What are the potential side effects of antacids?

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Antacids are over-the-counter medications that usually contain magnesium, aluminum, calcium or a combination of these substances. Take note that antacids work by neutralizing the gastric acids and utilized in treating certain health conditions such as indigestion, gastric esophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcers, nausea and vomiting. There are also side effects that are connected with the use of these medications that you should be familiar with.

What are the common side effects?

When antacids are used, constipation is one of the common complaints especially those that contain aluminum and calcium. In some cases, diarrhea can also occur when antacids are used especially those that contain magnesium such as milk of magnesia.

Based on studies conducted, some individuals who use calcium-based antacids can develop headaches and an unpleasant taste. The products that are comprised of sodium bicarbonate such as Alka-Seltzer can also trigger headaches. Always remember that loss of appetite is also one of the common side effects of taking antacids.

Side effects of antacids
Some individuals who use calcium-based antacids can develop headaches and an unpleasant taste.

What is the solution?

Individuals should eat a diet that is packed with fiber and perform regular exercise to prevent the development of constipation. If the individual develops diarrhea, he/she must eat small frequent meals and avoid foods that contain a high fat content. Additionally, observing good oral hygiene can help avoid the unpleasant taste when calcium-based antacids are used.

Important considerations to bear in mind

Individuals must consult a doctor before using any antacids. Some of the side effects can diminish with continuous use of the medications such as headache, diarrhea and constipation. If the constipation persists, the individual must consult a doctor. Severe weight loss must be reported to a doctor as well. The individual must receive immediate medical care if diarrhea persists for more than three days. In case any of these effects are accompanied by fever, medical care is required since it can indicate an infection.

In some cases, individuals who are using antacids can develop an allergic reaction such as itchiness of the skin and redness. When a severe allergic reaction occurs, it includes swelling of the lips or tongue, chest pain and shortness of breath. An individual who develops an allergic reaction to an antacid should not take the medication again. A severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis would require an injection of epinephrine or EpiPen in order to counteract the symptoms.  If you want to learn more about allergies and how to properly manage an allergic reaction, click here.

When it comes to pregnancy, the use of calcium-based antacids is considered safe in pregnancy as well as breast-feeding. It is a known fact that women retain water during pregnancy and antacids that are comprised of sodium will intensify the water retention. Using these medications during pregnancy must be cleared by a doctor to ensure the safety of the mother and unborn child.

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