Antacids Temporary Relief of Heartburn and Indigestion
Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
Is it safe to take antacids on a regular basis?
Dear Heartburn problem,
Antacids are helpful for the temporary relief of heartburn and indigestion by neutralizing stomach acid.
Generally, antacids are safe to use occasionally. However, if used regularly, then people with certain conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones, kidney problems, high blood pressure, liver problems, heart problems, or pregnant women should check with their doctor before taking antacids.
Heartburn is burning discomfort around the chest area just below the breastbone from acid in the esophagus. Normally, stomach acid is prevented from refluxing or flowing upward into the esophagus by the esophageal sphincter. However, a faulty sphincter and over production of gastric acid can result in acid reflux or heartburn.
Acid reflux from over production of gastric acid can occur after eating fatty meals, drinking alcohol or carbonated drinks.
To avoid over production of stomach acid and heartburn:
Eat smaller meals
Avoid fatty, fried, salty, and spicy foods
Limit alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages
Maintain healthy eating habits
Maintain healthy body weight
Do not smoke
If heartburn seems to be a problem when you sleep at night, then do not eat anything at least three hours before bedtime and sleep with head of the bed slightly elevated 6-8 inches.
For frequent and continual heartburn, see your doctor. Over production of stomach acid and acid reflux can lead to other problems such as ulcers, damage to the esophageal lining, and cancer.