Ibuprofen to Stop Breakthrough Bleeding: Does It Actually Work?

Ibuprofen is a synthetic drug that belongs to the class of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) used mainly as an analgesic, a pain reliever against migraine, arthritis (gouty arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis), and against painful cramping during the menstrual cycle. People also use ibuprofen to stop breakthrough bleeding and to get relief from fever and inflammations.

Does it actually work if we use ibuprofen to stop breakthrough bleeding?

Ibuprofen can only lessen the intensity of breakthrough bleeding but cannot completely stop the breakthrough bleeding. According to some researchers, Ibuprofen cannot stop or lessen the breakthrough bleeding, instead, it makes it worse.

If you want to know how ibuprofen works for breakthrough bleeding along with the side effects it causes, keep analyzing this article.

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Ibuprofen to Stop Breakthrough Bleeding

We need to understand why breakthrough bleeding occurs before we move to the association between ibuprofen and breakthrough bleeding. 

Why does breakthrough bleeding occur?

Endometriosis is an inflammatory disorder of the uterus lining in which some extra tissues (somehow similar to that of endometrium tissue) grow on the outer side of the uterus. Our body gives an inflammation response against this growth by producing prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are lipid-related compounds produced mainly by osteocytes and work in the inflammatory response of the body. 

Prostaglandins also produce estrogen, a hormone responsible for the regulation of the female reproductive cycle. Estrogen works mainly to increase the thickening of the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) by vascularizing it.

So we can say that when endometriosis occurs, there is an increase in the production of prostaglandins due to the tissues growing on the outer side of the uterus. 

As prostaglandins increase, there is an increased production of estrogens that cause the lining of the uterus to thicken greatly. When this thickening increases beyond its limit, the body sheds it out in the form of breakthrough bleeding. 

This process can occur at any time instantly without a certain time. This type of bleeding that occurs at any time spontaneously is called breakthrough bleeding.

How does Ibuprofen actually work?

Ibuprofen might help with your breakthrough bleeding. So, here’s the mechanism that will help you to understand its working procedure. 

In Case of Normal Women

All we need is to lessen the amount of prostaglandin in the body. Ibuprofen is a drug that can be used to lower the prostaglandins in the body. If the prostaglandins are lower, the estrogen will be lowered, and the uterine lining will shed less. In this way, we can reduce blood loss by 25 to 45 percent compared to its original value.

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In Case of Women Using Birth Control Pills

There are various types of birth control pills available in our country. They all work differently. Some pills prevent the fertilization of eggs with sperm by making the mucus of the cervix more thick and hard. 

It creates a hindrance for sperms to find an egg in the female reproductive system. The chances of conceiving are thus reduced.

Various birth control pills change the hormonal level of the body, which does not allow the egg to ovulate from the ovary. Some birth control pills affect the thickness of the internal lining of the uterus, reducing the chance of implantation of a fertilized egg in the womb.

In one or more ways, all types of birth control pills prevent pregnancy from occurring by changing the hormonal balance of the body.

The pills which prevent pregnancy by altering the thickness of the endometrium lining and by stopping the egg to releasing from the ovary (due to hormonal imbalance, usually there is an addition of human-made estrogen through pills) cause breakthrough bleeding.

Ibuprofen decreases the production of prostaglandins in the body. Thus, ibuprofen can be used to stop breakthrough bleeding.

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Dose Of Ibuprofen Needed To Stop Breakthrough Bleeding

Ibuprofen is primarily used to cure pain and fever. But it can be used to stop breakthrough bleeding. A bit heavier dose of ibuprofen is needed to stop breakthrough bleeding. About 600 to 800 milligrams of ibuprofen after 6 hours or 3 times in a day on the prescription of a doctor.

The dose must be taken at regular intervals. Try your best to not miss even a single dose in your routine. Precautions must be kept in a measure during the usage of ibuprofen.

Although many women use ibuprofen to control their breakthrough bleeding, it also has a number of side effects. Also, not everyone can use it. So, go through the side effects and contraindications if you are thinking of using it. 

Side Effects of Using Ibuprofen

Although people use ibuprofen to stop breakthrough bleeding, it also has several side effects. All people are not allowed to use ibuprofen. Heart patients, patients with diabetes and blood pressure, and people who smoke are generally not allowed to use ibuprofen. Ibuprofen can cause any type of side effects. It may include:

Some Major Side Effects 

Major side effects of ibuprofen usage include;

Heart Attack:

People who do not use NSAIDs are at much less risk of getting a heart attack or stroke than those people who use them. Ibuprofen also belongs to the class of NSAIDs, so it also increases the risk factor of heart strokes.

