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Constipated? Your Tums Use May Be the Culprit

Relief or Risk? The Truth About Tums and Constipation. Plus, natural solutions for heartburn

Have you ever reached for a Tums to relieve your heartburn or indigestion, only to find that it left you feeling constipated?

You're not alone.

Many people experience constipation as a side effect of taking Tums or other antacids, and it's crucial to understand why.

How do antacids like Tums work?

Tums are a popular antacid containing calcium carbonate, a basic compound that neutralizes gastric acid in your stomach. While they may temporarily relieve heartburn and indigestion, taking them in excess can lead to many health concerns, including constipation.

When you take Tums, the calcium carbonate can bind to other compounds in your digestive tract, such as phosphate and magnesium, which can cause a decrease in the absorption of these minerals. This can lead to imbalances in your body's mineral levels, contributing to constipation.

Additionally, the neutralization of stomach acid can also affect the digestive process. Gastric acid is necessary for the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, and when it's neutralized, it can slow down the digestive process and make it more difficult for waste to pass through the digestive tract. This slowing of digestion can lead to constipation.

How severe is constipation?

While constipation is uncomfortable and sometimes painful, it's not typically harmful. However, chronic constipation can lead to other health concerns, such as hemorrhoids and fecal impaction, so it's essential to address it when it occurs.

So, what can you do to prevent constipation while still getting relief from your heartburn or indigestion? Here are a few tips:

  1. Use Tums sparingly. While they may provide temporary relief, it's important not to rely on them too heavily. If you find that you need to take them frequently, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition that should be addressed by a medical professional.

  2. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help keep your digestive tract lubricated and moving smoothly. Aim to have 1/2 of your body weight in pounds as fluid ounces of water (i.e., 150 lb adult should drink 75 ounces of water per day). Important notes: a. space out your water intake throughout the day; your kidneys can only process 1 liter or 33 ounces of water in an hour. b. seek specific instructions from your health provider if you have kidney disease.

  3. Eat a high-fiber diet. Foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help promote regular bowel movements. Adult males require about 35 grams per day, and Adult females need about 25 grams per day. If you need additional fiber to produce stool bulk check out our food-based fiber product that can quickly boost your daily fiber intake. Try our taste-free and grit-free formula if you have a more sensitive palate!

    1. It is vital to stay hydrated when you begin increasing your family fiber. Failure to remain hydrated may result in worsening constipation. 
  4. Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity can help stimulate the digestive system and promote bowel regularity.

  5. Consider magnesium. Daily magnesium use has been shown to decrease the occurrence of constipation and produce regular bowel movements. Our triple magnesium formula is a favorite for many patients to keep those bowels moving. 

What are some natural treatments for heartburn?

One of the things that we often talk about is how an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, what other things can you use to disarm heartburn before grabbing those antacids?

So, while Tums can temporarily relieve heartburn and indigestion, taking them in excess can lead to constipation and other health concerns. If you're experiencing constipation due to taking antacids, it's essential to address it by making lifestyle changes and speaking with a medical professional if necessary. With the right approach, you can find relief for your digestive issues without compromising your overall health and well-being.

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Important Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only; it is NOT meant to substitute professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should NOT use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem/disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.

Dr. Giovanni A. Nelson Dr. Giovanni A. Nelson, ND Dr. Nelson is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Connecticut and specializes in a holistic, noninvasive approach to a wide range of chronic and acute conditions. He is the co-founder and medical director at Healing Duo Integrative Family Medical practice. Dr. Nelson is thrilled to be able to share his passion for natural/complementary and alternative health information with individuals to help them live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

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