Have you ever popped an antacid tablet for an uncomfortable case of heartburn? While taking antacid medications may be acceptable for an occasional bout of digestive problems, these medications are not without their side effects. Even more disturbing is the fact that taking antacid medications on a frequent basis can even make the acid problem worse. Before taking your next antacid, here are some antacid effects you should be aware of.
The effects of antacid medications: How do they work?
The commonly used antacid medications you can buy at your local drugstore help to neutralize the excess acid that can irritate the esophagus and stomach after eating a meal. Some antacids also contain a component that reacts with saliva to form a barrier so that stomach acid has less impact on the wall of the esophagus, thus reducing the pain and burning. Although they may be effective at relieving the symptoms of heartburn, they’re only a temporary fix and do nothing to address the underlying problem that’s causing the burning in the first place. Taking antacids is more of a bandaid for the problem rather than a long term solution.
The effects of antacid medications: They can make the problem worse long term.
Another effect of antacid use long term is the potential for them to make the problem worse. Antacids can reduce the acidity of the stomach, but the digestive system needs a certain amount of acid to properly digest food. As a result, the acid secreting cells of the stomach may kick out even more acid which makes the problem worse. Antacids shouldn’t be used frequently or as a long term solution to digestive problems. It’s better to see your doctor and find out what’s causing your symptoms and if there are better solutions to your digestive problems.
The effects of antacid medications: They have side effects
Taking antacids can cause a host of side effects. Antacids that contain aluminum or calcium salts can cause constipation, while those made of magnesium salts commonly cause diarrhea. It’s also unsafe to use some types of antacids if you have poor kidney function as levels can build up in the body. Another antacid effect that’s concerning is their ability to alter the effects of other medications. Antacids are known to interact with a variety of medicines, even common prescriptions such as antibiotics. Always talk to your doctor before using antacids if you’re on other medications.
The bottom line? If you’re taking antacids on a frequent basis, make an appointment with your doctor and find out why you’re having heartburn and what your other treatment options are.