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Six things you need to know about antacids

If you have ever had the sour taste of vomit in your mouth after a spicy meal chances are you have taken antacids to relive your pain.

Antacids are over-the-counter medications that help neutralize stomach acid which is caused by secretion of stomach acid. Antacids come as a liquid, chewable tablet or tablet that you dissolve in water to drink. They can be used to treat symptoms of excess stomach acid such as acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion.

Taking antacids when you have a heart burn is not bad but it should only be a temporary fix when need be.

Before you consider taking your next one, here are things you need to know about antacids.

  • They are for temporary use
  • Antacids are prescribed to help with acidity, heartburn and stomach upset. You should not use them for too long. If your symptoms do not improve you need to seek medical advice and consult your doctor again. If used for long they reduce effectiveness.

  • They have side effects
  • As much as we would like to feel relief from stomach upset or heartburn, you need to know that antacids have side effects which include nausea, dizziness and headaches among others.

  • They contain certain minerals that can cause problems
  • Some antacids contain magnesium which can lead to diarrhea. Some contain calcium and aluminum which cause constipation.  Antacids with calcium cause kidney stones and too much intake of aluminum can lead to a bone condition known as osteoporosis.

  • They cause respiratory issues
  • Slowness in breathing could be as a result of too much intake of antacids that contain calcium carbonate which raise the pH in your blood stream. As the pH rises in the body, you begin to breathe slowly and it leads to buildup of carbon dioxide leading to fatigue or sleepiness.

  • Risk of getting infections
  • Gastric acid helps digest food and it also protects the body by destroying bacteria. Taking excessive stomach neutralizers allows bacteria to survive and it weakens the body’s defense. This could lead to diarrhea as well as gastroenteritis which is inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

  • They cause bloating when overused
  • Antacids that contain sodium or calcium carbonate release carbon dioxide to neutralize stomach acid. This causes bloating and can also increase production of stomach acid.

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