Medicine

Study Links Ibuprofen With Male Infertility

Study Links Ibuprofen With Male Infertility

The disorder normally occurs when the testes do not produce enough testosterone, so the body boosts production levels of the hormone.

While it is important to note that this was a small study and more research is clearly called for, the fact that ibuprofen is so widely and casually used by so many men makes it a point of concern, particularly for those who intend to start a family.

The study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), monitored 31 healthy white men aged 18 to 35.

'In the men, luteinizing hormone (LH) and ibuprofen plasma levels were positively correlated, and the testosterone/LH ratio decreased. The first group was given a daily 600 milligrams dosage of ibuprofen; the second group was given a placebo. Until now, it has been primarily linked to adverse effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, cardiovascular disorders and kidney damage. No direct effect on fertility was shown, but the results of this initial study suggest that it warrants further investigation. Each dose was 600mg, equivalent to three over-the-counter pills. "The risk is greater than the benefit".

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If you are concerned about your levels of testosterone and your ibuprofen use, though, it's worth chatting to your GP so you can get checked out and find a way to deal with chronic aches and pains in a healthy way. So, for the time being, I would urge men who need to take ibuprofen to continue to do so. "These compounds are good painkillers, but a certain amount of people in society use them without thinking of them as proper medicines". The study shows that ibuprofen use results in selective transcriptional repression of endocrine cells in the human testis.

Bernard Jégou, a senior author on the study at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, said he saw no problem in people taking ibuprofen to alleviate pain in the short term - for toothache, for example - but warned against taking the drug for months on end if it was not strictly necessary.

The researchers also pointed out the risk of those with compensated hypogonadism progressing to overt primary hypogonadism, which is characterized by "low circulating testosterone and prevalent symptoms including reduced libido, reduced muscle mass and strength, and depressed mood and fatigue".

The study only focused on a small group of participants, so more research will be needed before the affects of ibruprofen are fully established.