If you’ve been one to get stomach pangs or the taste of vomit in your mouth after a big meal or a bowl of spicy pad Thai, you’ve probably taken a few antacids before to relieve the pain.

“There are 4 types of antacids and all function in a similar way," says Dr Robert Glatter. With the help of neutralising active ingredients including aluminum, calcium, magnesium and sodium bicarbonate, “antacids work by changing the gastric pH, making it less acidic. This helps to decrease irritation to the stomach, oesophagus or duodenum [part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach]."

Glatter says over the counter antacids may help treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, and peptic ulcer disease (PUD) by coating the oesophagus and stomach "to reduce contact between the gastric acid and the superficial layer of the stomach lining." And as you probably know, they can ease uncomfortable heartburn and indigestion.

We often think of antacids as being a totally safe medication, but as with most medicines, there’s still the risk of unwanted side effects. So, before popping antacids willy-nilly, you’ll want to check with a physician to make sure you’re not taking more than your body can handle.

“It’s important to understand that appropriate use of antacids is unlikely to produce significant side effects in the majority of people," says Glatter. "But long-term use of antacids can lead to effects on the digestive system, along with other organs as well."

Of course, taking antacids when you currently have heartburn and need them isn’t bad, but they should only be a temporary fix. "They are not intended for daily and ongoing use,” says Glatter.

Here are seven negative side effects that could signal you're overusing antacids:

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