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I'm embarrassed to say that I've been an OTC antacid abuser (Tums, etc.), often eating them like candy. Now I'm wondering if my various gastrointestinal discomforts might have been caused by the abuse. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Digestive Health group.
Good morning, tarmansbks (@tarmansbks) and Lori (@loribmt),
You can't imagine how cheered I was to find your posts! Yesterday, when I started this thread, I was truly embarrassed about having gone so hog-wild on all those OTC gastrointestinal drugs. This morning I feel less alone.
Lori, I smiled when I read how your mother would ply you with Milk of Magnesia! Mine did too. And naturally in the recent months, among my many (too many) OTC drugs, I've been taking Phillip's Milk of Magnesia, not every day, but whenever I'd feel it was time for a good, thorough cleansing.
I see in your posts that three different magnesium "formulations" are mentioned: magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium oxide. I just checked: I've been taking magnesium oxide, 500 mg, one tab per day. Based upon your experiences, would you suggest I change to either glycinate or citrate?
I should probably mention that I too have arthritis. My two worst sore spots are my left knee (my right knee is already a replacement) and my left hip. I am seeing an orthopedic doctor for these. At the moment, she's not advising either a knee or hip replacement (or both); instead, I've been receiving injections (which help, if minimally). She also has me on Diclofenac Sodium, delayed tabs, 75 mg, twice daily. For the past few months, in addition, I have been going to PT for knee, hip, and spine (to boot, I have a "borderline" case of cervical myelopathy).
Again, let me say your posts make me feel less alone!
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I just got a cortisone shot in left knee on Monday. Helping somewhat but at least I am ambulatory. Had both hips replaced when I was 56 and 57 years old. They are holding up well. Orthopedic surgeon told me a few years ago we would see each other in heaven with those hips. Sweet man. I had PT and OT in November to help me with balance from a left side weakened from infantile polio. Polio is a gastrointestinal virus and I often wonder about the connection between my gut and that day in August 1949. I had a SIBO test in November and was positive for that (methane and hydrogen). Flagyl helped, I think, but I got thrush from the medication. The less I put into my body that is not water or food, the better off I am. Can't avoid the medrol for R/A and b/p pill and the rest is vitamins. The Mag Oxide does me ok and I know not to take the citrate as when I was really really constipated, I drank liquid citrate which had explosive results. Frankly the best thing for constipation is an old fashioned enema bag with just plain warm water. But that's a story for another day. Plus I don't get the fact that Tums and their kin are peppermint flavored when mint is supposed to be an irritant. Mary Ellen
Hi Mary Ellen
My husband and I were having this discussion the other day. While I find peppermint soothing after a meal, it sends his innards into a tizzy. So I found this article about peppermint and how it is good for some, and a night mare for others.
While peppermint can be a relaxant and an aid to digestion it can act as an irritant when higher up in the digestive tract for people who suffer from GERD.
“A study from 2011 published in Pain showed why peppermint might help people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. The compounds in peppermint actually activate an anti-pain channel in the colon. This channel, called TRPM8, may reduce the pain linked to eating some spicy foods like mustard or chili, according to researchers. Since then, multiple studies have confirmed peppermint oil to be a beneficial treatment for IBS.
When Peppermint Won't Help
When it comes to digestive pain higher up in the digestive tract, such as heartburn due to GERD, peppermint might not be such a good idea. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, peppermint can actually relax the sphincter muscle which closes off the stomach from the esophagus. This can cause stomach acid to pour back into the esophagus and make heartburn or GERD worse.”
Hi Lori, I have peppermint oil and have used it judiciously in the past but not in some time. I am trying to wean off the extras and tell my body to heal itself and the important thing is for me to believe it is possible. Maybe it is wishful thinking but I am trying to re-educate myself to think in terms of healing rather than pain or discomfort. I have a mantra I recite to myself, I did not make it up, but read it in a book by Guru Jarat "I am healthy, I am happy, I am holy". The "holy" part may seem sacrilegious but we are all God's children. The rhythm of it is very soothing in any event. Thanks for the info on peppermint. My dad consumed chalky Rolaids like candy when he lived and I guess he had stomach distress too. Mary Ellen
Ray, I found this for you!
Magnesium citrate is one of the most popular and easily absorbed magnesium supplements. In this form, magnesium is bound to citric acid (a large molecule), so there is a smaller amount of elemental magnesium per capsule. Because citric acid is a mild laxative, magnesium citrate is an excellent choice for individuals with occasional constipation.
Magnesium citrate is a laxative at high doses, which means it causes stool to retain water, making it softer. As a result, taking this supplement may lead to more bowel movements and makes it easier to pass stool.
Fortunately, you won’t need to change your diet when taking these supplements. Nevertheless, you’ll want to inform your doctor if you have any allergies, prescriptions, medications, or conditions that could affect the magnesium citrate.
Magnesium oxide is one of the least absorbed forms. Still, because the oxide molecule is small and compact, it delivers one of the highest percentages of elemental magnesium per dose, making it a practical choice for someone who wants to take as few capsules as possible.
