Avoid Taking Ibuprofen If You Have These Medical Conditions

Pain sometimes comes on without much warning, such as a headache or stress-related muscle tension. You could grit your teeth and try to survive your day, or you could reach for some ibuprofen. Like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen works by blocking your body's ability to produce pain-inducing prostaglandins. Although ibuprofen brings temporary relief to your pain and inflammation, it doesn't treat the cause of your condition.

Like any drug, ibuprofen comes with side effects such as dizziness, high blood pressure, and gastrointestinal issues. Taking ibuprofen comes with several risks, including the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Ibuprofen can also cause bleeding in your stomach, esophagus, or intestines, particularly if you take it for a long time or take high doses. People with certain conditions should speak to their doctor before taking ibuprofen because it might make their condition worse or increase side effects. Ibuprofen can aggravate symptoms or trigger a flare-up of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Treating pain if you have Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

Typically, people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are told to take other drugs for pain, like Tylenol (acetaminophen). But a 2018 systematic review in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics summarized 18 studies published between 1983 and 2016 that looked at the connection between NSAIDs and these medical conditions. The analysis didn't find a significant worsening of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis after taking ibuprofen. However, when the researchers limited the analysis to more strict studies, NSAIDs appeared to aggravate Crohn's disease but not ulcerative colitis.

Crohn's and Colitis UK suggests avoiding NSAIDs like ibuprofen if you have either condition. Even if you have your condition under control, taking an NSAID could cause a flare-up. You should also avoid over-the-counter medications for diarrhea if you have Crohn's or ulcerative colitis because they could cause toxic megacolon. Instead, you could resort to using plant-based bulking agents that help thicken your stool. However, you should avoid them if you have a narrowing of your bowel. If you have constipation, consult your doctor to suggest an osmotic laxative to find relief.

Taking ibuprofen safely

People who are pregnant should avoid taking ibuprofen because ibuprofen can harm your fetus, especially if you take it during your 20th week. You should let your doctor know if you're taking ibuprofen if you plan to become pregnant. If you've had an allergic reaction to aspirin or other NSAIDs like naproxen, you should avoid ibuprofen.

Adults over 75 who are taking ibuprofen for arthritis or other conditions should talk to their doctor about the risks of taking it long-term. Regardless of age, you shouldn't be taking ibuprofen daily for more than 30 days in a row, according to Mercy Hospital. With each dose ranging from 400 to 800 milligrams, you shouldn't take more than 3,200 milligrams of ibuprofen a day unless you're under a doctor's supervision.

You should let your doctor know if you're taking ibuprofen, especially if you're taking blood thinners, oral steroids, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Look for aspirin or other NSAIDs in other over-the-counter medications, such as cold medicine, so you're not taking two types of pain relievers at a time.