You’re prepping for a big weightlifting competition and your muscles are sore.
You’ve got a pain in your shoulder that gets worse with every repetition.
You know it’s against the rules to take steroids, but a few little NSAIDs just might dull the pain and inflammation long enough for you to achieve your goals.
Think you’re alone?
Approximately one-fourth to one-third of Olympic athletes report using NSAIDs 3 days prior to data collection.
Elite athletes are 3.6 times more likely to use NSAIDs than their counterparts of the same age.
It all seems rather harmless, right?
It’s not like these athletes are taking performance enhancers.
It’s ibuprofen, for goodness sake.
Well, not to rain on your parade, but there are side effects you should be aware of if you take NSAIDs regularly.
You’ll want to read on because you probably haven’t heard of the ones we’re going to cover here.
When you look for side effects on your NSAID’s pamphlet, you should know that you’re not getting an exhaustive list.
What you see are the most common well-known side effects.
But as new studies emerge, we’re learning that there may be other common side effects that we’re just now learning about.
This is why you should take any drug in moderation.
A University of Kansas study looked at the role Naproxen plays in health and hydration.
Participants took a 24-hour dose of naproxen or a placebo at varying intervals before exercise.
Researchers found that the participants who took naproxen drank more water, but experienced a decreased urine output.
This seems to suggest that the drug causes fluid retention, which can be dangerous, especially when you take naproxen regularly.
If you take NSAID pain relievers regularly, you may raise your risk of developing heart failure by nearly 20 percent.
Your risk increases based on your frequency of NSAID use. The 2016 BMJ study looked at the effects of prescription NSAIDs, which could be different than over-the-counter varieties, but we should still proceed with caution.
In fact, because people tend to misuse OTC medications, there may be even more of a risk.
A March 2018 study found that 11 percent of people taking ibuprofen and 4 percent taking non-ibuprofen NSAIDs exceeded the daily dosage limit.
We tend to think it’s perfectly safe to pop these common pills, but we must remember that there are dangers that come with using and misusing these drugs.
Stomach Ulcers and internal bleeding
You may already know about this common side effect, but it’s so important that it bears repeating. All NSAIDs, from aspirin to naproxen, share the same side effect: Gastrointestinal damage.
This doesn’t just mean that you’re at risk for an upset tummy.
You could also damage your esophagus and small intestine, and you may end up with a bleeding ulcer.
According to the American Gastroenterological Association, NSAIDs cause more than half of all bleeding ulcers.
You may have heard that you should take aspirin to prevent blood clots, but that aspirin may also be causing gastrointestinal issues.
It’s true that aspirin does inhibit the blood from clotting, but it puts you at greater risk of developing an ulcer or other gastrointestinal problems than other NSAIDs.
Although the side effects of steroid medications tend to be a bit scarier, NSAIDs aren’t exactly a benign alternative.
You won’t get addicted to aspirin as you would with anabolic steroids, but it could still have life-threatening consequences.
If you are addicted to anabolic steroids, locate addiction help instead of looking for alternatives. Your body must heal, and NSAIDs aren’t the answer.