*What do painkillers and diverticulitis have in common? This is going to shock you. Tylenol, Excedrin, Motrin, Aspirin, Naproxen etc.
Written by Mike Hohlweg on July. 9th 2015
What do painkillers and diverticulitis have in common? Well, they have a lot in common. This is going to shock you. Tylenol, Excedrin, Motrin, Aspirin, Naproxen etc.
This article focuses on the pain killers called NSAIDS. NSAIDS stands for: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. At Diverticulitis Pain Free Foods, we have uncovered a link between NSAIDS and digestive disorders like diverticulitis, colitis, and Crohn’s. Because of this link, many of you who subscribe to this newsletter and who suffer with diverticulitis will also be regular users of one NSAID or another. Our research suggests a strong relationship between both over the counter and prescription NSAIDS and the inflammation and complications of diverticulitis. In a nutshell, long term or regular use of NSAIDS seem to seriously aggravate and in some cases either complicate or even lead to diverticulitis. This article will show you what you can do about it.
Note: Allopathic doctors consider Tylenol (acetaminophen) to be a “non-NSAID.” For simplification in this article I refer to it as an NSAID and personally I believe it is one by definition.
In the “modern world” we are taught to believe that pain is a mistake, something to be fixed. Pain is actually the body’s own protection mechanism. Through pain, the body tries to get us to stop using an injured appendage, slow our pace a bit, or in some cases, stop doing a specific behavior altogether. However, busy productive people don’t like the body telling them what to do.
This causes two problems. The first is that we feel that we have to continue doing whatever it is that we do no matter what. Secondly we have come to believe that pain is not a signal to be heeded, it is a symptom to be overcome by drugs. The drugs most commonly used for pain are NSAIDS and they are taken by the truckload in the modern countries of the U.K., Australia, Canada and the U.S... We estimate that over 110 million doses of NSAIDS are taken worldwide every day and almost all of that is taken by Brittains, Americans, Canadians and Australians. What a coincidence, the four places where diverticulitis exists are also the four places where people consume all the NSAIDS like Tylenol, Aspirin, Excedrin and Motrin.
The published, known side effects of NSAIDS include:
Intestinal bleeding - stomach ulcers – nausea- vomiting – diarrhea – constipation.
It sounds like they are pretty hard on the digestive tract, doesn’t it? In fact, they sound very similar to the symptoms of digestive disorders themselves. Other side effects include:
headache - high blood pressure - kidney damage - heart attack – stroke - liver failure- what to eat with diverticulitis - what not to eat with diverticulitis
These effects sound pretty drastic when you think of them as the price tag for getting rid of a headache, arthritis pain or some other body aches and pains especially since the pain normally only lasts for a few hours. The side effects can last a lifetime.
How do NSAIDS work?
The body produces chemicals called prostaglandins for several necessary body functions including: inflammation, fever, pain, blood clotting and stomach lining protection. Prostaglandins are produced within cells by an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (also called COX). Although this is quite an oversimplification of what happens, basically NSAIDS block the COX enzyme and help stop pain, inflammation and fever.
They also reduce or stop stomach lining protection. Are you beginning to see the big picture here? NSAIDS are harsh on the entire digestive tract and at the same time, remove the natural armor protecting the stomach and intestine. It is a one two punch that no diverticulitis sufferer can take. If you also consume alcohol or are taking the blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin…. also used in rat poison) you are multiplying the damaging effects of the NSAIDS by an unknown factor. Very dangerous. We are not “big” on drugs but you do need to heal with the program before even thinking of ending blood thinners or other potential lifesaving medicine. Keep your doctor in the loop.
Do NSAIDS cause diverticulitis?
I don’t know. My research shows that they severely irritate the condition and in some people might be one of several causative factors. My best guess is that NSAIDS don’t really cause diverticulitis but they might help cause it or increase the severity. They also make healing from diverticulitis more difficult.
Mike, do you know first-hand what you are talking about?
Absolutely. I have suffered with migraine headaches since I was 4 or 5 years old and I am now 54. In my 30’s I had worked my way up the addiction ladder to where I was using as many as 6 to 12 Excedrin tablets per day. I was fully addicted and would actually get caffeine withdrawal headaches on any day that I did NOT take Excedrin. I have weaned myself from Excedrin over a three year period. This along with food grouping, led to my solution for digestive disorders. I know exactly what I am talking about.
What can I do to help myself?
1) Reduce or end your use/dependence on the addicting and health robbing drugs called NSAIDS. Depending on your personality or nature, you might be able to quit “cold turkey” or you might need some time. You will experience the return of discomfort, pain and may even go through a six or so week period of feeling lethargic. I promise you that this will pass as it did with me. Use as little as you can. If you are a “doctor person” consult with your doctor during this time.
2) Find a replacement natural method of pain management, possibly at your local health food store to help you find relief during the withdrawal phase. If you use multiple times per week or especially daily, you are addicted. You need to respect the difficulty of overcoming an addiction as with any drug.
3) Get lots of sleep, drink double your normal amount of water, stay busy and productive.
What should I not do if you have diverticulitis?
1) Don’t sit around and mope or think more than necessary about your discomfort.
2) Never cut the pills or tablets in half as a reduction method. Many of these NSAIDS have a coating that prevents them from ulcerating your stomach as easily. By cutting them in half (one of my first attempts at reduction) you can really aggravate your condition. If you want to reduce, go from two tablets to one, or from three times per week to one or two. Give yourself an amount of time at the reduced level then set a new goal until you don’t use them at all.
If you don’t know the brand names for NSAIDS, they include:
Tylenol – Excedrin – Motrin – Bayer – Advil – Actron – Aleve – Ecotrin – Nuprin - Orudis KT – Relafen – Naprosyn – Anaprox – Celebrex - vioxx
If you don’t know the drug names for the same NSAIDS they include:
Aspirin – Ibuprofen – Acetaminophen – Naproxen – Ketoprofen - Nambumetone
The good news:
NSAID addiction can be overcome. Nothing that NSAIDS prevent is worth the risk and health damage they cause. They don't cure diverticulitis. As soon as you reduce or stop using them you will begin to heal even faster and this will have a significant effect on overcoming diverticulitis. Congratulations on taking this seriously.
PFF is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. If you are seeing a doctor or taking medications, continue to do so and consult with your physician before starting any new eating or nutrition program or changing your medication regimen. Even if the program works for you as it has for so many, your digestive tract may be inflamed or injured to the point where complete healing may be a multi week, month or even a year or more process. We do believe in this program and stand behind our guarantee 100%, but we are never going to be aware of all the conditions or complications that may exist in an individual patient. PFF is not supervised by doctors or nurses. The author Mike Hohlweg has no medical or nutritional training whatsoever.