The first time I questioned the use of Tylenol was pregnancy. Even though my OB reassured me of its safety, it still felt wrong taking a medication during pregnancy. This drove me to research alternative methods for pain control.
I managed to get through pregnancy without using Tylenol.
This modern world is indeed blessed to have Tylenol as an option.
However, Tylenol is the overused easy button for everyday aches and pains that DOES INDEED have negative affects.
The main purpose of this article is to highlight that Tylenol is not completely safe and could in fact, be quite dangerous for pregnant women and children.
I also hope to peak your interest in the alternative ways to control your family’s pain. These methods do work if you will have the patience to find the right remedy.
My hope is you will use alternative medicine as your first line of defense when your mothering journey requires pain management.
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What is the safety concern with Tylenol?
History has shown us that over-the-counter drugs commonly used by families were discovered to be dangerous and damaging to the human body.
Back in the 1980’s, we realized that children’s aspirin caused a dangerous condition called Reye’s syndrome. (source) This involved swelling of the liver and the brain. Reye’s syndrome led to personality changes, seizures, coma, and death (source).
Before we knew about Reye’s syndrome, aspirin was the number one recommended pain reliever for children.
Now doctors recommend Tylenol.
At first glance is does seem safe. I was personally given Tylenol as a child and I am still around to tell this story.
However just because this drug has been used for years doesn’t mean it is right for YOUR child.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) changes the mitochondria by depleting glutathione. Think of your mitochondria as the factory that powers our cells.
Glutathione is an essential biochemical that binds and eliminates toxins from the body. Without this powerful antioxidant, toxins will build up in our bodies and collect in the brain and liver. It stunts normal neural development. (source)
According to this study by Schultz & Gould, children who were given acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol, were 8 to 20 times more likely to develop neurotoxicity leading to Autism.
Another study found that when women consumed Tylenol during pregnancy, their children were at increased risk to develop severe ADD and hyperactivity.
If these possibilities are not enough to be cautious when reaching for a bottle of Tylenol, you must consider that acetaminophen is not the only component that makes up a bottle children’s Tylenol.
Harmful “inactive” ingredients
When my son was teething I wanted so badly to take away his pain. At that time I was not as confident in my ability to use natural remedies for pain relief.
I thought to myself, “What is the likelihood of a rare but devastating neurotoxic event happening to MY kid?”
It is so tempting to think this way, especially when you have the power to take your child’s pain away with a simple dose of Tylenol.
But moms must also consider the inactive ingredients they are dosing themselves and their children with. These ingredients are not contributing swift healing and they may in fact prolong the illness.
One of these ingredients included in Tylenol is butylparaben. This substance is a preservative and endocrine disruptor linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable to this substance. (source)
The next ingredient on the inactive list includes FD&C red no 40. This synthetically produced chemical is linked to behavioral disorders, allergies, and cancer. (source) No wonder you have to worry about serving peanuts at kids birthday parties!
Let us also not breeze past the fact that high fructose corn syrup is the sugary syrup that makes this medicine palatable to our ignorant children. HFCS is made from genetically modified corn, which is developed in a lab to withstand gobs of Roundup being sprayed all over it. You see, this makes corn cheap and faster to grow.
HFCS is highly processed, and the consumption of it leads to the development of diabetes, high blood sugar, and heart disease. (1, 2)
It is also one of the main factors contributing to the obesity epidemic in the world.
I can go on with these ingredients and their dangers but you get the picture. Even if the remainder of the ingredients were sunshine and fairy dust I still don’t think I would be comfortable putting these substances in my kid.
Do not live in fear mama, there is plenty we can do for pain!
I am not claiming to be some kind of crunchy mama saint who was always the wiser to this information. I am on a personal journey to learn about better health practices.
I also do NOT want this post to come across like I am a better mom because I realized that Tylenol may not be the best choice. I have in fact given my son Tylenol before I was aware of the potential for ill effects.
We are all trying to do the best we can as moms. My purpose is not to induce fear but to share the success I have had treating my family naturally. I hope I can help you do this as well.
Since I started practicing alternative medicine, I have not had to use Tylenol at home. In fact, I don’t even keep it stocked anymore.
