Popular Pain Medication Ibuprofen Could Lead To Male Infertility, Study Says

Kristen Gonzales
January 10, 2018

Research on healthy young men who took the common painkiller for up to six weeks showed that the drug disrupted the production of male sex hormones and led to a condition normally seen in older men and smokers.

Scientists warn that ibuprofen could be wrecking men's fertility by making their balls shrivel up.

Bernard J├ęgou, co-author and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France, and a team of French and Danish researchers, began by exploring the health effects of pregnant women taking any of the 3 most common OTC pain relievers: acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen.

Professor Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield, cautions: "The results suggest that long-term use (several weeks) of ibuprofen can affect the production of the male hormone by the testicles".

The men who took ibuprofen during that time had a condition called compensated hypogonadism, which can lead to fertility issues and erectile dysfunction, according to the study.

The researchers found that prolonged ibuprofen use suppressed "important aspects of testicular function, including testosterone production". Some took 1,200 milligrams of ibuprofen daily, the maximum limit as directed, over a six-week period, while oOthers took a placebo. After 44 days, levels were even higher.

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Ibuprofen is one the most well-known pain medications in the West, taken by millions of people every day. Inhibition of testosterone levels was found to be significant and dose-dependent after 24 and 48 hours of ibuprofen exposure (in doses which corresponded to the oral doses used in the trial).

Now, before you panic, there's no suggestion yet that occasionally relying on an ibuprofen will make your balls shrivel up and die.

The hormonal imbalance caused compensated hypogonadism, which is a condition linked to decreased male fertility, depression, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. This amount was used to represent the dose taken by athletes to manage pain.

So researchers wanted to look into what happened in adult males who took ibuprofen, which had the strongest results in the earlier study.

Before now, he says, "most warnings regarding this family of painkillers have focused on limiting long-term use in the elderly to prevent gastrointestinal, renal and cardiac adverse effects".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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