We’ve all been there. Maybe you ate a bit too much at the buffet. You might have stayed for one too many rounds at happy hour. Or perhaps your dumped hot sauce into your scrambled eggs this morning, and now you’re paying the price.
Painful heartburn—especially when it’s combined with an upset stomach or headache (hello hangover)—could have any one of us reaching for an antacid. But a new FDA warning should have you giving it a serious second through before you swallow.
The FDA is cautioning that certain antacids, such as Alka Seltzer, are linked to serious stomach bleeding.
Over 50% of antacid bleeding cases required a transfusion!
The number of cases is relatively small—41 serious bleeds between 1969 and 2014—but what’s really frightening is that the incidents were serious enough that all 41 people required hospitalization. Even more shocking, over half of the victims—21—had lost so much blood that it was life threatening and they had to have blood transfusions!
And the reason why is simple, but could be deadly if it’s overlooked.
Certain antacids that are designed to tackle other symptoms too, like headaches, are loaded up with aspirin that most folks have no idea is there.
Hidden aspirin can put you at risk for serious bleeding
That means if you’re taking other products with aspirin in them—such as the aspirin a day that many docs still insist on encouraging ALL of their patients to do—you can quickly put yourself in the danger zone without having any idea.
You probably already know that aspirin can damage the lining of your digestive system. But you might not be aware that prolonged use of the drug has also been linked to stroke. Which is why I watch any of my own patients who are on the drug like a hawk, and keep them on the lowest dose.
The FDA warns to be careful when you use any antacid products containing aspirin and lists the following specific products as examples:
- Alka-Seltzer Original,
- Bromo Seltzer,
- Medique Medi Seltzer,
- Picot Plus Effervescent,
- Vida Mia Pain Relief, Winco Foods Effervescent Antacid and Pain Relief,
- Zee-Seltzer Antacid and Pain Reliever.
- generic antacid products (read labels, carefully!)
Other factors can raise your bleeding risk
There are also other factors that could put you at an even higher risk for bleeding when taking one of these products.
You have a greater chance of stomach bleeding while taking aspirin if …
- you’re 60 or over
- you have a history of ulcers or bleeding issues
- you’re already on blood thinners
- you take a steroid, such as prednisone, for inflammation
- you take NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen
- you have three (or more) alcoholic drinks a day
2 “do it yourself” solutions to settling your stomach
But here’s the good news, there are far better and safer ways to settle a rocky stomach, but not put your stomach at risk. The easiest, by far, is chewing some gum after you eat.
Mom may have discouraged gum chewing, but I recommend it. Gum chewing naturally stimulates saliva production which can help wash acid away alleviating heartburn and sour stomach symptoms.
Or try your grandmother’s solution, baking soda dissolved in water. Often dismissed as just an old wives’ tale, it actually can be quite effective at relieving heartburn, acid indigestion and sour stomach.
Here’s a simple recipe you can try. Just check in with your doc first.
|Baking Soda “Cocktail”|
|This two ingredient recipe for a baking soda drink couldn’t be more simple. You can use it to supplement your diet, get rid of heartburn or settle your stomach.
1 pint of cool or cold water
Drop baking soda into glass
If you’re more of a visual learner, this quick video will walk you through the super simple steps…
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