Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Ibuprofen may temporarily reduce male fertility

Ibuprofen may temporarily reduce male fertility

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation. Health professionals may recommend longer-term use.

Aspirin, the best-selling NSAID on the US market, was initially linked to stomach problems but was thought to be otherwise safe. Some of the most popular brand names of it include Advil and Motrin, which are over-the-counter products, CNN reports.

While the study sample was a relatively small one, the researchers noted that its findings have been independently confirmed from isolated cells, and earlier studies had suggested potential issues with men's sexual health and the drug.

Scientists discovered that long-term use of ibuprofen - the most common painkiller worldwide - reduces testosterone tissue levels in young healthy men, affecting fertility, erections, muscle mass, libido, and mood. The other half took a dummy (placebo) tablet.

Compensated hypogonadism is typically found in elderly men and has been associated with reproductive and physical disorders, according to the researchers. This is more common in older men than younger ones. This is because the pituitary gland at the base of the brain had ramped up levels of another hormone that drives the production of extra testosterone.

It occurs when men have normal levels of testosterone but higher levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) - a chemical that stimulates the production of testosterone.

He said investigating ibuprofen-induced compensatory hypogonadism is crucial as the disorder is "generally associated with smoking and ageing".

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The study of 31 male participants found the administration of ibuprofen reduced production of testosterone by almost a quarter in about six weeks - resulting in compensated hypogonadism.

"However, this is now speculative".

"Our immediate concern is for the fertility of men who use these drugs for a long time", said David Møbjerg Kristensen at the University of Copenhagen.

When the researchers measured the testosterone/luteinizing hormone (LH) ratio in the participants, they found that the ibuprofen group experienced an 18 percent ratio decrease after 14 days.

Kevin McEleny, PhD, from the British Fertility Society says: "This was a short-term study and the effects seen on testicular health may be reversible". According to a recent study, however, regular consumption of the drug could lead to several side-effects, including male sterility.

But given how athletes routinely use the medication to help with recurring sports injuries, experts say this is something we definitely need to stay aware of - because despite how some might abuse it, ibuprofen isn't something that was ever meant to be taken casually.

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