Pepto vs Tums: Which To Choose for the Best Relief


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 indigestion, or acid reflux, 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. You may be wondering...Pepto vs Tums, which will help me ASAP?!

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? Can they both provide the same relief? In the battle of Pepto vs Tums, let's find out who reigns supreme and 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 stomach pain, belching, indigestion, traveler's diarrhea, and heartburn. It's easy to find this otc medicine at the store for a reasonable price. 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 like Pepcid, Prilosec, or Maalox. Pepcid, chemical name, famotidine, is good for people with Gerd, or conditions with excessive stomach acid.


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 stop diarrhea. Keep in mind that if symptoms last for more than two days, it's always wise to call your healthcare provider. 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.

Pepto-Bismol contains salicylates, which can be especially harmful to children with a viral illness. Doctor's recommend avoiding giving children anything wtih salicyates when they have a cold or flu. A rare reaction to this is Reye's Syndrome. This disease can cause permanent brain damage and is more susceptible in children.

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.

Tum's gets to the root cause of heartburn and stops it at the source. Heartburn occurs when acid backs up in the stomach and flows into the esophagus. The burning sensation you feel is heartburn, while the acid is actually acid reflux. This can be caused by stress, certain foods, medications and smoking.


Tum's active ingredient is  calcium carbonate. This helps to combat the pain of heartburn asap. Accoring to, " Calcium carbonate travels directly to the source, dissolving swiftly and neutralizing stomach acid on contact." Tum's competitors are Rolaids, Zantac and Alka Seltzer. In a comparison chart, Tums outperforms all with their many varieties, fast acting relief, and # 1 doctor recommendations.

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.

Pepto vs Tums: What If Neither Can Help?

If you're dealing with an unfortunate bout of constipation, neither of these medicines will help. Instead, try a medicine with magnesium. Magnesium hydroxide, aka Milk of Magnesia is what you'll want to get. This medication is also an antacid and helps to lower stomach acid.

If you're suffering from an embarrassing bout of gas, look for medication with simethicone. These help with uncomfortable bloating and gas by breaking down the large gas bubbles.


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