Because it is not as quickly absorbed in the intestine, magnesium oxide has more osmotic (water-attracting) effects in the colon, providing support for those with occasional constipation.
Some people also take it as an antacid to help relieve issues like stomach acid, heartburn, or indigestion. Like magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide at high doses can also work as a laxative to facilitate bowel movements for those going into surgery.
Magnesium glycinate is a gentle form for individuals who are sensitive to magnesium oxide or citrate, as it is less likely to cause a laxative effect. In this form, magnesium is bound to glycine, a non-essential amino acid involved in protein synthesis and transmission of chemical signals in the brain.
Glycine is considered a relaxing neurotransmitter and may enhance magnesium’s natural calming properties. This may be one of the best types for promoting relaxation and good quality sleep. So, if you struggle with mood and stress related challenges, you can take magnesium glycinate to help alleviate the symptoms.
In addition to promoting a positive mental state, this supplement is also great for promoting bone health, maintaining proper heart rhythm, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Some people also use it to reduce pain and enhance physical performance during exercise.
Magnesium glycinate is a great option for people who don’t absorb magnesium well. Unfortunately, this mineral can still cause some stomach upset, which is why it’s recommended you take it with food. Also, you should take note of the amount of magnesium in the supplements you take for your safety.
Another gentler form of magnesium – for individuals who may be more sensitive to magnesium oxide or citrate – is magnesium malate. It is often recommended for people looking for energy support since malic acid – a natural fruit acid present in most cells in the body – plays a crucial role in ATP synthesis and energy production.
Magnesium malate is absorbed more readily compared to other magnesium supplements. Like other magnesium supplements, magnesium malate can produce a laxative effect, and can provide cranial nerve comfort support related to magnesium deficiency. Magnesium malate may also help to boost your mood.
Hi, Lori (@loribmt),
This will have to be a short reply to your wonderful messages. I'm due across town in 30 minutes, but I would like to respond to a few things you say.
First, I too am at the "age of wisdom," in fact, I'm a long ways into that "age"! And yes, this forum is a comfortable place to be. I'm so glad I found it.
I have backed off the Milk of Magnesia. I took some for what I hope will be the last time last Saturday. Yesterday, determined to do something about repairing my innards, I locked away all of my OTC gastrointestinal medications. Yesterday was my Day One of being "off" them. I know it's crazy to jump to conclusions (counting unhatched chickens), but last evening and today (thus far) I've more energy than I've had for a long, long time.
You ask why did I start taking these OTC drugs. I'll have to guess, but I'm guessing it goes back ti my first achy arthritis days (I used to be a long-distance runner, so I've done this to myself) and I started using NSAIDs––which probably wreaked havoc with my gut. That's probably when I began over-using the OTC drugs.
Whoops! I'd better get going. I hope, though, I've at least partially answered your questions.
YEP, like you, Ray, my downfall is Anacin for pain as I don't want to go on a biologic or other chemo type therapy for R/A. Enteric aspirin doesn't cut it but I have cut way back on the Anacin.
@ray666 I don’t think it’s your imagination you have a little more spring in your step. You just might be getting more out of the food you eat by allowing the acid in your stomach to digest the food and providing more nutrients!
@tarmansbks you might find this article of interest as well.
Instead of trying to type it all out, I found another great site that explains the process! You’re going to love me or hate me with all my researching, huh. ☺️
As a PS. I wanted to add that my husband religiously took baby aspirin for the past 15 years as directed. Almost 2 years ago, he developed severe pain in his stomach and a weird tightening. A visit to a gastro doctor and a scope later, and he found he had an ulcer from the aspirin. It’s taken him the past 2 years to heal that ulcer. It’s gone but he also found out that all the tums he was taking did nothing to stop the acid from refluxing into his esophagus from a small hiatal hernia. He is pre-Barrett’s Esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer. So keep an eye on that, my friend.
The two things in life you are in control over are your attitude and your effort. Your daily mantra and how it makes you feel is a prime example of taking charge, adapting a positive attitude, and making the changes you’d like to see. And that, my dear, is the key to survival.
Our brains are very powerful tools in our fight to be whole. So I applaud your determination to help heal your body naturally. Finding a calming rhythm to your life is very soothing and perhaps it will sooth your anxiety as well as your stomach.
You’re obviously into self help. Do you have any special books or videos you like to watch to help you cope?
About 3 years ago, my daughter bought me a book that she feels is her personal bible. It’s helped her through severe anxiety and also, helped her cope with the possibility of losing me. Now I’m never without the book.
Full Catastrophe Living ~ Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness. By Joh Kabat Zinn.
Hello Lori. Husband and I very familiar with Jon Kabat Zinn. We had his books and I know we listened to dialogs on the internet. I remembered him talking about chewing a raisin 27 times before swallowing.
I find this website very helpful if I am having difficulty getting back to sleep. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHGljHR5ZjA&list=RDLVaHGljHR5ZjA&start_radio=1&rv=aHGljHR5ZjA&t=0
She has a soothing British voice and has many different but similar editions of meditation for gut, anxiety, sleep, etc. I usually make the first 10 minutes until I am sound asleep. I tried other speaking meditations but this one appealed to me the most. I went for biofeedback for pelvic floor disorder and learned the value of diaphragmatic breathing along with reciting a mantra in my mind.
