July 14, 2022
Painful and heavy periods?
Taking NSAIDS regularly for cramps?
If you answered yes to all three of these, then keep reading because the chronic use of NSAIDS is likely exacerbating your anemia.
NSAIDS are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some over-the-counter ones are Aleve, Advil, Motrin, Bayer, and Ibuprofen. There are prescription ones as well.
NSAIDS irritate and damage the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. This can inhibit the absorption of iron from your diet and of other nutrients necessary for red blood cell production. Additionally, depending on the level of the tissue damage there could be blood loss in the intestines. This blood loss could be so low that it’s only detectable microscopically.
Regular acute blood loss whether from your periods or intestinal lesions, is one way that iron-deficiency anemia can develop because your body is losing red blood cells faster than it can produce more. Symptoms can include fatigue, irritability, headaches, chest pain or trouble breathing, abnormal cravings like ice, and restless legs.
Here’s what can help:
1. Stop taking NSAIDS for cramps. Herbal alternatives include Cramp Bark, Lobelia (low does because it relaxes smooth muscle tissue which is great for the uterus but lobelia can make you feel nauseous because the lower third of the esophagus is also made of smooth muscle), Black Cohosh, Blue Vervain, and Motherwort.
2. Herbs that can check heavy menstrual bleeding include: Shepherd’s Purse (fresh tincture), Yarrow, and Horsetail
3. I would also consider taking liver trophorestoratives and kidney tonics because chronic use of NSAIDS and other drugs damages these organs. Milk Thistle (liver), Stinging Nettle Seed (kidneys).
4. Plants with mucilage will aid in mucosal tissue repair. Some are Plantain, Slippery Elm, Flaxseed.
5. Iron-rich foods and herbs like stinging nettle leaf, molasses, beans, moringa, spinach, alfalfa, yellowdock, and our Robust Blood Syrup.
6. Depending on the severity of your anemia, iron from food sources may not be enough to sufficiently increase your levels. You may need iron supplements.
7. Always request annual blood work and learn to understand it yourself, so you can track your own progress.
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