What is the Real Difference Between Pepto and Tums?

When you feel a headache coming on, chances are you will reach for Tylenol or Ibuprofen. However, dealing with pain like heartburn, an upset stomach or indigestion is super uncomfortable and something you want to fix right away. We've all been there and different things like overindulgence can trigger the pain. As much as we all try our best to avoid these problems that happen in our digestive system, sometimes it just happens.

So, what do you do? Most of the time we reach for an over-the-counter medicine for some fast relief. Popular over-the-counter names for these medicines are Pepto-Bismol and Tums, but what's the true difference between the two? Let's dive in a read about these common medicines so you know what to do next time indigestion or heartburn strikes.

Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)

Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) is great over-the-counter medicine for digestive relief. Pepto-Bismol helps to alleviate annoying tummy pain, belching, indigestion, traveler's diarrhea, and heartburn. It's easy to find at the store and reasonably priced. Sure you can buy caplets to swallow, but if that's not your style, go for the chewable tablets or drink the suggested amount of Pepto-Bismol liquid. On top of the common Pepto-Bismol Original flavor, you can even find it in cherry liquid flavor and ultra-strength.

While there are not many side effects to Pepto-Bismol, keep in mind that it might not be as strong as other antidiarrheal and antacid medications. Some folks might also notice that Pepto-Bismol causes a gray tongue or black stool from the substance called bismuth sulfide, but these common side effects are only temporary and no cause for concern. Be sure to also drink plenty of clear fluids. 

This should help with heartburn and hopefully, diarrhea stops, but keep in mind that if symptoms last for more than two days, it's always wise to seek medical help. And if you think you've taken too much of this medicine or have a loss of hearing and feel dizzy, stop use and seek medical help or call your local poison control center right away.

Tums (Calcium Carbonate)

Tums (calcium carbonate), on the other hand, offer fast relief for heartburn and indigestion. Of course, it's a temporary reliever (about 1-2 hours), but it works quickly within a matter of minutes. Tums are available in chewable tablets, so if you're not a fan of swallowing caplets, Tums might be for you. Like Pepto-Bismol, Tums are easy to find at the store and are relatively inexpensive.

Tums are typically safe for most people to take and do no have many common side effects. However, if you have any medical conditions or you're just unsure if you should take Tums, always consult with a health professional.

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