Ibuprofen is one of the most common pain killers that we can purchase without showing any prescription. It is a common recommendation for mild to medium pain. But taking ibuprofen also comes with a few severe side effects that you might be unaware of.
And among the many side effects of ibuprofen, constipation is the one that we tend to forget about. So, how does this happen? Can ibuprofen cause constipation?
In short, it can cause constipation as it makes the stomach movement slower, which sometimes leads to constipation.
In this post, we will go through every detail and concern regarding ibuprofen and constipation to get a clear picture of how it works and how you can take ibuprofen or Advil without having to face the issue of constipation.
- What Are Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs?
- What Is Ibuprofen?
- Can Ibuprofen Cause Constipation?
- How Ibuprofen Makes You Constipated
- Other Side Effects of Taking Ibuprofen
- Best Solution for Moderate Pain
- Related Articles
What Are Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs?
Before we start with what ibuprofen is and how it works, we need to look at NSAIDs. Because, like many other painkillers, ibuprofen is also part of the NSAIDs or the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs group.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a form of medication that primarily focuses on reducing the creation of prostaglandins in our bodies. Prostaglandins are natural substances in our body that causes us to feel pain, fever, and inflammation.
By preventing the body’s production of prostaglandins, NSAIDs help us relieve pain and suffering. While having prostaglandins in our body may seem unpleasant at first, they work to protect our bodies from various issues.
They help our kidneys to function normally and are also crucial for blood platelets activation, which helps during the blood clotting process of the body. Not only that, but they also prevent stomach acid from damaging our stomach’s lining and intestines.
So, does that make taking ibuprofen, a drug from NSAIDs, a bad choice for your body? Yes and no at the same time. Two enzymes are regarded as the supplier of prostaglandins in our body: COX-1 and COX-2.
COX-2 primarily focuses on providing the feeling of pain, fever, and inflammation. On the other hand, COX-1 helps the body fight against stomach acid and protect the intestinal lining.
For this reason, NSAIDs that blocks the effects of COX-2 are often recommended by a healthcare professional. Other NSAIDs are non-selective. Meaning they will block both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Thus, making it a bad choice for regular usage as it can have serious side effects on your stomach and body.
What Is Ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen is a part of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which block both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes to prevent the production of prostaglandins. It is a quick-acting painkiller that starts to work in 30 minutes to an hour and lasts inside our blood for five to six hours.
As it belongs to the other NSAIDs that block COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, it is not the best medication option for long-term pain and injuries. Rather it is best used to treat acute pain and minor aches like a sudden cramp, muscle aches, sports injury, a headache, and similar issues.
Even in these situations, you shouldn’t take too much ibuprofen. This is because over-usage of this medication can lead to higher risk factors like swelling, bloating, heart attack, stomach ulcers, cardiovascular disease, and stomach pain.
But the biggest side effect that you will face if you start taking ibuprofen for long periods is constipation. It is one of the most common side effects and can severely impact the body in the long run.
Can Ibuprofen Cause Constipation?
Constipation is listed as one of the side effects of ibuprofen but it is one of the milder side effects.
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which means it works by blocking the production of prostaglandins in your body. When you take ibuprofen orally, it prevents the release of these hormones that stimulate bowel movement which in turn can lead to constipation.
When compared to prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone, oxycodone, or codeine, ibuprofen has a much lower likelihood of causing constipation.
How Ibuprofen Makes You Constipated
Like any other painkiller, ibuprofen is a drug, and an overdose of any drug will have negative consequences. When you take ibuprofen, it starts to make your intestine and stomach move slowly. The speed is slower than the usual speed of the stomach movement.
Now, if you take a higher dose, the speed of movement becomes slower, resulting in sedated movement in intestinal motility. These are the muscle contractions located in our bowel that squeeze the digested components forward via our bowel.
Advil doesn’t do this intentionally because this slowdown leads to the blockage of the production of prostaglandins. If taken with ibuprofen, certain substances like aspirin will increase the impact of constipation.
This can trigger fluid retention in your body, which creates an increased risk of brain damage if you regularly take these medications.
Other Side Effects of Taking Ibuprofen
If you start to take ibuprofen on a regular basis, then you will be facing quite a few side effects, along with constipation. Ignoring the side effects of ibuprofen will lead to serious issues in the future.
So, if you find some of the following symptoms after taking ibuprofen, then stop taking it immediately. Only continue after you have consulted with your doctor.
Increased Blood Pressure, Heart and Kidney Disease
Taking ibuprofen over the recommended dose can lead to high blood pressure, gastrointestinal side effects, and different types of heart disease. If you have trouble breathing after taking a few doses, then that’s a side effect of ibuprofen. You also run the risk of heart failure if you go overboard with ibuprofen.
That’s not all; other symptoms of over usage of ibuprofen include swelling on fingers and lower legs, constant headache, nausea, fluid retention, and a few more.
Why Do Doctors Recommend Ibuprofen?
Now, the risk of using ibuprofen can seem really high, and you might be wondering why doctors recommend this drug. This is because Advil or ibuprofen is widely used for the treatment of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. This medicine is also great for treating minor pains in children older than 7.
But do keep in mind that the dose can’t be very high.
It is also great for sports injury treatment as this medicine can provide instant relief. Besides, it is easy to acquire because you don’t need any prescription to get it.
Ibuprofen can also treat fever effectively. So, if you practice caution, then this medication can be extremely useful in certain situations. And with proper diagnosis, you can prevent the symptoms of ibuprofen easily.
How to Counter the Risks of Ibuprofen?
So, we can’t deny the fact that ibuprofen is very useful for many patients and is a medication that has a lot of usage. But due to its side effects, we have to be cautious about using it.
Some steps can be taken to prevent the side effect of the medication from occurring. Early diagnosis of them can help you make a better plan against them.
The type of ibuprofen patients take will also have an impact. For example, the effect of chewable tablets and water pills won’t be the same.
Certain substances, herbal products, and medications like oral steroids green teas can prevent the symptoms from emerging as well. You can counter the swelling and nausea by adding aspirin as a part of your medications.
Best Solution for Moderate Pain
Ibuprofen is arguably one of the best acute pain reduction medications for adults. It is a common medication for patients of all ages. As this medication doesn’t require any prescription, it can easily be obtained from your local pharmacy. Yes, it does come with constipation, swelling, and other issues.
But you can easily counter them if you take the proper dosages. So, use ibuprofen for your acute and moderate pains. But don’t overuse it.