I have an excellent book on Anxiety written by a Family Practice doctor at Hershey Medical Center. He was a customer at my bookshop and just an excellent person overall, so giving, and humble. I will get back to you on the title as it is downstairs and I try to consolidate my trips down and up. I will look up the Zinn book as I am sure if it helped you, I would gain from it.
Music is also helpful and soothing and I like this item in particular from Amazon. Quietly, A Piano Album – Instrumental album From the creators of Scripture Lullabies. You will see from some of the reviews that other folks find it to be quieting like it is titled and very settling.
Last of all, fresh air is uplifting even if it is cold or raining. Especially during covid, it was a relief to go outside and just observing the world of nature largely ignorant of the pandemic. Mary Ellen
Good morning, Lori (@loribmt)
Something is definitely different! This morning begin Day Four of zero OTC gastrointestinal medication. Yesterday, and especially yesterday evening, I enjoyed more wakefulness than I've experienced in––what? years? Yes, years! Even my partner noticed: "You seem really wide-awake again this evening," she said. It was true; for longer than I care to remember I'd make it until about 8:30 or 9:00 and I'd be ready to go to bed. These past three evenings, however, I was still alert and reading (pretty "thick" reading material, too) at 10:30 or 11:00 with no wish to turn off the light. So, as I say, something is different.
For any reading this who care to know, here's what I take each day in the way of prescription and OTC medications, and supplements: 1 Losartan, 50 mg, for hypertension (long since under control), 2 Diclofenac Sodium, 75 mg (1 before breakfast, 1 before bed, for arthritis pain), 1 Amlodipine, 5 mg (also for hypertension), 1 Magnesium Oxide, 500 mg; 1 Vitamin D3, 50 mcg; 1 multivitamin (for Men 50+); 1 aspirin, 81 mg.
You see––no more OTC tummy stuff! And, in light of what you've said, Lori, about your husband's experience with baby aspirin, I'm going to quit taking it, too. Even my primary said that the jury's out on baby aspirin, and if I'd like to quit taking it, do so.
Lori, and all who may be reading these posts: Merry Thursday!
Well, Ray, this is all really encouraging, huh?! Not sure of the mechanism for these improvements but it’s a real eye opener for you! There’s a pun in there somewhere. ☺️ Not putting anything into your body that doesn’t need to be there is a step in the right direction. Are you experiencing any heartburn after stopping the OTC antacids?
Any issues with ‘things moving along’ without the milk of mag? A suggestion for you, which helped me get through all of my chemo and transplant issues with not ONE intentional issue…a cup of yougart daily mixed with ground flax seed. I mixed in a tablespoon (sometimes more) of ground flax daily but you need to work up to that level. Start with a teaspoon if you’re new to ground flax. My doctors were all impressed that I managed to avoid issues most patients go through.
As far as stopping the baby aspirin, do that only under the direction of your doctor…which you are.
I wish you continued success on your progress! It’s pretty cool how quickly you’ve felt a change! You’re really not on much medication at all so keep up the good work!
Hi, Lori (@loribmt)
This will have to be another of my infamous short replies. I really should get some work done––although replying to forum posts is much more fun (Shh!)
No, I'm not experiencing any heartburn, not so far. And things are not yet 'moving along’ as I'd like them to be, but if I remember correctly when some years ago the gastroenterologist put me on a strict magnesium-and-nothing-else regimen, it took a little while before those things began 'moving along' in a way that I considered normal. So, I'll be patient.
That's a coincidence, that you should suggest yogurt and ground flaxseed. I have both, and have for a long, long time, but curiously enough not together. Each morning I put a generous spoonful of ground flaxseed on my cereal, and with my lunch almost every day I have a cup of yogurt: plain, Greek, low-fat. Those two items have been a staple for years.
Aha! I see it's getting on to noontime. I'd better squeeze in a little work before it will be time for that midday yogurt!
Not meaning to interrupt your actual work but I have one more little tidbit for you.
So, congrats on already using the flax. You can choose to put it in the yougart or not. It’s just important it’s in your diet as it’s a good source of healthy fiber and you already know the benefits of yougart.
But, in the meantime until ‘things move along” on their own with any predictability, i have a suggestion. Spending more than 2 months in a hospital, I had a lot of attention regarding my regularity! Nurses are obsessed with that. I’d tell my nurses who would ask daily, “Have you had a bm today? I’d tell them that yes, “I dropped some friends off at the pool”. Or, some days I could announce that they all joined hands and jumped in together instead of little groups. 😂😂. If they were in little groups and kept jumping in all through the day, I learned to have a dose or 1/2 of Metamucil daily to “get all the friends joining hands, singing kumbaya and making the leap into the pool” at one time. My nurses and doctors loved me. 😂😂. I swear, laughter is the best medicine.
Back to work for you… Lori.
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