Acid Reducers and Heartburn Relievers
• Sodium bicarbonate antacids (such as Alka-Seltzer and Bromo Seltzer) contain baking soda. Avoid these antacids if you have high blood pressure or are on a salt-restricted diet. Alka-Seltzer contains aspirin, which is linked to Reye syndrome, a rare but serious illness in children.
• Calcium carbonate antacids (such as Tums and Alka-Mints) are sometimes used as calcium supplements. These products may cause constipation.
• Aluminum-based antacids (such as Amphojel) are less potent and work more slowly than other products do. They may also cause constipation. Some may cause calcium loss and should not be taken by women who are past menopause. If you have kidney problems, check with your doctor before using aluminum-based antacids.
• Magnesium compounds (such as Phillips' Milk of Magnesia) may cause diarrhea.
• Aluminum-magnesium antacids are less likely to cause constipation or diarrhea than are aluminum-only or magnesium-only antacids. Examples include Maalox, Mylanta, and Riopan. Many of these types of antacids contain simethicone to help break down gas bubbles in your stomach.
• Antacids with alginic acid (such as Gaviscon) contain a foaming agent that floats on top of the stomach contents. This may help keep stomach juices from coming in contact with your esophagus.
Acid reducers decrease the amount of acid produced by the stomach. They help relieve heartburn. There are several types of nonprescription acid reducers at Myotcstore.com. Examples include Zantac, Pepto-Bismol, Prevacid and more.
Antacid and Acid Reducer Precautions:
• Try to eliminate the cause of frequent heartburn instead of taking antacids regularly.
• Consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking an antacid if you take other medicines. Antacids may interfere with the absorption and action of some prescription medicines. Also consult your doctor if you have ulcers or kidney problems.
• Do not use antacids for more than 2 weeks unless you have talked with your doctor about taking them on a long-term basis.
• If you have a problem with the function of your kidneys or liver, you should be careful with using antacids. All drugs are broken down and removed from the body by the combined action of the liver and kidneys. If your kidneys are not working correctly, it is possible that too much of the drug will build up in your body.
• If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before choosing an antacid. Some antacids have a lot of salt (sodium).
• If you are pregnant, antacids are safe to use for heartburn symptoms. But do not use antacids that have sodium bicarbonate (such as Alka-Seltzer). They can cause fluid buildup. During pregnancy it is okay to use antacids that have calcium carbonate (such as Tums).
Acid reflux and heartburn can be caused by consuming acidic foods. If you don't have an antacid in the house, these ailments can be especially miserable. Although none of these remedies have been FDA proven to eliminate or cure the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux, they may provide you some relief if no other option is available. If you suffer constantly from acid reflux or heartburn, consult a doctor; you may have a more serious condition.
• Foods That Trigger Stomach Acid: If you are prone to heartburn or acid reflux, you may already know which foods trigger your symptoms. Although there are different trigger foods for each person, the most common are those that are high in acidity. These foods include spicy dishes made with hot peppers, citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges, caffeine and alcohol. Avoid eating very fatty foods, like fast food. Although it is not proven by the FDA that these foods will trigger acidic stomach in all people, avoiding them or eating only small amounts of them may help keep stomach acid to normal levels.
• Change Position: You can soothe or prevent a bedtime stomach acid attack by sleeping in a different position. If you tend to recline fully when you sleep, prop yourself up on several pillows. If you are unable to sleep in this position, remove a few pillows and create as steep an incline as you can tolerate. Often acid reflux is worse when lying in a prone position. Elevating the head in bed, or waiting a couple hours before retiring can allow enough time for digestion to take place and avoid an acid reflux episode.
• Reduce Stomach Acid: If you don't have over-the-counter antacids in the house, candy conversation hearts or other chalky candies may work in a pinch. Do not ingest chalk or toothpaste, however. You can also try drinking 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar (an alkaline substance) mixed in a glass of water. Drink the entire glass, and repeat up to three times daily. A baking soda solution is easy to prepare as well; a glass of water with 1 tsp. of baking soda mixed in mimics commercial bicarbonate remedies like Alka-Seltzer.
Use any remedy as infrequently as possible taking too many antacids could reduce stomach acid too much, which would cause your stomach to produce acid to compensate.
• Prevention: Eat several small meals a day that contain lots of fresh vegetables, either steamed or raw; lean proteins like lean chicken or pork; and whole-grain starches. Chew your food carefully and eat as slowly as possible.
• Avoidance: After getting heartburn a number of times, most people can figure out what products cause the discomfort. Often avoiding substances that contain caffeine, chocolate or fatty oils can prevent the onset of acid reflux.
• Gum: Chewing gum produces saliva that can soothe an esophagus that has become irritated from acid reflux and cause acid to wash back down into the stomach.
• Herbs: There are a number of herbal treatments on the market that incorporate natural acid reducers. Products such as Garlicin and Prolipamy utilize natural ingredients such as garlic and natural enzymes to protect the stomach from excess acid.
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