Excessive Use of Painkillers and Infertility

I was thirteen when I started having my periods, and boy! they were painful! Until I finished secondary school, I relied on hot water bottles and my mom’s abdominal massages for relief from the PMS. However, by the time I got into the University and was left on my own, I couldn’t massage myself properly and had lost the patience for hot water bottles. My roommate saw me writhing in pain one morning, and applying an hot water bottle on my lower tummy; it was obvious that I was going to stab all lectures that day. She asked if I had taken painkillers and I replied that paracetamol takes so long to relieve me, and I had long given up on it. She then introduced me to stronger painkillers, Felvin and Ibuprofen. She gave me one tablet of each and I swallowed. About ninety minutes later, I was totally relieved and I was able to attend my afternoon lectures. That was how my love affair with painkillers started.

I graduated from taking painkillers on the onset on my period, to taking pills just before my period was about to start. The minute I started having the signs, I was popping my pills. I never had any pains that way, because my body was already filled with painkillers before all the contractions start. During the first semester break, my mother noticed that I wasn’t having cramps anymore and she asked me what I did. I told her about the painkillers I was taking and she was a bit alarmed “you better not get addicted to pain relief oh, it would not be funny! It can prevent you from having a baby” she echoed. She asked how many pills I took during each period and I said four, when it was actually six (two pills, three times) and she admonished me to take only two, when the pain kicked in. The next time my period came, I tried to be faithful to my mom’s words, but because it took a little bit for the drugs to kick in, I soon went back to my old ways. Until I got married, I was taking pain killers to relieve PMS. I tried to control it though, by not taking the drugs for anything else. I could be having severe headache, but I would rather drink a hot cup of milk and take a nap, than take even paracetamol. Even when I had malaria, I took the smallest dose of painkillers possible. In my mind, I was making up for the excess dose I took when my period came.

Prescription-Drug-Overdoses

 

Fast forward to when I got married and happily ready to have a baby, my mother was on hand to remind me that I would probably have gotten pregnant on first touch if I had not ‘messed up’ my system with painkillers. By that time, darling Michael Jackson had died of painkillers overdose and my mom never failed to refer to him whenever she was complaining about how much I had abused the pills. “It’s not food, I kept on telling you, but you wouldn’t listen. You think you can cheat nature. You were trying to prevent having cramps at all; now, you are looking for a baby” my mother said to me one evening. Guilt washed over me as I thought I had indeed ruined my conception chances by overindulging in painkillers. So, I called my roomy who was also addicted to using painkillers for everything, and got married around the same time I did. I asked if she was trying to conceive yet, and she said no oh. She and hubby had agreed to wait for two years before having kids. If she wasn’t trying yet for a baby, there was no way I could find out if her own fertility was also affected by the painkillers.

But then Chisom asked what the matter was, and I told her everything. She then said screamed and said “Yes oh! I am so sorry I forgot to tell you! Did you know that I stopped ovulating a long time ago? I didn’t even know until we went for tests before marriage. That was when we discovered that I had absence of ovulation. The doctor made inquiries upon inquiries, even as I went in for further tests, and he finally made an association between the Ibuprofen I was taken in excess and my missing ovulation” Chisom informed me. She said the excessive Ibuprofen in her system had led to the production of excess prolactin which made her stop ovulating. Prolactin is that hormone secreted when a woman is breastfeeding that makes it difficult for her to get pregnant while breastfeeding. When secreted in excess at other times, it leads to an absence of ovulation.

I did further research based on what Chisom told me and discovered that Ibuprofen is from a family of drugs called non steroidal anti inflammatories (NSAIDS). This group includes mefanamic acid (ponstan) often given for period/endometriosis pain, and diclofenac(voltarol) which is often used for muscle and joint pain. There are some small scale research studies that show that taking NSAIDS around the time you would normally ovulate can delay or even prevent ovulation. I also found studies that showed that excessive use of ibuprofen could lead to miscarriages. I found it really hard breaking away from painkillers, but I dropped the pills like bad habits! Many of us women have period cramps; some are easy to deal with, while others require relief. You might have tried all the usual methods; hot water bottle inclusive but it helps to note that the pain is at its most severe when you are actually moving blood clots down the cervix. Once you feel the clot having been passed, often the pain eases rapidly. Gentle downward massage near the base of your abdomen can sometimes ease clots down faster and get them out of the way. I have also found that exercises help to relieve the pain, as it aids the clots to move down faster. Relaxation techniques and  reflexology are also great for relieving period tension and pain. It’s okay to take painkillers once in a while, but if you are trying to conceive or currently pregnant, it is a good idea to stay away from strong painkillers like Ibuprofen, and only take paracetamol in moderation.

