Studies have found that the well-known pain reliever ibuprofen alters male hormone production. According to the researchers, this could lead to adverse effects on men’s fertility.
What is Ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen is a popular analgesic used to relieve inflammation, fever and pain of all kinds. It belongs to the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs inhibit an enzyme responsible for the formation of prostaglandins, which cause inflammation and can amplify pain and fever.
Negative Impact on Male Fertility
Fertility problems are increasing in the Western world. Sperm quality in particular is deteriorating more and more. Various substances in the environment as well as an unhealthy lifestyle can adversely affect the male hormone system. In addition, medications such as pain relievers can have an impact on male fertility. Earlier research has shown that analgesics can negatively affect the development of male fetuses.
Pain Relievers Disrupt Testosterone Production
However, scientists from the University of Copenhagen wanted to find out if medications such as ibuprofen could also disrupt the hormone levels of adult men.
The researchers studied 31 men aged 18 to 35 years. Half of the participants were given 600 milligrams of ibuprofen twice a day for six weeks, while the other half served as the control group and received a placebo that had no effect. To assess the subjects’ hormone levels, blood samples were taken throughout the six-week study period.
The result of the study, published in the journal PNAS, shows: In those participants who received ibuprofen, a negative effect on the ratio of luteinizing hormone (LH), which regulates hormone production in the testes, and testosterone was observed. This is a form of so-called hypogonadism (a phenomenon more likely to affect older men and smokers), which is associated with reproductive problems and a variety of physical disorders. The researchers concluded that there may be a link between ibuprofen use and reduced fertility since the drug alters hormone production in the male gonads, potentially resulting in adverse effects on men’s reproductive health.
Prolonged Use Dangerous
According to the researchers, occasional use of ibuprofen is safe since it only results in temporary changes. However, the researchers warn of the effects that can be observed in men after long-term use of the drug in high doses. Among other health problems, prolonged use can lead to a permanently low testosterone level. The researchers advise using caution when taking the analgesic to avoid negative effects on the male reproductive system.