THURSDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- It might be a good idea to
take stock of the heartburn products in your medicine cabinet
before heading out to any holiday parties, an expert advises.
Despite your best intentions, you may end up overindulging in
food and drinks and need something to deal with heartburn or
bloating, said Gloria Grice, an associate professor of pharmacy
practice at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
"Products with sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate work well
for occasional heartburn," Grice said in a college news release.
"They neutralize stomach acid, which is usually the cause of the
burning sensation. And they can be taken as soon as symptoms begin
or up to an hour after a meal that you think may cause
Magnesium hydroxide, also known as milk of magnesia, is another
"It acts quickly and neutralizes acid," Grice said. "However,
patients with kidney disease should avoid this product. Also, it
can have a laxative effect for any patient who takes multiple doses
in a day."
Aluminum hydroxide doesn't cause these side effects but can
cause constipation if not taken with something that also contains
Grice offered some other suggestions:
- Avoid caffeine, which stimulates appetite and can cause you to
overeat. It also overstimulates the normal processes of the
digestive system, causing poor absorption of nutrients.
- Chewing slowly can help prevent bloating. There are also
products you can take before or up to 30 minutes after a meal that
will reduce intestinal gas.
- Limit alcohol consumption, which can inflame the lining of the
stomach and intestines. It can also kill beneficial intestinal
bacteria, leading to indigestion and even diarrhea.
- Take a smaller piece of pie. When sugar, fruit or fruit juice
mixes with starch in the stomach, they ferment and cause bloating.
It's also a good idea to avoid fruit muffins and low-fat cookies
sweetened with fruit juice.
The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about
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