Take care guys!

Ipheoma 6

 

 

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Comments

  1. Grace

    Wow,i didnt know all these until today,but i have since stopped taking pain killers( expecially felvin before and during my period so i dont experience any form of pain)not because i knew but because i took this ibuprofen in excess one time and it caused me severe discomfort in between my chest for more a week. So Doctor adviced i stay off pain killers and do just paracetamol(though it takes forever to work unlike felvin and ibuprofen) but i didnt want to experience the severe chest discomfort no more not knowing there is more to it….smh. God help me.

    Thanks for sharing @ipheoma

  2. Ipheoma Post author

    Thank you Grace, I totally understand you. I always felt the paracetamol takes forever to act, but I have stopped using painkillers in excess oh. I don’t take it unless absolutely necessary, even then, it’s panadol I would take. No Ibuprofen or Felvin for me anymore. @iyawodiipo

  3. Eze Ngozi

    Personally I think felvin can cause certain abnormalities in terms of the frequency and quantity of the menstrual flow.Based on my personal experiences and what I have gathered from friends and other ladies,periods become scanty,may flow for lesser days or there may be several months of amenorrhoea after felvin intake.

    1. Urlly

      My dear you are very much right. I stopped using felvin for a long time. Normally my period last b/w 4-5days.Only for me to have taken felvin two days ago because the pains was so excruciating and I observed it reduced the quantity and frequency of flows. It started on Saturday and should have lasted through Wednesday but imagine I stopped seeing it on Monday. And the worst of it is that I still feel heaviness on my breast and lower abdomen. I have swore never to take it any more….saying BYEBYE TO FELVIN

      1. Oluwakemi

        Good idea there Urily. Thank God, you noticed your body’s reaction to it on time, else, it might have had more effects if continued for longer.

    2. uche

      Soo true. I have d same experience, in my case, intake of Felvin makes my usu heavy flow very light as though its spotting. Got scared, and my research led me to this site. No more pain killers for me,.😖. Thanks for the info.

  4. Chioma

    Oh! I take painkillers for my period, I don’t even wait for the pains without popping them into my mouth. Someone once told me that excess painkillers affect ovulation but I’m always like but I see my periods so I definitely ovulate. Seriously this post just got me scared and thinking. I do have a very painful menstruation, exercise don’t help, I can’t even walk so I rely on painkillers. Thanks for the post, It quite helpful.

  5. Ipheoma Post author

    Hi Ngozi, you are so right. I did notice scantier flow, but I was young and naive then, so I was even grateful that the flow was not as heavy anymore. Thank God for information that came to me at the right time.
    Hello Chioma, I know right? I was also very scared when I found out, because I did rely on the painkillers for the pain. It helps to reduce sugar and carbs intake towards your period, place hot water bottles on your abdomen and exercise regardless. This is certainly more stressful than taking pills, but you have to protect your body. All the best dear.

  6. yemmy

    wat can l do now hv been using ibuprofen for past 6years and now trying to conceive l noticed l don’t ovulate again how can l reverse this .pls l need help

    1. Nicole

      Hi yemmy, first of all, you need to ascertain if you have a hormonal imbalance. This you can do via the necessary blood tests, to check progesterone, prolactin, FSH, and AMH levels. If any imbalance is diagnosed, then it can be treated. Are you periods regular?

  7. Lola

    Thank You for this wonderful piece of information! Who would have thought painkillers were this dangerous? Good to be reminded that everything should be done in moderation

    Nicole please i need your email address to discuss something with you,thank you.

  8. prech

    I really want to stop taking felvin too but the pain becomes unbearable. I even take 3 or 4 at once on the first day before it stops. please I need help

    1. Oluwakemi

      Hi Prech, you need to see a doctor instead of relying on felvin to kill the pain. Pain of that kind is not normal. Please find time to see a doctor and get investigated.

  9. Chidimma

    OMG!!!!! I didn’t know about this before now. I was also introduced to it by a room-mate. I have been using felvin and flagyl for the past 9yrs. I have been TTC for the past 4yrs. Pls what do I do????

    1. Nicole

      Chidinma dear, don’t panic. First of all, you need to stop it for now, while you keep trying for a baby. Have you gotten any diagnosis?