I am so excited to share these strategies with you and hope you will find them as powerful as we have!
Alternative Medicine for Pain
As a disclaimer to the following suggestions, if you are a mom who wants to learn how to ease their family’s pain naturally, will need to have grit.
You will need to have courage and trust your instincts as you learn about natural remedies and the art of helping the body heal from within.
There will be times where you will wonder, “Am I doing the right thing or picking the right remedy?” It will be the most agonizing waiting game of your life.
I just recently went through this as my son went through his second round of teething. He was screaming and I was SO close to reaching for that bottle of Tylenol. He finally calmed down after a Chamomile bath.
If you are just starting out on this journey you won’t know what you are doing. I sure didn’t at first. But with time and practice, you will become a healing machine and your mothering touch will not only ease pain but you will be less likely to deal with sickness in the first place!
Here are some tips for treating pain at home:
- Reduce noise levels: When you are in pain extra noises can cause even more distress. On a sick day with your children instead of watch TV try doing quiet activities like reading to them softly or allowing them to help you with simple things. Being outside in the sunshine helps a lot.
- Reduce stress level: high amounts of cortisol hormone are associated with many negative symptoms such as poor sleeping, anxiety, aches, pains, and high blood pressure. Recognize the stressors for yourself or your child and devise a plan to reduce them. Sometimes this is simply just slowing down and simplifying your daily schedule. You do not have to be involved in everything.
- Get adequate sleep: Sleep is ridiculously healing to our bodies. If it is possible to take a nap, there is a great chance you or your child will wake up with less pain. Keeping kids up late and constantly on the move may slow down the healing process. Prevent illness by getting restful sleep 90% of the time. This will strengthen the immune system.
- Massage: this helps to mobilize toxins trapped in muscles, relaxes the body and the mind. Follow with drinking plenty of fluids to aid the kidneys in eliminating toxins.
- Drink more fluids: one of the main reasons for headaches is dehydration. The blood is the essence of transportation in the body. Make sure your blood has enough fluid to carry everything it needs to the detoxifying organs, the kidneys and the liver.
- Epsom salt bath: magnesium deficiency is a common cause of headaches and this bath will allow magnesium to absorb through the skin. To be honestly both you and your child are likely magnesium deficient because it is easily removed by the kidneys. Take an espom salt bath with your children when they are in pain. The hot water causes your blood vessels to widen which reduces blood pressure. which can contribute to headaches.
- Cold wash cloth with Lavender essential oil: place a cold washcloth with one drop of lavender essential oil on your forehead to provide a calming effect on the mind.
- Eat Turmeric: a powerful anti-inflammatory, and helps the body in eliminating toxins. I highly recommend using organic turmeric spice whenever you can in cooking. We put it in scrambled eggs, mix it in baby food, and buy empty gelatin capsules to fill it up.
- Homeopathy: Homeopathy is coined as “alternative medicine” in my country. Most doctors would call it quackery. I cry silently to myself when I work in the hospital and see people return with more and more comorbidities and chronic disease. I have personally experienced the healing power of homeopathy in my own body when I had an excruciating headache. I found out later that I just needed to get glasses but I was able to ease my pain with homeopathy. This form of medicine would take more than a portion of a blog post to explain but I can sum it up by saying it involves using extreme dilution of natural substances to catalyze the body to heal. Homeopathy has helped my family through some serious hard times. It works for headaches and is safe for pregnancy! It is also great for teething pain! Find a family guide to homeopathy here so you can learn how to treat your pain naturally. Homeopathy is symptom specific, so you really need a manual to know exactly which remedy to use.
Want some more suggestions? See what other inspiring natural mommy health experts have to say:
Heather from Mommypotamus has 7 awesome natural remedies to reduce fevers.
Emily from Holistic Squid goes into more detail about the trouble with Tylenol for fevers.
We owe it to our children
Millennial Mothers have an advantage over all other mothering generations. We are in the Information Age. The internet has provided access to free knowledge and the family doctor is no longer the only resource for the best information regarding our child’s health and wellbeing.
We owe it to our children to consider other measures before jumping straight to pharmaceuticals.
We owe it to our children to not poison them with chemicals we do not truly understand just because doctors say it is safe.
