Discomforts in your stomach may occur due to multiple reasons. The most common among such reasons include heartburns, dyspepsia, presence of stomach acids, etc. As a result, you may experience flatulence, gas formation or bloating. Your stomach may bloat if you have consumed carbonated drinks such as soda. Gas-x capsules are taken when you have any of the aforesaid discomforts in the stomach. Do you know that these capsules may also trigger a few side effects? It becomes important to know the likely side effects, reactions and allergies gas-x capsules can trigger.
Esophagus or the food pipe is the way through which foods reach the stomach. It is the passage through foods you eats are taken-in for needful digestion. Your stomach secretes gastric acids and juices to enable digestion. Bacteria in your gut also play an important role in getting foods digested. But, if you have eaten too much or consumed spicy and fatty foods, you are likely to experience a bloated tummy or formation of gas. It can also happen when you eat very soon or quickly. Stomach discomforts may also arise when you swallow air. It is likely to consume air when you take a carbonated drink such as soda, beer, etc. People who smoke or chew a gum are also most likely to push air deep inside their stomach. Heartburn is another cause for gas formation and bloating. This may occur when you eat oily or greasy foods. Like chewing gum, sucking candies or wearing poorly fitting dentures and oral prosthetics may also result in a bloated tummy.
Formation of gas or bloating may also be because of a few medical conditions. Some of these conditions are –
Irritable bowel syndrome or a condition widely referred as IBS – This is a clinical condition with a pronounced incidence rate among women. Though the real reason for this condition is not clearly established yet, its signs and symptoms are well documented. This condition may be confirmed with its typical signs such as formation of gas, flatulence, stool with mucus in them, etc. However, these symptoms may also be confusing at times. These characteristic symptoms are often assumed as pertaining to other ailments of the stomach. In order to treat irritable bowel syndrome, you may basically need to change your diet. You may also need to consider taking probiotics (also known as good, gut-bacteria). In general, you are advised not to take fatty and processed foods.
Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) affects the digestive tract. It may often result in dyspepsia and heartburns. This condition can show up when food particles in your tummy climb up the esophagus – i.e., food pipe. This may occur if you are a frequent smoker, if you take spicy or fried foods or if you consume medications which can aggravate. Major symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are repair of enamel, respiratory disorders, problems associated with swallowing foods, etc. It is highly recommended to control size of your meals (through portion control measures), chew your foods properly and stay away from wearing tight-fitting clothes. It is widely considered as a good practice to keep your head at a slightly tilted, upward angle while you sleep.
Indigestion – This clinical condition is experienced as a discomfort in your tummy, especially after you have eaten a multi-course meal. Its characteristic signs include bloating or gas formation, belching or burping (owing to build-up of gas deep inside your abdominal tract), pain in your stomach, abdominal discomforts such as nausea, etc. In some instances, you are also likely to witness a feeling of a full-stomach or a marked difference in your sense of taste. Medical studies have established a strong link for its incidence with intake of alcohol, frequent consumption of large meals and with higher levels of anxiety or stress.
Gas-x for treating gas formation in your stomach
Drugs like gas-x are administered to treat gas formation or bloating and to treat the presence of excessive acids in your stomach. These drugs can also be taken for allied conditions such as indigestion or heartburns.
Simethicone (Gas-x capsules)
This drug gives relief from conditions like burping, build-up of pressure in your gut, bloating or gas formation. The key function of simethicone is to eliminate bubbles formed in your abdomen. Thus, gas-x works as an anti-foam agent. Its main task is to reduce the surface tension of bubbles. Surface tension is the force that draws the gas bubbles together; it is found to be strong at the center. The strength of this tension or its “pull” at the center is minimized with the intake of simethicone.
You need to note that it is these bubbles that cause most of the discomforts in your tummy. With a decrease in the number of bubbles, gas in your tummy finds it easy to get away through belching or burping.