  10. Caroline

    Thanks for this word seriously am scared because have being taking Felvin for a very long time

    1. Nicole

      Don’t worry dear. The important thing is that you now know, and can opt for other healthier options :yes:

  11. Omolara

    But felvin works like magic I think it’s just overdose that causes infertality, God will see us through because the pain without Felvin is unbearable 😂😂😂😂 and where I come from weather you’re having cramps or you’re giving birth o you must sha work.

    1. Nicole

      Your comment made me smile, Omolara :haha:. I was also addicted to Felvin back in the day. But we have to try hun. These things have a way of sitting in our systems, and wreaking havoc :yes:

  12. Margaret

    Thank you for the information. My mental pain was really bad, the floor was the only thing close to comfort I had during the pain, until I started using felvin. When I took the pills a week before the due day, I realized it changed my entire cycle, so I decided to research on its negative effects and I’m really glad I know now. I’ve been using them for a year. I guess I have to go back to the floor now😔

    1. Oluwakemi

      So sorry that you have to go through such pain Margaret. It’s a good idea for you to see a doctor as soon as possible instead of enduring the pain, they will be able to prescribe safe painkillers. And also find out of, your painful menstruation is not a signal for another condition.

  13. Ronke

    Wow! It’s a little bit comforting to see I’m not going through dis alone. I’ve always had terrible cramps, and diclofenac has always come to the rescue. I also use dem before my period starts to ease the whole process. Found out I have fibroid(going crazy) and now ready for a baby too. I tried not to use diclo during my last period, but after 2 days of excruciating pain, I gave in. Couldn’t sleep well at night, walk normally or stand straight either. I’m ready for a baby now. One thing I didn’t get after reading your story, Do u have kids now? I’m really looking forward to positive responses.

    1. Oluwakemi

      Hi Ronke, yes Ipheoma has a baby now. To start with, what’s the size and location of the fibroids? It might be a good idea to also test for endometriosis. Do you experience pain only when your period is about to come and when its come or it comes at different times in your cycle?

      1. Laura

        I am in same shoes as Ronke. I was told there was fibriod on my womb but it not big and I don’t need to go under the knife. But really desiring a baby now.
        Each month scares me because of the menstural pain that comes with it, and I am really thinking of how to do away with Diclofenac.
        My hubby gets the drugs for me as he does not like pain at all. I really need to stop cos I want my babies. 😥

        1. Oluwakemi

          Hi Laura, if your doctor doesn’t think,the fibroid isn’t big enough to be operated on, then its probably not the sole reason for your painful menstruation. You need to find other ways to manage the pain other than diclofenac. It does no good at all. Have you always had painful menstruation or it’s a recent development?

  14. Haulat

    My issues is not taking painkillers. Mine was due to the contraceptive, (postnor2) i was taking, am so scared that I found out am no longer ovulating even after taking clomid for 2 circles and I have been trying to concieve for 2years now. Though I was diagnose of high prolactin which I have balanced but still I still haven’t started ovulations. Any idea pls, I need help.

    1. Nicole

      Haulat, my dear…that was also one of my concerns. I also feared Postinor 2 was the cause of my own hormonal imbalance. I’ve read as much as I can, but am yet to verify that theory. But I’ll keep on reading. In the meantime, just stay dedicated with your hormone treatment and balancing dear. Make sure you eat clean, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Do you use Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)?

  15. Hassana temi

    Your Comment…in case of essence felvin… how do i correct it

  16. hassana temi

    please I really need help I’ve been trying to conceive for the past one year now and i m still using felvin not knowing that it’s adding to my problem…i really need help.

    1. Oluwakemi

      Hi Hassana, you need to see a doctor, if you are experiencing painful menstruation and also for some investigations to find out why you haven’t conceived after one year of TTC.

  17. Tope

    Omg… My pains Is so much that I can go of felvin for the first day of my period I have been trying to conceive for over 4yrs…. I did homonal imbalance tests and it was ok, but my hubby thinks it felvin I wish I needed started wit felvin

  18. temmy

    Hi dear, have been an ardent user of felvin for years nw and it does change my menstrual cycle buh I didn’t know, last 5 days I was supposed to see my menses buh as soon as I started feeling the signs (weakness of the body, abdominal pain, etc) I took d pills immediately, now till now I haven’t even seen a sign of my period. And it’s too late I just came across ur post nw, do I have to see d doctor…. Am almost getting worried

    1. Oluwakemi

      Hello Temmy. Obviously, that is your body reacting to the use of felvin over time. You should consider seeing a doctor to treat the root cause of your menstrual pain and if you do need painkillers, at least the doctor can prescribe ones that won’t disrupt your cycle.

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