September 24, 2023

NSAIDS, Gut Health & Inflammation

NSAIDS May Ruin Your Health

Hello Everyone! This post is all about NSAIDS, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs most prescribed for anti-inflammatory conditions that many people use for pain.

The trouble is that depending on how often you use NSAIDS, they can worsen your condition. I will explain. Read on, and share!

What Are NSAIDs?

Common Side Effects of NSAIDs

How Many People Use NSAIDs Daily?

Why NSAIDs Are Bad For Your Health

What Are Chronic Inflammation Conditions?

Do NSAIDs Cause More Pain and Inflammation?

What Is An Alternative to Taking NSAIDs?

A female holding four blister packs of medication.

What Are NSAIDs?

NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; the medications you can buy over the counter, like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, are also prescribed by a doctor, like diclofenac and celecoxib.

Many refer to them by their brand name, like Advil, Aleve, and Celebrex. They are used for acute and chronic pain, fever, and inflammation for many conditions, except for low-dose aspirin, which is used to prevent heart attacks and strokes).

Common Side Effects of NSAIDs

Depending on how much you use them, there are side effects to longer, regular use.

The common side effects of NSAIDs are listed on the boxes as warnings and safety concerns. Several include kidney, liver, GI toxicity, respiratory, organ damage, and cardiovascular adverse effects. Bindu, S., Mazumder, S., & Bandyopadhyay, U.(2020).

A brown-haired female holds painkillers and indicates tooth pain.

Many studies link NSAIDs to peptic ulcer disease and colitis, like this study by Tai & McAlindon (2021).

Numerous studies talk about the severe side effects of using NSAIDs daily. In the British Journal of General Practice, Davis & Robson (2016) look at the dangers of NSAIDs and call for an urgent need to consider their safety.

How Many People Use NSAIDs Daily?

In a study by Gunaydin & Bilge (2018), an estimated 30 million people worldwide took NSAIDs daily!

An estimated 10 million people over 60 in the UK use NSAIDs daily, which puts them at an increased risk of adverse effects because of the natural physiological aging process that occurs, making them more susceptible. Plus, NSAIDs shouldn’t be taken with other drugs like diuretics, hypoglycaemic, anticoagulants, etc.

A female doctor handing a painkiller to her female patient who looks in pain.

I so often say that medication can save you, but long-term use doesn’t fix the source of the pain. Everyone should be screened for all potential risks and weigh the risks versus the benefits with their doctors. It is recommended that they are taken at the lowest possible dose for the shortest duration, as stated in this study by Pisano et al. (2016).

Why NSAIDs Are Bad For Your Health

NSAIDs can change the composition of your intestinal microbial community, otherwise known as gut dysbiosis, which is not good.

Gut health (with a good intestinal microbial community) is imperative to good health.

The microbes in your gut are influenced by your diet and eating behaviors, what else you ingest, like drugs, alcohol, pollutants, and so on, and stress, how you live, move, and breathe.

When you are burnt out, you can reach for things that actually make your health worse, like alcohol and the painkillers that are keeping those stress headaches at bay (but actually keep them there!).

A female stomach shown with a heart shape made by her hands to indicate gut health.

Among the microbes are bacteria, the most abundant component in your intestinal community. Over a thousand species, in fact, and they consist of good and bad bacteria!

Medication can kill off the good bacteria, shift the balance in the community, and increase the bacteria that puts your health at risk. Edogawa et al. (2018) explain the increase in the harmful bacteria and a decrease in the good bacteria.

You may like to read Side Effects of Antibiotics: IBD.

An imbalance causes gut dysbiosis, which dysregulates the immune system and leads to chronic inflammation.

You can improve gut health with prebiotic recipes like these delicious: Sesame & Sumac Lamb ChopsCoconut & Collagen Chia Pudding.

What Are Chronic Inflammation Conditions?

We need inflammation as a healthy defense mechanism against a cut, bug, or virus, but we don’t need inflammation to be running continuously. This is when it turns into chronic inflammation, which can cause pain and swelling, which is why NSAIDs are used and prescribed.

A young female sitting on a sofa clutching her stomach, indicating stomach or period pain.

There are so many conditions that are related to chronic inflammation, and many are listed here – from alopecia to cancer to depression and menopause, obesity, skin conditions, and thyroid issues.

You may like to read Signs of Inflammation That May Surprise You.

Members, access Personalized Advice for more in-depth advice for your painful and inflammatory conditions.

Do NSAIDs Cause More Pain and Inflammation?

So, the pain medication you take for your chronic inflammation condition actually causes gut dysbiosis, immune dysregulation, and chronic inflammation.

NSAIDs make your body more susceptible to pain and other diseases.

They make you less healthy than you were before.

By causing an imbalance in your gut, this explains why painkillers stop working after a while.

If you are looking to lower your cholesterol, please check this article.

Happy man looking at his pain medication and holding a glass of water.

What Is An Alternative to Taking NSAIDs?

So, if you are in the habit of popping over-the-counter painkillers for the slightest twinge or are having lots of pain, discuss it with your doctor. Everyone should be screened for all potential risks when you take any medication.

Or, if you have been prescribed painkillers for an inflammatory condition, consider an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle change, as well. Run it by your doctor.

They usually recommend a diet and lifestyle intervention for many health conditions, including stress. It’s incredible how it works. You may find that you visit the doctor less and use NSAIDs less and less, which will help your gut, which will more than likely help put your condition into remission.

As you use less, you will also see other positive changes like feeling brighter, more energy, and joie de vivre.

I wish that for you. Have a fantastic day!

Yalda Alaoui


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