This drug can neither avoid gas formation nor can reduce the gas levels; all it does is to make gas to exit with relative ease from your system. Gas-x hence is not used as a preventive drug; instead, it is only used to treat gas that has already formed in your digestive tract. It can be co-administered with other medications such as proton pump inhibiting drugs as well as H2 blocking medications.
At times, simethicone is also combined with calcium carbonate to form an antacid that helps treat bloating or gas formation. As mentioned, simethicone attacks the bubbles formed in the gut. The added advantage of this drug is the presence of calcium carbonate; this enables the reduction of acid levels in your stomach.
Side effects of gas-x
In general, gas-x capsules are not known to trigger any major side effects. This is because this drug’s only function is to release gas locked inside your gut. It rarely gets mixed with your blood. This is the main reason for its inability to trigger major side effects. In some instances though, gas-x is known to trigger moderate levels of diarrhea as well as acidity or heartburns. But, if you have any known allergies or hypersensitivity to its ingredients, you need to inform your treating physician about such conditions.
Allergic reactions are very rare. In very remote instances, a few people have reported signs such as itchiness, drowsiness and respiratory problems such as gasping for breath, etc. In extremely rare cases, there have been some reports of formation of rashes on skin, swelling of facial organs or inflammation of oral parts such as throat, tongue, etc.
If you have a medical history of hepatic disorders, you are advised to tell your doctor about the onset of liver ailments. Also, if you have kidney problems or any renal dysfunction, it is highly recommended to inform your doctor about such ailments.
Risks of interactions with other drugs
You are advised to take gas-x capsules after your meal. It can also be taken before bedtimes. As this medication can adversely react with antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, you may need to inform your treating doctor about the drugs you are currently taking or any other treatment plans you are presently pursuing. Apart from such antibiotics, gas-x may also interact with iron supplements as well as with drugs taken for cardiac wellbeing (for example – digoxin).
Another related risk is the ability of gas-x capsules to reduce the absorption rates of drugs taken for thyroid problems. This can be observed when you are consuming medications like levothyroxine – a standard drug administered for the treatment of hypothyroidism – i.e., a not so active thyroid gland. In order to avoid complications arising out of poor absorption, you can manage the timing of intake of these capsules. It is considered a good practice to take gas-x after at least four hours prior to or after taking a thyroid supplement.
You are advised to note that the reactions, allergies and side effects listed above do not form a comprehensive list. It is a good practice to tell the treating doctor if you are planning to get pregnant or if you are already pregnant. This information needs to be shared prior to starting a course of gas-x. Also, if you are currently nursing a baby, your treating physician needs to know about it. As it is not yet known if this medicine passes through breastmilk such a precaution is essential.
Likely risks of an overdose of gas-x capsules
As this drug is also taken through self-medication or as an OTC drug, you need to understand its safe dosage levels. Maximum dosage must not exceed 500 mg per day for adults. Also, gas-x must not be taken for a very long term. So, if sourness of tummy or acidity persists for long, it is highly recommended to consult your treating physician.
In case of an accidental overdose of gas-x capsules, you are likely to experience signs such as gasping for breath, spells of dizziness, excessive drowsiness, passing out, etc. If you are living in the US, you are advised to contact food and drug administration (FDA) or 911 without any delay. You can also get in touch with a local poison control center as soon as possible. If you are a resident of Canada, you may contact Health Canada or call the nearest poison control center in your province.
In order to avoid likely instances of missing a dose, you are advised to take the dose at the same times every day. If you have accidentally missed a dose, take it immediately as and when you remember it. But, if the next dose is coming up soon, you may need to avoid taking the missed dose. Instead, wait for the next dose and take it at the usual time. Thus, you can avoid an overdose or doubling the consumption level.
In general, you can prevent discomforts due to acidity or indigestion by avoiding foods cooked with excessive amounts of spices or those deep fried in oils. You can eat your meals at regular times as well as start eating slowly. However, some abdominal conditions may result in persistent discomforts, trigger pains in your stomach or may darken your stools. If you observe such sudden changes, it is highly recommended to talk to a qualified medical professional immediately.