Do you have the habit of popping pills without water? Many a times most of us have had popped a pill without water or any liquid assistance. Perhaps we were too lazy or in a rush, whatever the reason might be here’s why popping a pill without water can be dangerous or even fatal.
We all know taking medication in condensed solid form or tablet with water makes the swallowing process a lot easier. But that is not the only benefit you get from the process. It also neutralize the possibility of the pill getting stuck to your esophagus, the intermediate elongated part of your alimentary canal or food pipe just after the buccal cavity. Pills stuck to your esophagus can cause much more than just discomfort. It can even cause infection and inflammation. According to Jennifer Caudle, DO, a board-certified physician and assistant professor in the department of Family Medicine at Rowan University-School of Osteopathic Medicine, medications that are stuck in the esophagus have higher possibility of inflammation and irritation and this can cause a number of other symptoms like heartburn and chest pain to esophagitis, ulcers, or even bleeding.
Adding to the issue, the absence of pain nerves in parts of the esophagus leads to delayed diagnosis as symptoms don’t always pop up right away, this in turn makes it difficult for you to understand if a pill actually has made it all the way down. Some people might dismiss this experience of chest pain and heartburn as acidity and resort to dismiss the sensation as a temporary discomfort. However, pills that get stuck along the esophagus eventually will break down and erode the delicate mucus lining of the tissue system in esophagus, causing serious symptoms like painful ulcers, bleeding and hemorrhaging or dehydration.
According to a study from the Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology, it was found that almost all kind of drug can cause an ulcer in the esophagus, but Dr. Caudle cautioned that some common medications can cause significant damage when they get stuck, this list of common medications includes antibiotics, drug to treat osteoporosis, and pain relievers. Caudle also said commonly used pain relieving medicines such as Motrin and Advil are generally taken without water, and can cause serious problems if they get stuck in the throat or esophagus. A surgeon at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey referred to the story of a football player who developed an esophagus that resembled cheese as a result of his habit of taking two Advil with no water before every game during his teenage years. Vitamin C and iron supplements are also two common medications known to create similar health problems.
Caudle advises to take pill medications with at least 250 ml or eight ounces of water, to avoid dangerous complications. While taking pills standing or sitting up also decreases the chance of pills getting stuck to your food pipe. Similarly lying down increases the chance of the pills not reaching the stomach and there by getting stuck to the esophagus. This also means you should avoid taking medication right before bedtime. At least 15 minutes prior to bed, will allow the pill the much needed time to travel down the esophagus and to reach stomach.
Dr. Caudle said that even without water also our medications can reach the stomach. But the risk of the pill getting stuck to the food pipe will be higher if it is not taken with water.
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