What Are Antacids For?

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What Is An Antacid?

An antacid is a medication which usually brings instant relief to persons experiencing burning and discomfort in the stomach, known as heartburn. Antacids also provide relief to other stomach disorders such as gastritis and gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Antacids provide relief by increasing the pH (potential of hydrogen) balance in the stomach.

The names of the following antacids are familiar to most people.Alka-Seltzer is one of the most popular ones; so too is Maalox. Many people are also familiar with the names Pepto-Bismol and Rolaids. There are many other brands on the market, but those four are the names which first come to mind; and which most people experiencing a stomach upset reach out for.

Composition of Antacids

What causes these antacids to bring such instant relief? Many of them comprise three basic salts: magnesium, calcium ad aluminum. Different combinations of these chemical ingredients combine with either hydroxide or bicarbonate ions to neutralize the acid in your stomach. Antacids come in liquid or tablet form.

Apart from the above-mentioned antacids, a very effective home remedy is that of the common baking soda. A dose of a simple teaspoon of baking soda stirred into about two tablespoons of water works wonders for an upset stomach. Baking soda causes the heartburn sufferer to burp after just a couple of seconds, bringing instant relief. Commercial antacids may or may not cause the sufferer to burp, and usually takes more than a few seconds, sometimes about 15 to 20 minutes to provide relief.

Negative Effects of Antacids

It is important to note that antacids only provide temporary relief. Consult a doctor if your symptoms continue after a few doses. Also, people suffering from certain conditions such as high blood pressure or kidney stones, should consult with a pharmacist or doctor since any of the chemical ingredients in the antacid could aggravate the condition. You should also not take an antacid if you are using prescription drugs, as it can mix adversely with the medication.

Important Things to Remember

There are some important things which should be noted about antacids

  • Even though people readily reach out for antacids, antacids may not always be necessary.
  • Frequent or prolonged use is not advised, because antacids can cause irreparable damage to your heart as well as your kidneys or bones.
  • Use antacids in moderation
  • Antacids bring instant but temporary relief. If stomach problems continue, the condition is probably more severe than you think, and you should consult a doctor.
  • Antacids can cause serious problems for people who have special medical conditions.
  • You can suffer minor side effects like headache, nausea, constipation or diarrhea.
  • Recognize the more serious side effects, like bone pain, muscle weakness, slow breathing and difficult or painful urination, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • You can suffer serious consequences if you use antacids improperly.




2. Antacid (Oral Route)Side Effects