It does take time and courage to know how to help your child when they are sick. But aren’t they worth the little bit of extra work it takes to find good information?
Related: A sick body starts with an unhealthy gut. Learn how to naturally heal your gut here.
Thank you for this information. What about a natural way to reduce a fever during the third trimester? I’d like to avoid Tylenol at all costs.
Oh my. I never knew Tylenol could cause autism. that was my go to for my baby’s common colds always. But as of today I will not be buying it anymore. Thank you so much for this great info.
You are welcome! I feel really passionate about educating people on ways they can still meet the needs of their family, but also cause the least amount of damage. One thing to keep in mind with all of this is when it comes to drugs like Tylenol and other chemicals, it is the cumulative effect that is causing such devastating results. The more we delplete the levels of glutathione in our body, the more at risk we are of having neurologic damage. If you find yourself in a situation where none of these natural remedies are helping, you may be tempted to use Tylenol. If you choose to do so there are ways to increase the glutathione levels in the body, thus lessoning the damage of Tylenol.
Hi there, what a great and in my opinion VERY important post you have written here.
Never hear of the dangers of Tylenol for children or pregnant women, though I had heard of Aspirin being not so good.
Personally, after 3 children, I had instinctively gone for the natural therapy, such as using Lavender to relieve stress, massaging my children and using other natural remedies to aid them (Chamomile tea for gastro) …crystal healing, Reiki and many more techniques helped me throughout their babyhood.
Yes, your generation has access to A LOT more information than I and many others, thanks to the wonders of Google – use it well….and raise them healthy and well! good luck and thanks for the info!
Cheers – Orion
I have used Chamomile for my son as well and have found it to be very helpful. Their bodies are so small that something as simple as tea has a great impact on their symptoms. It is wonderful to hear that other parents are interested in using natural ways of healing. As an ICU nurse, I see the side of using so many medications to suppress symptoms and how harmful it can be. It has now led me down this path to find natural healing for my family for common family ailments such as colds and flu. I am not saying I do not believe in the power of western medicine. I am a registered nurse and practice it daily. However I truly believe we can create stronger immunity in our generations by only using these advanced western practices when absolutely necessary such as in the cases of car accidents, cancer, etc. Our bodies were designed to heal themselves so we cannot be scared to find alternative methods to combat normal uncomfortable symptoms.
Thank you for your explanation on why Tylenol can be toxic, and for all the great natural ways to relieve pain. I have already determined to try the cold washcloth with lavender essential oil the next time I get a headache. I am allergic to ibuprofen, and I am prone to stomach ulcers so I cannot take naproxen or even aspirin. This leaves acetaminophen as my only option. After doing a little research, I discovered that it was a good idea to protect my liver by taking the supplement N-Acetyl-Cysteine whenever I have to use Tylenol, as it is a precursor to glutathione, and is used in hospitals to treat Tylenol poisoning. Do you know of any other supplements that might offset the harmful efffects of Tylenol?
N-Acetyl-Cysteine is called Mucomyst in the hospital and I have actually given it to a patient before that was experiencing Tylenol overdose. A deficiency of glutathione is also linked to many types of cancers so its really great for anyone to boost their levels of this vital peptide. There are actually a lot of other ways to increase the amount of glutathione in the body. Milk thistle supplements help restore levels especially when there is alcohol consumption involved. Also make sure you get plenty of vitamins including B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and biotin. All of these increase levels of glutathione in the body. Also eat sulphur containing foods such as cabbage, arugula, broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts.
Thanks for all these great suggestions!
Wow I never knew Tylenol could have a side affect of autism. Luckily I almost never have headaches so I don’t take much Tylenol at all. When I do take something, I usually take advil. Is that just as bad as Tylenol?
But I like the lavender oil on a cloth on your forehead. I’ll hafta tell my sister about that because she has a lot of headaches and Tylenol or advil doesn’t really work anymore.
The main ingredient in Advil is ibuprofen which can cause bleeding stomach ulcers and is the use is linked to celiac disease. It is definitely less toxin than Tylenol but be aware of how it tears up your gut. I would advise only taking when absolutely necessary and on a full stomach. Never take any medication on an empty stomach honestly. We need to protect our gut as it is our second brain and plays a huge role in immunity.