Regular Ibuprofen Use May Contribute to Male Infertility, Study Says

From TIME - January 9, 2018

Regularly taking common over-the-counter painkillers may contribute to male infertility, a problem that affects roughly 7% of American men, according to new research.

A study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that regular ibuprofen use may lead to compensated hypogonadism, a condition that can lead to infertility, erectile dysfunction, depression and loss of bone and muscle mass, among other symptoms. The condition is most commonly seen in smokers and the elderly, but the new research suggests it can affect young men, too.

The researchers recruited 31 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35. Fourteen of the men took two 600-milligram doses of ibuprofen per day for six weeksan amount consistent with what many athletes take to manage aches and painswhile the remaining 17 took placebo pills. (Ibuprofen is the generic name for drugs including Advil and Motrin. Tylenol, meanwhile, is a brand name for a different drug, acetaminophen.)

Both groups of men submitted to blood tests and hormonal analysis throughout the study. After 14 days of ibuprofen use, the researchers observed higher blood levels of luteinizing hormone, which regulates the production of testosterone and other hormones. After 44 days, levels were even higher. Testosterone production, however, did not increase concurrently, resulting in a lower ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormonea sign of hypogonadism, according to the paper.


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