Antacids help to treat heartburn (indigestion). They work by changing the stomach acid that causes your heartburn.
You can buy many antacids without a prescription. Liquid forms work faster, but you may like tablets because they are easy to use.
All antacids work equally as well, but they can cause different side effects. If you use antacids often and have problems with side effects, talk with your gastroenterologist.
When to Use Antacids?
Antacids are a good treatment for heartburn that does not happen very often. Take antacids about 1 hour after eating or at the time heartburn usually happens after you eat. If you are taking them for symptoms at night, do not take them with food.
Antacids cannot treat more serious problems, such as appendicitis, a stomach ulcer, gallstones, or bowel problems. Talk to your gastroenterologist if you have:
- Pain or symptoms that do not get better with antacids
- Symptoms every day or at night
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bleeding in your bowel movements or darkened bowel movements
- Bloating or cramping
- Pain in your lower belly, on your side, or in your back
- Diarrhoea that is severe or does not go away
- Fever with your belly pain
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
Call your gastroenterologist if you need to use antacids frequently.
Side effects of antacids
There are certain side effects of antacids
. Antacids are made with three basic ingredients. If you have problems, try another brand.
- Brands with magnesium may cause diarrhoea.
- Brands with calcium or aluminum new link may cause constipation.
- Rarely, brands with calcium may cause kidney stones or other problems.
- If you take large amounts of antacids that contain aluminum, you may be at risk for calcium loss, which can lead to weak bones (osteoporosis).
Antacids can change the way your body absorbs the other medicines you are taking. It is best to take any other medicine either 1 hour before or 4 hours after you take antacids.
Talk to your gastroenterologist
before taking antacids on a regular basis if:
Are antacids safe during pregnancy?
Most females now know that, if possible, no drug, including alcohol, should be taken during pregnancy or lactation. The potential danger, of course, is an injury to the baby. Antacids are generally thought to be safe during pregnancy although there are no medical studies that prove it. Calcium carbonate is probably the safest antacid, since the baby and mother both need calcium to develop properly and maintain health. Heartburn is very common during pregnancy so the woman and her gynaecologist
should discuss this problem and the best method and antacid that would be helpful.
Antacids have been in medical use for a long time. If you develop occasional heartburn or indigestion, you take an antacid and get instant relief. Yet, if these symptoms occur daily or several times a day and especially at night, then there could be a more serious problem. There may be an ulcer or serious acid injury to the oesophagus (food pipe). These conditions are rarely healed by antacids alone. A specific diagnosis must be made by a gastroenterologist