The Truth About NSAID Side Effects: What You Need to Know

the truth about NSAID side effects

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) are over-the-counter medication sold under names such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Naprosyn, Toradol, etc. They’re commonly used to reduce pain caused by headaches, arthritis, coughs, colds, and sports injuries. However, very few people know about the truth about NSAID side effects.

How NSAIDs work

NSAIDs work by reducing or blocking the production of a compound named “Prostaglandin”. You can think of prostaglandin as something similar to a hormone (i.e. estrogen or cortisol).

Prostaglandin has certain negative effects such as increasing inflammation, pain and fever, but on the positive side it protects our stomach lining from the damaging effects from HCL (the acid we have in our stomach that helps digest our food) and it also protects the small intestine lining from the damaging effects of the digestion process.

Therefore, prostaglandin serves both a good and bad purpose in our body. Remember that NSAIDs reduce prostaglandin, and therefore, they influence both its positive and negative effects. This means, that yes, your pain is reduced, but your stomach and small intestine are exposed to the damaging effects of the digestive process that occurs in our gastrointestinal tract every minute of the day!

The Truth About NSAID Side Effects: The Ugly Side of NSAIDs

NSAIDs have positive side effects of reducing pain but also can lead to the following body messages or symptoms:

  • Stomach ulcer (a hole in the stomach lining) leading to poor production of HCL (hydrochloric acid), which in turn leads to poor digestion and malabsorption.
  • Small intestine lining perforation causing leaky gut (hole in the small intestine) leading to food allergies and intolerances, and in the long term to auto immune disease.
  • Depression (in most cases due to the above leaky gut syndrome)
  • Delayed digestion
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Increase blood pressure

The Root Cause of Our Pain

Taking NSAIDs is a way of affecting and treating symptoms, and doing so is only hiding the root cause of the issue. When we experience symptoms such as headaches, this sends us a message that something is wrong inside of us. We must listen to these messages to find the root cause and treat it, or otherwise the pain or inflammation will continue indefinitely.

In the case of chronic diseases such as arthritis, which require long term usage of NSAIDs, always take the time and care to consider natural options. As an example, fish oil (specifically the EPA component of fish oil), is a powerful agent that reverses the effects of prostaglandin (inflammation & pain) without the side effects. So, choosing an alternative could potentially be as easy as taking a regular dose of fish oil….

Body Messages

To recap the two critical points – when our body manifests symptom such as headaches or pain, this a way for it to give us a signal that something abnormal is happening.

We must listen, or otherwise chronic diseases will be waiting just around the corner. Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that although available over the counter, NSAIDs are very powerful drugs that have many side effects and we should avoid taking them on regular basis.

Alternative Solution to NSAIDs

Now that you know the truth about NSAID side effects, you’d want to look for effective pain relief without any of the dreadful side effects I mentioned. You have a few alternative as outlined by Dr. David Williams here.

If you pain is due to inflammation, which is most likely the case for symptoms such as arthritis, joint pains in general and most injury you can follow my anti-inflammatory protocol here.

Share your thoughts: Do you currently use NSAID? Do you use an alternative? What is your go to for pain relief?

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Stephanie Dodier

Hello! I'm Stephanie, Clinical Nutritionist, author and host of The Beyond The Food Show and founder of The Beyond The Food Academy . I'm help women become intuitive eaters & body confident!. Get started now with my free Audio Training.

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