How do antacids treat heartburn? Knowing how to deal with that unpleasant burning sensation in the chest or throat occasionally experienced by most people can help you decide if medication is a good fit for your problem. Though there can be side effects to antacid use, these are generally mild and antacids can be used safely by most people. Due to the way in which antacids treat heartburn, there are advantages not available from other over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.
- Antacids treat heartburn by neutralizing stomach acid. Heartburn can be caused by a variety of factors, but occasional heartburn is often due to a specific food that has been eaten, such as chocolate, acidic foods, fried or fatty foods. Antacids treat such types of occasional heartburn effectively.
- Most antacids treat heartburn with similar ingredients. These include calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate or aluminum hydroxide.
- Liquid antacids treat heartburn faster than pills. However, some people prefer pills due to convenience or taste issues.
- Antacids treat heartburn quickly. They often work within just a few minutes to reduce discomfort. Other heartburn medicines include H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors, which usually take longer to work.
- Antacids treat heartburn by providing short-term relief. The quick relief of antacids is countered by a shorter period of relief. For this reason, many physicians consider antacids to be the first line of defense in treating heartburn, with other medicines appropriate in cases where antacids do not provide adequate relief.
- Antacids treat heartburn in many people without causing any side effects. However, some people may experience headaches or digestive issues including nausea or diarrhea.
Only one heartburn medication should be taken at a time. Also, those with kidney disease should not use antacids without the consent of a physician. Antacids should not be taken with food. If you regularly experience heartburn, you should consult your doctor, as it may be a sign of another condition.