Here's What Happens When You Take An Antacid Every Day

Popping an antacid in your mouth may start to feel as normal as popping in a piece of gum, or a Tic-Tac. And we completely understand why. They are often colorful, pleasantly flavored, and help us get rid of discomfort in our stomach. Robert Glatter, MD, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwell Health and attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital tells Prevention how antacids work. "There are 4 types of antacids and all function in a similar way," he explains. "Antacids work by changing the gastric pH, making it less acidic. This helps to decrease irritation to the stomach, esophagus or duodenum [part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach]."

But as harmless as they look, they shouldn't become a part of your daily routine. It's quite ironic, but relying heavily on antacids to relieve stomach pains such as gas or bloating can actually result in a more uncomfortable set of stomach issues. According to WebMD, the overuse of antacids can include diarrhea, stomach cramps, and constipation.

Overuse of antacids can cause a "rebound effect"

So how can these colorful little tablets cause something as uncomfortable as constipation? "Constipation is one of the most common symptoms of excessive use of antacid," Glatter tells Prevention. "It is usually seen with calcium, as well as aluminum antacids." He goes on to say that this symptom can continue long after you stop using antacids, and recommends switching to a different type of medication altogether. 

And while antacids have a relatively safe and effective reputation against combating heartburn, Health states that the overuse of them can actually cause a "rebound effect" and increase the severity of your heartburn. It is also not recommended to regularly take them if you suffer from chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or severe acid reflux.

Muscle pains, breathing problems, and increased risk of infection have all been linked to taking too many antacids. But don't get us wrong — there is no need to discount the miracle effects antacid tablets produce when you are feeling the effects of last night's spicy fajitas (and one too many margaritas). Just don't make it a habit to use them as a cure to every stomach-related discomfort.