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Acid Reflux Treatment and the Danger of Antacids

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Acid reflux treatment most often begins with an attempt to reduce stomach acid by taking antacids. These medications work by increasing the pH of stomach acids to offset the acidic material in your stomach. Common ingredients in antacids include carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, sodium, aluminum hydroxide and calcium. While these ingredients can be very efficient in neutralizing the stomach acid, they can have their own set of undesirable effects on the stomach itself. However, these problems often occur after someone has used antacids consistently over a long period of time.

Understandably, it's good to know the full scope of effects that antacids can have on acid reflux treatment. Over the long-term, usage of antacids can reduce the stomach's ability to take in specific nutrients such as iron and vitamin B. Another risk associated with neutralized stomach acid can involve the increased presence of bacteria. This can occur when the stomach acids have been neutralized over a long period of time.

It's important to be aware that long-term usage of antacids can also affect the body's digestive processes. For instance, many patients who have used antacids as a form of acid reflux treatment have reported complications with constipation, cramps, diarrhea and stomach pain. However, if you still require antacids frequently, remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day as antacids are also known to cause dehydration because of the moisture they require when being absorbed by your body. Drinking plenty of water can reduce the dry mouth, stomach cramps and dry skin that is sometimes associated with antacids.

Acid rebound is another concern worth mentioning when it comes to using antacids as a form of acid reflux treatment. Acid rebound occurs when the stomach produces excess acid due to the acid reduction created by antacids. If you've ever heard someone say that antacids are ineffective or experienced this phenomena yourself, there is a reasonable explanation. While antacids may provide temporary relief by unnaturally reducing stomach acid, this short-term fix may cause the stomach to produce even more acid in the long run than it normally would otherwise, thus negating and sometimes worsening the existing acid reflux.

Regarding the chemicals that comprise antacids, you should be aware of the risks associated with each. As always, you should discuss acid reflux treatment and antacids with your primary care physician if you have any questions. However, here are some dangers linked to long term use of antacids. Carbonate has been shown to cause kidney stones and calcium has also been known to cause kidney stones and constipation. Magnesium hydroxide has the potential to create renal failure and cause chronic diarrhea. Meanwhile, excess sodium can create hypertension and kidney failure.


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