Side Effects of NSAID’s
NSAID stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. They are a group of drugs that work to relieve pain in the body by reducing or eliminating bad prostaglandins — messenger hormones that activate inflammation in the body.
For much of my life I popped some kind of NSAID when I had pain — be it cramps, a headache or back pain… so pretty much everyday. Common NSAIDs are Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil and Aleve. My favorite for headaches was always Excedrin.
Every time I took one of these little pills a stomach ache was sure to follow. There were times when I’d contemplate what was worse — the pain I was feeling, or the stomach ache to come?
After reviewing the nasty side effects of NSAID’s, I understand now why they make my tummy hurt. Turns out NSAID’s cause intestinal disorders.
NSAID’s cause tiny perforations in the surface of the small intestine — inducing “leaky gut syndrome” — which is often tied to autoimmune diseases. With leaky gut syndrome, the body is unable to absorb the vitamins and minerals it needs to function correctly.
NSAID’s also contribute to unhealthy gut flora, which spirals into a host of other issues in the body — neurologically and psychologically. Unhealthy gut flora leads to immune system troubles (not good for endo).
NSAID’s thin the protective layer of the stomach and block the secretion of bicarbonate, which helps balance the PH levels in the gut. Without proper PH levels in the gut, food doesn’t digest correctly, leading to bloating and blockages in the colon.
In addition to digestive issues, NSAID’s cause kidney disorders, high blood pressure and they accelerate joint degeneration.
I recently learned that NSAID’s negatively affect fertility as they disrupt ovulation — definitely not a good choice if you are trying to conceive.
Natural Alternative for Cramps
I know that with the pain of endometriosis it is tempting to reach for NSAID’s or other pain killers to ease this. For many years I did. I had to. I could not stand the pain and I knew of no alternative.
Luckily, now I know that there are natural alternatives that work to ease menstrual cramps. One that I recently heard about from a fellow endo warrior is called Cramp Bark (Biburnum Opuus).
Cramp Bark comes from a shrub called the Highbush Cranberry. The part of the plant used is the bark (as the name implies).
Cramp Bark eases uterine cramps as it relaxes muscles in the uterus to help alleviate spasms and contractions. It also increases circulation to the uterus.
Cramp Bark has a mild sedative action so it helps reduce anxiety, nervous tension and irritability and promotes a calming in the body. It’s muscle relaxant abilities affect other organs including the intestines and skeletal muscles.
On the Positive Side?
I was able to find Cramp Bark at Sprouts — a natural food chain here in the States. A woman in the vitamin section had to search for it for awhile, and I’m not sure which section she finally found it in, as I had moved on to other shopping… 🙂
I got it in a tincture form. Just drop 30 – 60 drops in a glass of water and drink up! The bottle says it can be taken up to three times a day.
I’ve used it on my last two periods and have found great success with it. It quickly worked to stop my cramps.
I’ve noticed that by taking Cramp Bark on my monthly that my flow has been bright red and flowing. I think this could be a result of the Cramp Bark increasing circulation to my uterus.
I am happy to say that I’ve stopped putting NSAID’s and all unnatural pain killers into my body. Cramp Bark makes it that much easier to keep them out.
Have you tried Cramp Bark? Do you have other natural remedies you use for your cramps? Would love to hear from you.
Thank you for sharing this. Been dealing with endo pain the last 15 years, the last two been on birth control for pain. I finally decided to get off of birth control and try more natural healing. Any and all info is appreciated!
That’s great to hear Hannah. I hope you look through the blog and see all the info I’ve shared along the way to help on the natural path.
I am in absolute agony with the pain and heavy periods and I’ve tried everything but think the natural route will help and reading this article has made me even more determined to try this. When do you start taking the cramp bark? Just before your period or when you come on?
Hi Samantha. Sending love. I was taking the cramp bark when my period started. You can try it whenever you feel cramping.