How Does Gaviscon Work?

How Does Gaviscon Work?

Dealing with acid reflux can be a daily battle, and finding the right remedy becomes essential for managing the symptoms effectively. A few months ago we did a deep dive into “Why Do Tums Work?”. In short, Tums works by helping to neutralize stomach acid, but only the acid present in the GI tract, offering temporary relief. 


a brown medicine bottle with flames crossed out on the label



The next over-the-counter antacid medicine we wanted to look at was Gaviscon. We hear from people daily that are using it to manage reflux and wanted to get a little more clarity on how it works as well as some pros and cons.



The Role of Gaviscon:

Simply put, Gaviscon is an antacid medication specifically designed to alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux. Unlike traditional antacids like Tums that merely neutralize stomach acid, Gaviscon takes a unique approach. It forms a protective barrier or raft on top of the stomach contents, effectively preventing acid from flowing back into the esophagus. This physical barrier helps to reduce the burning sensation and provides relief from symptoms like heartburn and regurgitation.



The Active Ingredients:

The active ingredients in Gaviscon are sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate, and calcium carbonate. Sodium alginate is a natural polysaccharide extracted from seaweed. When it comes into contact with stomach acid, it forms a gel-like substance that floats on top of the stomach contents. This gel, along with sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate, helps to neutralize excess stomach acid and create a protective barrier. The combination of these ingredients provides fast and effective relief from acid reflux symptoms.



How Gaviscon Works:

When Gaviscon is ingested, it forms a foam-like layer on the surface of the stomach contents. This foam floats on top of the stomach acid, preventing it from refluxing into the esophagus. The barrier created by Gaviscon helps to soothe the irritated esophageal lining and provides a protective shield against further acid exposure. As the foam acts as a physical barrier, it can remain in the stomach for quite a while, offering some people long-lasting relief. Additionally, Gaviscon’s ingredients aid in neutralizing excess acid, further contributing to the alleviation of acid reflux symptoms.



Pros of Gaviscon 


1. Quick Relief: One of the most significant advantages of Gaviscon is its ability to provide fast relief from acid reflux symptoms. The soothing action it provides is almost instantaneous for most people



2. Protective Barrier: Unlike traditional antacids, Gaviscon forms a protective barrier or raft on top of stomach contents, preventing acid from refluxing into the esophagus. This unique mechanism helps alleviate the burning sensation and can provide prolonged relief. Knowing that Gaviscon is actively working to shield the esophageal lining can really give people some peace of mind.



3. Long-Lasting Effects: Gaviscon claims its foamy consistency enables it to stay in the stomach for an extended period, offering long-lasting relief. While this isn’t everyone’s experience,  for some people the protective barrier created by Gaviscon remains intact for hours,  reducing the chances of acid reflux symptoms resurfacing.



4. Easy to Use: Gaviscon is available in various forms, including tablets, liquid, and chewable tablets, making it convenient to incorporate into my daily routine. It’s easy to carry a few tablets in your bag or keep a bottle on the nightstand.




Cons of Gaviscon:


1. Temporary Relief: While Gaviscon provides rapid relief, it is essential to note that its effects are temporary. The protective barrier gradually dissipates over time, and symptoms will likely return once the Gaviscon wears off. 



2. Potential Side Effects: Like any medication, Gaviscon can have potential side effects, although they are usually rare and mild. Some individuals may experience digestive issues such as bloating or diarrhea. It is important to be aware of any adverse reactions and stop use if they persist or worsen.



3. Interaction with Other Medications: Gaviscon contains certain ingredients that may interact with other medications, potentially reducing their effectiveness. It is crucial to consult a healthcare professional or pharmacist before using Gaviscon alongside other medications to ensure there are no potential interactions.



4. Cost Considerations: While Gaviscon is available over the counter, its regular use can add up in terms of cost. Depending on the frequency and dosage required, it is important to factor in the expense when considering long-term management options for acid reflux.






While Gaviscon has been a valuable tool for many people in their battle against acid reflux, it’s still a temporary measure. For long-term healing, diet, lifestyle changes, and natural supplementation offer the greatest benefit.  



More health resources from The GERD Chef…


Why Do I Have Acid Reflux?


Your Mood and Your Digestion


Acid Reflux eBook




Hiatal Health for Heartburn and Acid Reflux Ad

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