Stomach acid neutralization, (kind of need an answer fast)

So…my very ‘eccentric’ friend who regularly experiments with his body and chemicals decided for some dangerous and quite possibly stupid reason to place baking soda and caustic soda pellets (sodium hydroxide) in dozens of plastic capsules used for things like medicine in the hope that it would neutralize the NaOh in his stomach.

He was feeling great discomfort from consuming along with me some alcohol (though he took it overboard) and yesterday afternoon started feeling bloated. Well anyway he took about 9 capsules of his mixture and felt okay but then suddenly some pain. An hour after, vomited but we don’t now whether that’s due to the alcohol and/or the mixture in the capsules.

Well today he no longer feels like vomiting but he is getting a rumbling stomach along with pangs of pain that come and go once move through his stomach.

Would you know what exactly the issue would be?

Stomach acid is HCl. Caustic soda is NaOH, or sodium hydroxide.

Your friend may die. Dial 911 immediately.

Caustic soda (the clue is in the name) can cause severe burns to tissue.

Sodium hydroxide poisoning:

First, if he wants to neutralize his stomach acid, calcium carbonate is the usual method. Packaged in convenient form by Tums and Rolaids. There’s no real health-related reason to unless he’s getting heartburn, but there doesn’t seem to be much harm in keeping your stomach close to neutral. And, by the way, his stomach (if he’s human) has dilute HCl. NaOH is caustic soda/lye.

Second, taking an antacid to deal with bloating is, uh, contraindicated. Have your friend mix up some baking soda and vinegar if he doesn’t understand why.
It’s possible he did some damage to his digestive system with extremely alkaline solution, but it could well just be gas pains and the normal aftereffects of drinking/vomiting. After 24 hours, I doubt there’s much that can be done anyway. Either way, this was indeed a monumentally stupid thing to do.

At some point, shouldn’t we let natural selection do its thing…?

Read the OP more carefully before minimizing the situation. It was not a solution. “Friend” ingested solid NaOH pellets in capsules. If he’s lucky, they may have made it into liquid medium in the stomach before the capsules broke, but they may also have caused tissue damage somewhere.

911, emergency room.

Is there a risk of kidney stone from the calcium if these are taken regularly?

The issues is he did something fucking stupid.


You’re in Ireland, right? Not like the US where you have to worry about access and payment.

For those of you not getting the urgency, sodium hydroxide is drain cleaner, the active ingredient of brands like Drano and Liquid Plumber. It WILL cause damage and chemical burns until it is sufficiently diluted by bodily fluids, which, if you start with a solid form, may take quite a bit. As mixing the solid with water results in the generation of heat thermal burns are not out of the question either.

People have survived stunts like that - and some of them have suffered life-long severe inconvenience and permanent health problems.

Depending on what has been damaged, your friend may now require surgery to survive at all, but YOU can’t determine that, it will take actual doctors. Take him to medical care NOW! You can’t go by his pain level - third degree burns are painless. You can not treat him at home. Again:


Repeated, lest the OP try to dismiss this comment as just one person overreacting online.

Then why are medicines that treat both so common? I’ve seen numerous ads for products that are specifically for both bloating and heartburn. Do they use a different form of acid neutralization?

I have my own biochem lab. Solid NaOH is one the chemicals I worry the most when handling. If I let a single pellet fall into my lab coat sleeve I could get serious burns.

This individual needs emergency care ASAP

Oh, by the way - by “life-long severe inconvenience and permanent health problems” this is an example of what I mean

And here’s another

The subjective sensation of “Bloating” is a frequent patient complaint. It’s often attributed incorrectly to “excess gas”, even though this perception is usually incorrect. More often, the bloating, when associated with belching, is due to excessive air swallowing, delayed gastric emptying, or to reflux. Hence the recommendation to use anti-reflux meds for said bloating. Not that it helps when due to air swallowing, but it will make the reflux less noticeable. And may dampen the symptoms when due to delayed emptying.

In those less common (but not rare) circumstances where bloating is actually due to excess gas in the small intestine or colon, it presents most often as excessive flatus. When that occurs, it’s generally due to either the aforementioned excessive air swallowing, or increased gas production in the GI tract. Simethicone, beano, and activated charcoal are often recommended for this situation, but have not really been found to be effective for them.

As for the OP’s friend, well, I hope he’s not dead or hideously damaged. But it is quite possible that he is by now, if he’s ingesting sodium hydroxide.

Baking soda i get, but why would your friend ingest DRANO for an unset tummy?

Or any other reason?

Isn’t this the same friend who burned off his tastebuds with lye?

Methinks some psychological counseling may be in order. If it’s not too late.

Medical advice is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

This guy swallowed NaOH? That is as basic as HCl is acid, and is also known as lye.

I can’t believe he did this and isn’t dead, unless he swallowed some capsules that didn’t contain what he thought he did.

I see that last time “friend” apparently mutilated himself with caustic soda it was a fire-and-forget OP. Not holding my breath for a follow-up health report.

The OP does seem to have quite a few of those. Hmmm.

Stones, I don’t know. But ISTR someone on the board took a lot of them for a long time (in excess of the directions) and partially calcified his kidneys.

So read the directions on the bottle and follow them. My bottle of Walgreens antacids (500 mg calcium carbonate tablets) says

Well…? Come on, give us an update.