Sunday, December 11, 2016

'I have vowed never to take ibuprofen again and will rely on the much safer option of paracetemol' says woman who suffers internal bleeding after swallowing ibuprofen

Christine Smith
Some over the counter drugs we pop into our mouth without prescription can become fatal in a twinkle of an eye or cause serious other problems. Read below what a victim has to say:
Like millions of people, I’ve always had a supply of ibuprofen in my medicine drawer to use when I have a cold or a hangover. I used to pop it in my mouth without even thinking about it – until last month when I took it to try to get rid of a niggling cold and ended up in hospital with internal bleeding.
Normally, I am so healthy. I am 45 and I go out running five times a week to keep fit and stay slim. I am a size 10, and I love running so much that I’ve even completed the London Marathon twice, and run countless half marathons. My friends are always telling me I am the fittest person they know.
Last month, I started to feel rundown. A few days later, I developed a full-blown head cold. We were due to go and stay with my friend, Rachael, at the weekend and I desperately wanted to be better, as we don’t get to see each other often. I started taking 200mg of ibuprofen every four hours from Thursday onwards.
But the symptoms seemed to get worse rather than improve, and by Saturday I had to

cancel all our plans because I was feeling so rotten. That evening, I also noticed my stools were black, smelly and they looked like sticky tar. I put it down to the fact that I wasn’t feeling great. By Sunday, however, the stools were getting more frequent and smellier. They were also still black.
Alarmed, I went online to check what could be causing the change in colour. To my utter horror, the NHS Direct website suggested I could be bleeding internally. I rang them immediately and described my symptoms. They told me to go to my GP the following day. If I got worse, I should phone them back.
Thankfully my symptoms didn’t get worse, but after a restless night I made an appointment for 10am. I actually thought the doctor would tell me to carry on taking the ibuprofen and to go home. How wrong I was.
My GP told me she needed to examine my bottom to check whether there was black tar still inside. I lay on my left side and she examined my anal passage, where there was black sticky tar. She told me that I had melena – otherwise known as internal bleeding.
"You are going to have to go to hospital immediately," she explained before phoning Bedford Hospital to warn them I was on my way. "Go to A&E, but you will be met by a medic. You are bleeding inside."
I burst into tears and asked if I could wait until my husband got home from London. "No," she replied, "you need to get there as soon as possible." I was incredibly shocked and I couldn’t stop crying.
A medic from the Acute Assessment Unit – specifically set up to treat very poorly patients – met me. He immediately put me on an intravenous drip while he examined my bottom and tested my blood levels. Not only was I dehydrated and anaemic, I also had an alarmingly low haemoglobin level of 84. Somebody as young and healthy as me should be around the 140 mark.
I started to feel scared about what on earth was wrong with me. Even more worryingly, the doctors were puzzled too.
They ordered an emergency endoscopy to examine me internally. I was terrified. What if I did have a stomach ulcer, or even worse, stomach cancer? Shaking, I lay down on the bed for the doctor to examine me. A nurse sprayed a liquid onto the back of my throat to allow the camera to go down easily. What followed has to be the most revolting thing I have ever had to face.
When the camera – which is on the end of a thin wire – is pushed down your throat, it’s hard to breathe normally and the motion makes you gag repeatedly.
"Try to stay calm," the nurse kept telling me as she held my hand while I tried not to be sick.
It only took five minutes, but it felt like an eternity. As the doctor took the camera out, he immediately informed me: "It’s OK, you don’t have cancer and you don’t have an ulcer. There is nothing there other than an infection." I had never been so relieved in all my life.
But then he delivered the bombshell. The ibuprofen, he said, had caused an inflammation and the subsequent chain of events. I was so shocked. I had never realised ibuprofen could have such scary side effects.
Doctors told me they would need to monitor my blood levels overnight. In the morning, they would decide whether I required a transfusion or not to replenish the blood I had lost in my stools.
Half an hour later, I was taken to another ward specifically for patients with gastro problems, and a visit from my husband Nigel and our children raised my spirits no end.
I found myself going over the day’s events. What if I hadn’t gone to the doctor? Had I lost more blood, I could have collapsed. It could have led to a stomach ulcer. I forced myself to stop thinking, because the ‘what ifs’ were too frightening to contemplate.
I stayed in overnight and, in the morning, the doctor told me that further blood tests had concluded I would not require a blood transfusion after all and that he was happy for me to be discharged. I was so happy.
"Please don’t take ibuprofen again," he added.
Prescribing me a drug called Omeprazole and iron tablets for the next four weeks to help my stomach and iron levels restore to normal, I thanked him for how amazing they had been over the past 24 hours. I returned home and quite literally flopped into bed, exhausted. Over the next few days, I slept a lot and I really took it easy.
Now a month on, I’m feeling much better. I have vowed never to take ibuprofen again and will rely on the much safer option of paracetemol. It still frightens me to think that I ended up in hospital after taking what I regarded as a safe medicine. It was truly horrendous.

Side effects of ibuprofen can include:

● Nausea or vomiting
● Constipation or diarrhoea
● Indigestion or abdominal pain
More severe but uncommon side effects include:
● Headache or dizziness
● Bloating
● Raised blood pressure
● Inflammation of the stomach (gastritis)
● Stomach ulcer
● Black stools and blood in your vomit
● Kidney failure
According to the NHS website, ibuprofen can help ease mild to moderate pain, control a fever and ease swelling. Adults can take one to two 200mg tablets every four to six hours, but should not take more than six 200mg tablets in the space of 24 hours. Children under 16 need a lower dose.
The ibuprofen inflamed Christine’s stomach, which caused an infection, then bleeding. This does not happen to everybody, different people react differently. But if you have had an unpleasant reaction to asprin or ibuprofen in the past, suffered from severe heart or liver disease or stomach cancer, you must not take it. Patients with asthma, kidney or liver problems, lupus, high blood pressure or who have had a stroke should be cautious.
"Be careful people"

-Mirror UK.

1 comment:

  1. Yep That's ibuprofen for you. However taking it with food reduces chances of ulcer


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