Antacids, Prescription Drugs or Digestive Enzymes? Your Best Bet for Better Digestion
Upset stomach, heartburn, diarrhea? There are few symptoms as disruptive to your daily life as ones that originate in the digestive system. And if you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, you know exactly how difficult they are to get rid of for good. Doctors recommend a variety of treatments, but there are three biggies they suggest most often for patients who are dealing with both acute and chronic GI symptoms: antacids, prescription drugs and digestive enzymes. All three can be effective short-term fixes, but let’s be honest: You’re not looking for a band-aid. You’re searching for something that works long term. Which ones get our seal of approval for better digestive health? To make that choice, we first had to look at how each of these three treatments works.
How antacids work
Antacids are used to treat digestive ailments that cause pain in the throat, chest and upper abdomen. These are usually caused by too much stomach acid. The acid can cause ulcers and stomach upset, gas, acid reflux and heartburn. Most people take antacids to prevent or treat the last three symptoms. Antacids work by neutralizing the incredibly caustic acid that can travel backward through your gastrointestinal tract, moving from the stomach into the esophagus, where it burns the lining and causes heartburn. That can create painful inflammation as well as scarring, which is permanent. Most antacids are available over the counter. Overuse of antacids can cause some serious side effects since antacids do change the chemistry of the digestive system in a major way. Constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and even kidney stones and kidney damage can result from excessive dependence on antacids.