Tylenol contains acetaminophen. As you know, this medication is a staple in most medicine cabinets. It is commonly used as a pain reliever and fever reducer. So common, it is considered the most widely used pain reliever in the United States. It is marketed as a safe medicine for children (baby Tylenol), pregnant women, and everyone in between. However, Tylenol does come with some dangers you might want to be aware of, especially if you reach for it for your daily aches and pains.
*this is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your general practitioner for any medical concerns.
I have seen it firsthand working in the Emergency Department, many young people coming in with Tylenol overdoses from suicide attempts. Some of those kids had to be put on the liver transplant list. So if you have Tylenol in your home, be sure to keep it locked up and also educate your kids on the dangers of taking too much!
What You Need to Know
Tylenol is generally well tolerated by most and easy on the stomach; however, prolonged use of this common pain reliever may cause liver damage. This is why you should never take more than one acetaminophen product simultaneously. Read your labels, crunchy mama. And do not take more than 4000mg of acetaminophen per day. Symptoms of an acetaminophen overdose include: stomach cramps, swelling, pain, or tenderness in the upper abdomen, increased sweating not associated with fever, sudden diarrhea, and loss of appetite as well as nausea and/or vomiting.
When you take Tylenol, your liver absorbs the medication, and excess is eliminated through urination. However, some acetaminophen converts into a toxic metabolite that harms liver cells. The more you take, the more your liver is at risk. Scary stuff!
Studies show that prolonged use of Tylenol might increase your risk of developing a blood cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma. Severe skin allergies may also occur.
If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking Tylenol, just to be on the safe side.
What are the Side Effects of Tylenol?
In addition to some of the dangers of Tylenol, the pain reliever may also cause some side effects. Be on the lookout for the following:
- Facial swelling, or swelling of the throat, lips, eyes, ankles, legs, feet, tongue, or lips
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Red, peeling, or blistering skin
Then there are some super rare side effects such as:
- bloody or black, tarry stools
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- fever with or without chills
- pain in the lower back and/or side (severe and/or sharp)
- sore throat (not present before treatment and not caused by the condition being treated)
- bloody or cloudy urine or a sudden decrease in urine production
Who Should Not Take Tylenol?
You shouldn’t take Tylenol if you have liver problems or a family history of liver disease. Also, you should avoid Tylenol if you already take a medication containing acetaminophen. Stop taking Tylenol if you experience any side effects. Talk to your doctor before starting any new medication, even over-the-counter medication.
Since it can affect the liver, you want to avoid Tylenol if you drink three or more alcoholic drinks daily.
Pain Relief Alternatives
While Tylenol may be convenient to purchase and have on hand, there are natural ways you can alleviate headaches, backaches, menstrual cramps, and muscle aches. I’m not saying you must choose one method over the other. Instead, if you want to cut back on your family’s Tylenol usage, you may want to try these pain relief alternatives.
You can also try CBD oil for pain relief. While the benefits of CBD oil are still being tested and studied, results look promising. When applied topically, CBD oil has been shown to relieve pain, much like the DIY Icy Hot Pain-Relieving Salve. It is also said to help with anxiety. Check your state legislature to determine if CBD is sold legally in your area. Choose a supplier with a positive reputation, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the extraction process. We personally use and trust Green Compass (USA-produced, organic, very high quality and bioavailability!). THIS LINK gets you $10 off your purchase. They have topical creams that really work wonders!
If your child has a fever, you can reduce their fever using egg whites. All you need is some egg whites and socks. I’ve tried this remedy, and it has worked for my kiddos. You can also try wet sock therapy, this always reduces a fever for us. I made a reel demonstrating how to apply wet socks for fever HERE. Of course if your child has a very high fever (>104 F), is listless, is not drinking fluids, you should consider taking them in to see a medical professional. Kids can decompensate quickly.
It is also helpful to remember that headaches if you do not have a pre-existing headache or migraine condition, are sometimes a symptom of dehydration. Drink a glass of water or sip on some lovely chamomile tea with honey and see if your headache subsides before reaching for the medicine cabinet.
For menstrual cramps, you may want to try a warm bath or shower or a heating pad. While these methods may not provide instant relief, you may find them relaxing as they work their magic.
Another pain relief wonder that we use is Ice Wave patches. You apply them topically to the site of pain and they work wonders, especially when paired with the X39 patch (for stem cell production and repair) and the Aeon patch (for inflammation). I completely eliminated my chronic SI joint pain using only these patches, and it went away in only a few days of using them. HERE is the science behind the patches, scroll down to read the studies. Watch this video to see the pain control demonstrated on horses!
Putting it all Together
The dangers of Tylenol are pretty rare and are often attributed to an overdose of acetaminophen. However, if you’re looking for natural pain relief and solutions where you know each and every ingredient, try some of the remedies listed above.
Tylenol is generally safe when taken properly. You just want to ensure you don’t overtax your liver while seeking pain relief. If you have any concerns about taking Tylenol, talk to your doctor. Tell them your concerns and about your usage. They may have alternatives you can try to eliminate any danger to your system. Or they may simply counsel you on the best way to experience the benefits of acetaminophen without causing harm to the body. You will know what is best for you, your body, and your family. Trust your gut and ask good questions!