Calcium carbonate is the ingredient found in over-the-counter medications used to relieve heartburn and indigestion. Calcium carbonate effectively treats sour stomach and acid indigestion, according to the website Drugs.com. However, calcium carbonate can interact with some medical conditions such as sarcoidosis, blocked bowels, stomach bleeding, appendicitis, heart problems and kidney stones as well as other diseases of the kidneys . Ask your health care provider whether you should take calcium carbonate.
Neutralizing Stomach Acid
Calcium carbonate is used in over-the-counter medications to provide short-term relief of acid in your stomach. You may experience heartburn, indigestion or sour stomach after a fatty meal or after eating spicy foods. Sometimes food may not settle well and cause a sour stomach. Calcium carbonate helps to temporarily reduce, or neutralize, stomach acid to relieve symptoms associated with these conditions.
Antacids or acid reducers may have side effects, but these side effects often dissipate on their own, according to the website FamilyDoctor. These side effects include headache, nausea, diarrhea and constipation. It is possible to overdose on calcium carbonate medications. If you believe you have accidentally taken too many, contact your local poison control center or get to the emergency room immediately.
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse notes that certain conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, may increase the need for calcium carbonate medications. Diet can also increase the need for calcium carbonate medications. Foods that are acidic, spicy, fatty, fried or tomato-based can cause heartburn and indigestion. Chocolate, peppermint and beverages that contain caffeine also may increase the need for OTC acid reducers. If you suffer from GERD, smoking, pregnancy and obesity can aggravate your condition and increase the need for acid-reducing medications.
In addition to OTC calcium carbonate medications, you can take simple steps to reduce the risk of heartburn and indigestion so that you don’t have to rely on medications to provide relief. Eat small, frequent meals and avoid wearing tight clothing. Avoid foods and drinks that may contribute to the problem. Avoid lying down for a minimum of three hours after you’ve eaten a meal. Raising the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches can help reduce the risk of regurgitating stomach acid. Losing weight can also help relieve stomach acid and indigestion, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
- FamilyDoctor: Antacids and Acid Reducers: OTC Relief for Heartburn and Acid Reflux; FamilyDoctor.org Editorial Staff; Jan. 2011
- Drugs: Calcium Carbonate; June 2011
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD); May 2007