Decreased Kidney Functioning:

Besides all other functions of prostaglandin, it also controls the amount of fluid entering and leaving the kidney for filtration. If prostaglandins are absent or less in the body, it will disturb the fluid balance, causing kidney problems. 

As the kidney loses its function, it leads to many other issues including high blood pressure, frequent urination, etc. It can also cause dehydration and weakness in the body.

Ulcer In Stomach And Intestine:

Prostaglandins perform a variety of functions. Its function also includes repairing the stomach wall and intestinal wall.

Walls of the stomach and intestine get ruptured due to the continuous action of stomach acids on the stomach wall and that of duodenum acids on the intestinal wall. Prostaglandins play an important role in recovering of walls. As Ibuprofen decreases the amount of prostaglandin

In the body, it is increasing the risk of ulcers in the stomach and intestinal walls.

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Others

Some other side effects of ibuprofen may include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Vision-weakening
  • Dizziness 
  • Swelling in specific body parts
  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Confusion and Nervousness
  • Liver problems including jaundice (yellowing of the eyes occurs)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Skin rash and itching
  • Swelling of hands, feet, legs, and eyes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Pale skin
  • Laziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficult breathing

In short, if ibuprofen shows its side effects, then it can nearly damage each organ including the kidneys, stomach, heart, and even eyes. 

Although these side effects are serious and major, they occur very rarely.

Contraindications

Ibuprofen is not allowed under some specific conditions. These conditions include:

  • Pregnancy

This medicine is not for if you are pregnant. If you have faced any kind of surgery including dental surgery then you must consult your doctor. 

  • Drinking Alcohol

Persons who drink alcohol are at more risk of getting its side effects as compared to those who don’t drink. Old people should not use this drug in a higher dose or for a longer period.

If people drinking alcohol and all other ibuprofen sensitive persons take ibuprofen for a longer period of time, then severe reactions can be produced in their body. 

For example, holes or ulcers can occur in the stomach and at any part of the intestine due to the overuse of ibuprofen.

  • Usage of Anticoagulants 

 A person who is taking anticoagulant drugs should also consult his/her doctor before taking this medicine. 

Even if you are taking any kind of multivitamin or some other supplements, including calcium supplements, you must inform your doctor before taking ibuprofen.

FAQs

Question: Does a high dose of ibuprofen cause damage?

Answer: As ibuprofen has its own side effects, so its high dose can cause damage to the kidneys, stomach, liver, eyes, heart, and many other organs of the body. But these disorders occur rarely.

Question: Does Ibuprofen completely stop the breakthrough bleeding?

Answer: Ibuprofen cannot completely stop the breakthrough bleeding. It can only reduce the amount of bleeding during heavy breakthroughs. It can lessen the bleeding by 20 to 40 percent of the original value of breakthrough bleeding.

Question: How to take a dose of ibuprofen?

Answer: Ibuprofen must be taken with a frequent amount of water. Try not to lay down for at least 10 to 15 minutes after taking a dose of ibuprofen.

Always follow the prescription for that drug and if you have any kind of disorder, first consult your doctor.

Question: Does ibuprofen disturb the normal menstrual cycle?

Answer: If you are using ibuprofen during menses, then it lessens the amount of bleeding.

Question: Can ibuprofen be used for the long term?

Answer: Ibuprofen cannot be used for a long period due to its diverse side effects. 

Question: Can break-through bleeding occur naturally?

Answer: Yes, breakthrough bleeding can occur naturally. It occurs due to the over-thickening of the lining of the uterus.

Question: How normal menstruation and breakthrough bleeding can be differentiated?

Answer: Menstruation occurs naturally due to normal hormonal balance after 21 to 28 days and lasts for at least 3 to 5 days while breakthrough bleeding occurs due to some drugs and can be naturally due to hormonal imbalance randomly at any time and lasts for only 2 to 4 days.

Conclusion

We can use ibuprofen to stop breakthrough bleeding, but usage of ibuprofen can cause serious issues. It works by changing the body’s normal functioning as it alters the hormonal balance in the body.

 High dose and continuous use of ibuprofen definitely alter your normal life activities, and it can be life-threatening.

Dr Hafeez Arshad

Dr Hafeez Arshad

This is Dr. Hafeez. I have done my M.Phil in Pharmacology. I am a healthcare professional. My core competencies focus on writing different types of research articles/blogs regarding health sciences.

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