cause an ulcer which is a painful sore in the stomach lining. On the other hand, some people may have a problem with the muscular band at the top of the stomach (the sphincter) which keeps the stomach tightly closed. Well, this can allow the acid to escape and irritate the gullet.

Everyday-Medication-Anticids

Luckily, antacid meds can neutralise the acid in the stomach because the chemicals in this medication are bases (alkalis) which are the opposite of acids. So, once base and acid meet, neutralisation occurs, making the stomach content less corrosive. This can lead to reliving the pain caused by ulcers and acid reflux. An important thing to know about this medication is that it provides a quick relief that lasts only a short period of time. So, if you are experiencing frequent problems with heartburn and acid reflux, consulting with a doctor is paramount.

How Often Can I Take Antacid Tablets?

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Usually, these tablets should be taken when you need to relieve your symptoms or when you expect symptoms. Generally, your doctor or pharmacist will let you know what is the required dose and tell you how often you need to take it. You can also read the leaflet that comes with the chosen antacid med brand.

Can You Take Antacid Tablets When Pregnant?

girl using anticids

According to doctors, this medication should be avoided during pregnancy. Since there are different types of antacids, if pregnant, you should stick to the ones that contain aluminium, calcium or magnesium as they are considered the safest during this period of your life. However, consulting with your doctor is essential prior to the purchase and use.

Side Effects

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Although it is rare for this medication to cause any side effects, some people might experience some of them. The most common ones are constipation, diarrhea and belching. For instance, meds that contain magnesium can have a laxative effect, while the ones with aluminium tend to cause constipation. For any other side effects, you should read the leaflet that comes with your medication. Last but not least, antacids shouldn’t be taken in combo with other meds. This is because antacids can affect how well the other medication will be absorbed in your body.

You should consult with your doctor in case the symptoms get worse or if you experience some of the following problems:

  • Blood in the stool;
  • Vomiting blood;
  • Weight loss;
  • Persistent abdominal pain or persistent vomiting;
  • Difficulty swallowing and food getting stuck in the gullet.

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