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Indigestion? Acidity? Burning sensation in your chest? Distasteful burps? If you experience any or all of these symptoms, you immediately pop in an antacid to get some relief.

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Let us learn about these antacids and how they work from the following paragraphs.

What are Antacids?

Antacids are the most common over-the-counter medications that helps treat heartburn. The antacids work by neutralizing the excessive stomach acid that helps in relieving heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion as well as an upset stomach. Doctors can also prescribe antacids for treatment of stomach pain, duodenal ulcers as well as gas.

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How Long Should I Take Antacids?

You can read the medicine package or follow the advice of your doctor when taking antacids. In case of ulcers, you should take antacids as long as the doctor advises you.

How do Antacids Work?

Antacids help treating heartburn symptoms within seconds. This is why they are preferred as they are fast acting medications. They weaken the acid the stomach the minute they reach it. The weaker the acid in the stomach, the more likely it is to lead to symptoms of acidity, heartburn, indigestion, etc.

The longer the antacid can remain in the stomach, the better and longer effect it will have on the symptoms. Thus, one should eat something before having an antacid as it helps the medication remain in the stomach longer.

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Conditions That Are Treated by Antacid

Antacids help provide relief to symptoms of the following conditions like:

  • Acid reflux that leads to heartburn and inflammation of the esophagus
  • Ulcers of the stomach as well as a part of the duodenum
  • Occasional indigestion and conditions where the stomach acid has to be neutralized

Side Effects of Antacids

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Antacids can lead to side effects such as:

  • Diarrhea due to the laxative effect of some antacids
  • Constipation due to the calcium or aluminum content in some antacids
  • Kidney stones due to long term use
  • Increase risk of osteoporosis due to long term use of antacids containing aluminum
  • Stomach cramps
  • Feeling sick, vomiting
  • Flatulence

Types of Antacids Available

There are different types of antacids available in different forms. You can get antacids in the chewable form as well as the liquid form.

Some of the most active ingredients of antacids include:

  • Aluminum hydroxide
  • Magnesium carbonate
  • Magnesium trisilicate

If your symptoms do not get better after using these OTC antacids, contact your doctor. You may need to start on medications that help treat gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: April 03, 2016

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