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Common Over The Counter Medication for Gastric Pain

04 May 2021

Abdominal Pain Symptoms
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Abdominal Pain Symptoms

Feeling some discomfort in your upper abdominal area? You might be experiencing a form of abdominal pain known as gastric pain. Gastric pain, known to be loosely classified as stomach pain, is more accurately described as the pain you feel between your rib cage and belly button.

But fret not, gastric pain typically occurs when you’ve skipped meals and not due to any significant medical conditions. Because of that, gastric pain can be initially managed with over the counter medication, without the need for a prescription.

What are the symptoms of gastric pain?

Look out for common symptoms such as burning tummy pain, heartburn, bloating or indigestion. Apart from these symptoms, vomiting could also be your body’s way of saying you’ve contracted gastric pain.

Which over the counter medication to choose?

1. Antacids

If you’re looking for a fast relief for heartburn, acid indigestion or bloating, antacids are good remedies. These symptoms arise because the protective lining of your stomach has broken down or the muscular band to keep the end of your esophagus closed is not functioning well. As such, stomach acid escapes and irritates your oesophagus.

This is where antacids come in handy, neutralising the acid. Popping some Antacid tablets can relieve the burning sensation, bitter taste and gas accumulated in your abdomen. One precaution to note is that antacids might not be the remedy for heart failure patients. With the need to reduce sodium intake for these patients, antacids are not appropriate as the tablets contain high amounts of sodium.

2. Gaviscon

Other than containing antacid, some Gaviscon formulation also has sodium alginate that forms a raft or a protective barrier on top of your stomach contents. This barrier ensures that the contents and acid remain in your stomach, not allowing the acid to rise to your oesophagus.

Although Gaviscon can effectively treat indigestion and heartburn, your Gaviscon dosage should be capped at four times a day. In the case that you’ve taken Gaviscon for more than seven straight days and your discomfort has not been relieved, it’s recommended to seek a doctor.

3. Hydrosil

The Hydrosil tablets you get over the counter consist of antacid and simethicone. Simethicone acts on the gas in your gut and breaks them up, further reducing bloating or pressure discomfort in your gut.

Likewise, if you’ve been using hydrosol regularly for more than two weeks, it’s time to seek a professional to understand if this is the suitable medication for you.  

Conclusion

Gastric pain is typically minor and can easily be treated with over the counter medication. Do avoid painkiller such as NSAIDs which can cause gastric pain. However, if you are experiencing constant gastric pain, please consult a specialist for further assessment with abdominal imaging, endoscopy or screen for Helicobacter pylori infection.