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Little Known Side Effects Of Antacids Based On Their Type

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Most people have experienced acidity at some point or the other, and the solution usually is gulping down a glass of fizzy antacid. Acidity is a common digestive problem and you wouldn’t think twice about taking an antacid because they are generally considered safe. However, antacids can have side effects in certain cases and it might be worth your while to know more about acidity and the side effects of using antacids.

What Is Acidity?

Side Effects Of Antacids

In common parlance, acidity is used to describe a variety of symptoms caused by the excess production of acid by the gastric glands located in the stomach. Your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid which helps in the breakdown and digestion of the food that you eat.

When there is an excess of acid in the stomach, it might move up to your esophagus causing a burning sensation. This is because your stomach lining is resistant to the effect of digestive acids but your esophagus isn’t. Some symptoms of acidity are:

  • Belching
  • Burning in the stomach/throat/chest
  • Sour taste
  • Restlessness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion

Causes Of Acidity

Hydrochloric acid is corrosive in nature but is vital the digestive process that happens in your stomach. The effects of the acid is neutralized by the production of other natural secretions of the stomach lining like bicarbonate and prostaglandins.1 An interruption in the secretion of these neutralizing agents results in damage to the stomach lining causing acidity. Some of the reasons for this interruption include the following.

  • Stress
  • Spicy food
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Irregular eating habits
  • Ailments like peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach tumors

Side Effects Of Antacids

Side Effects Of Antacids

Possible side effects of antacids are heart burn, fatigue, constipation, weakness, osteomalacia, and diarrhea.

Antacids are generally safe and do not have any severe side effects in most people. However, in some cases, they have been known to have a few adverse side effects.

Here’s a list of possible side effects caused by different types of antacids.

Heart Burn

This can lead to an increase in heart burn.

If you take calcium carbonate antacids in high doses over a long time, it may cause acid rebound. Acid rebound is a condition where an excess of gastric acid is secreted after the initial neutralizing effect of the antacid. This can lead to an increase in heart burn.

Weakness And Fatigue

Side Effects Of Antacids

Aluminum in antacids is also known to cause constipation.

Antacids that contain aluminium tend to bind with phosphates which play an important role in your body chemistry. Prolonged use of aluminium based antacids in large doses can decrease the phosphate levels in the body. Some of the side effects include fatigue, weakness in muscles, and osteomalacia (softening of the bones).

Diarrhea

Magnesium based antacids may have a laxative effect and you could end up with diarrhea.

Magnesium based antacids may have a laxative effect and you could end up with diarrhea. If you have problems with kidney function, your body will not be able to eliminate the magnesium causing an increase in the magnesium levels in your blood. Antacids with magnesium trisilicate and magnesium hydroxide, if taken in combination with medications like tetracycline can reduce their absorption.

 Inhibits Excretion Of Drugs

Sodium bicarbonate has a major influence on urine acidity which can effect the elimination of certain drugs by the kidneys

Sodium bicarbonate has a major influence on urine acidity which can effect the elimination of certain drugs by the kidneys. This is why people with renal failure, chronic heart failure, high blood pressure, or restrictions on sodium intake should consult their doctor before taking sodium bicarbonate based antacids.

Most over-the-counter antacids are safe and can be taken in case of a mild heartburn. A severe allergic reaction to antacids is rare, but if you notice rash, itching or swelling, dizziness, and trouble breathing after having an antacid, contact your doctor immediately.

References   [ + ]

1. Robert, A. “Prostaglandins: effects on the gastrointestinal tract.” Clinical physiology and biochemistry 2, no. 2-3 (1983): 61-69.