Antacids are products that neutralize gastric (STOMACH) acid to relieve DYSPEPSIA (heartburn and indigestion). Antacids work by increasing the pH (acid level) of the gastric juices, which reduces the irritation to the stomach tissues. Most antacids contain mineral salts, which are alkaline.
Because of their high salt and mineral content, many antacids can cause CONSTIPATION or DIARRHEA by drawing excessive fluid from the gastrointestinal tract. Sodium bicarbonate, which most people mix at home by dissolving baking soda in water, has such a high sodium level that it can affect BLOOD PRESSURE and the rhythm of the HEART. Anyone who has CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (CVD), especially HYPERTENSION or ARRHYTHMIA, should not use sodium bicarbonate as an antacid.
|Common Antacid Pproducts|
|Active Ingredient||Representative Products|
|aluminum/magnesium combination||Maalox, Mylanta|
|calcium carbonate||Tums, Titralac|
|magnesium hydroxide||milk of magnesia|
|sodium bicarbonate||baking soda|
Aluminum hydroxide, though very effective at neutralizing stomach acid, is so likely to cause constipation that it nearly always is combined with magnesium, which has the opposite effect. Doctors may recommend magnesium-based antacids, such as milk of magnesia, as LAXATIVES to treat mild, occasional constipation. Many antacid products also contain simethicone, a surfactant that breaks up intestinal gas bubbles to relieve bloating and FLATULENCE.
Bismuth subsalicylate products such as Pepto-Bismol contain an aspirin-like ingredient that can cause the rare but serious SIDE EFFECT, REYE’S SYNDROME, in children who have viral infections. Children should not take these products.
Antacids are available over the counter, without a doctor’s prescription. Occasional use of antacids can provide rapid relief of dyspepsia and other digestive discomforts. Antacids are most effective taken with food, which increases the time the antacid remains in the stomach, and liquid forms seem to be more effective than chewable forms. Chronic or regular use of antacids can result in numerous health problems, ranging from “rebound” dyspepsia or gastric reflux (most common with calcium carbonate products) to OSTEOPOROSIS (with magnesium products, as magnesium binds with calcium) and aluminum TOXICITY. Indications of antacid overuse include
Antacids also interfere with the actions of numerous medications. Other products, such as H2 ANTAGONIST (BLOCKER) MEDICATIONS and PROTON PUMP INHIBITOR MEDICATIONS, are more effective for managing long-term gastric discomfort such as GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISORDER (GERD). Antacids also interfere with H2 antagonist blockers. Children age 12 and under should not take antacids unless a doctor recommends them. A pharmacist can suggest an appropriate antacid for the circumstances and to avoid interfering with any medications a person is taking.
See also ANTIDIARRHEAL MEDICATIONS; ANTIEMETIC MEDICATIONS; PEPTIC ULCER DISEASE.
Resource: Facts On File Encyclopedia Of Health And Medicine
Dyspepsia - the clinical term for indigestion or heartburn. Most people experience dyspepsia as a burning PAIN in the upper abdomen. Some people also experience NAUSEA, VOMITING, and excessive belching. Certain foods or drinks, such as spicy foods or caffeinated beverages, often worsen the discomfort, as do medications such as aspirin and other NONSTEROIDAL
Digestive hormones - chemical messengers that stimulate or inhibit gastrointestinal functions. Organs and structures of the gastrointestinal system synthesize and release digestive hormones in response to chemical and physiologic changes that take place with the ingestion of food and its passage through the gastrointestinal tract.
Colon - the large intestine, which extracts water from and consolidates the waste byproducts of digestion. The colon extends from the ILEUM, the final segment of the SMALL INTESTINE, to the ANUS, the exit from the body for solid digestive waste (feces or stool). The colon goes up the left side of the abdomen (the ascending colon), across the abdomen at the
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a rare disorder in which the STOMACH dramatically increases hydrochloric acid production, resulting in rampant PEPTIC ULCER DISEASE. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome develops as a consequence of benign tumors, called gastrinomas, that secrete the digestive HORMONE gastrin. Gastrin signals the stomach to produce acid, which the
Stomach - the pouchlike organ that receives and digests food. The stomach can stretch up to six times its resting size to accommodate influxes of food and drink up to about the combined quantity of a gallon. Three layers of MUSCLE wrap around the deeply pitted gastric mucosa (mucous membrane lining of the stomach). The fibers of each muscle layer run in
Rectum - the segment of the COLON between the sigmoid colon and the ANUS. About six inches long, the rectum retains solid digestive waste until a BOWEL MOVEMENT expels it. The SPINAL CORD regulates the NERVE impulses that initiate the reflexive contractions of the rectum that result in bowel movements. The walls of the rectum are smooth and flexible,
Anus - the opening through which the body passes solid waste (feces), below the final segment of the COLON and the terminus of the gastrointestinal system. The anal sphincter is a ring of MUSCLE that contracts to contain fecal matter and relaxes to expel it. Learning to control the contraction and relaxation of the anal sphincter begins to take place at age
Cecum - the first segment of the COLON (large intestine) into which the ILEUM, the final segment of the SMALL INTESTINE, empties digestive matter. The cecum is a pouchlike structure located in the lower right abdomen that absorbs water from the waste, returning fluid to the body and consolidating the waste for its journey through the end stage of digestion.
Celiac Disease is a condition affecting the SMALL INTESTINE in which consuming foods that contain gluten, a plant protein prominent in wheat, triggers an inflammatory response that prevents the intestinal mucosa (lining) from absorbing NUTRIENTS. Gluten, and more specifically proteins it contains called gliadins, acts as an ANTIGEN to initiate a localized
Cholecystectomy is a surgical OPERATION to remove the GALLBLADDER. Cholecystectomy is the most common treatment in the United States for GALLBLADDER DISEASE including gallstones (cholelithiasis), cholecystitis (INFLAMMATION or INFECTION of the gallbladder), and biliary dyskinesia (diminished ability of the gallbladder to eject BILE). About 500,000 Americans