Ibuprofen could be connected to male infertility, study reports

A new study shows that men who take large amounts of ibuprofen for an extended period of time could experience health issues, including infertility.
By Joseph Scalise | Jan 10, 2018
An international team of researchers found that men who take high amounts of ibuprofen for months at a time may have a greater risk of fertility issues and general health problems than the general population, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.

To conduct theresearch, scientists analyzed a group of 18 to 35-year-old men who took thecommon painkiller over a six-week period. This revealed that the drug disruptedthe production of male sex hormones. It also led to a disorder known as "compensated hypogonadism" -- which occurs when the body needs to boost testosterone levels -- within two weeks of taking 600mg of ibuprofen twice a day.

After the initial analysis, the team then performed further tests on cells and pieces of human testes in a lab setting. This showed that ibuprofen lowered testosterone production in the tissues. However, such levels remained the same in men because the pituitary gland at the base of the brain had ramped up levels of another hormone that drives the production of extra testosterone.

Though the disorder was both mild and temporary in the study, the team believes it could be become permanent in long-term ibuprofen users. That could then lead to continuously low levels of testosterone and affect fertility.

"We normally see this condition in elderly men, so it raises an alarm," said study co-author Bernard Jgou, a researcher at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, according to Newsweek. "We are concerned about it, particularly for healthy people who don't need to take these drugs. The risk is greater than the benefit."

While scientists believe there are no harmful effects that come with taking ibuprofen to alleviate small amounts of pain, such as toothaches or headaches, taking the drug constantly can lead to larger issues. Though some people need constant medication, the team in the study is worried about healthy men taking high levels when they do not need to.

This research follows other studies that have linked ibuprofen to numerous health problems, includingheart attacks andmiscarriages. The recent findings add to that list and show more reasons people should not abuse the drug.

"Our immediateconcern is for the fertility of men who use these drugs for a long time," said lead authorDavid Mbjerg Kristensen, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen, according to The Guardian. "Thesecompounds are good painkillers, but a certain amount of people in society usethem without thinking of them as proper medicines."

This is an important study that suggests that men should be cautious about consistently using high doses of ibuprofen. Though further studies are needed to fully tests the effects of the drug, researchers believe that anyone should be careful about taking ibuprofen for extended periods of time.

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