New research shows taking Ibuprofen at high doses could lower fertility in men
The lowered fertility was noticed among some 31 men aged under 35 who take in a study that required them to take the maximum daily dose of Ibuprofen—1200mg or six tablets of 200mg each—for six weeks while others took a replacement.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Within two weeks, the men developed hypogonadism, a sexual hormone dysfunction that meant their bodies produced less testosterone (the male sex hormone).
The level of the trouble hormone was dependent on the level of ibuprofen in their blood.
And these hormones are key to fertility, suggesting prolonged use of the drug could lead to erectile dysfunction, muscle loss and depression - leading to a diminished sex drive.
The level of another hormone, which stimulates testosterone production, increased as the men took the drug, but overall production of testosterone did not increase.
Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counter drug, right up there with other painkillers as paracetamol and aspirin. Men who work in high-energy jobs pop Ibuprofen as a routine.
Researchers don’t believe any side effects are in store for men who the drug for occasional headaches.
The problem is in men who use it for long-term pain management. Full blown hypogonadism impairs a man’s ability to produce sperm.
And the ages up to 35 is crucial. One in every four couples of reproductive age in developing countries experience childlessness despite five years of attempting pregnancy, according to the World Health Organisation.
In 2010, 45 million couples were infertile, according to one study. A separate study suggest men are solely responsible for up to 30% of all cases of childlessness. Overall, they contribute to half of all cases.
Other analyses in the journal, Human Reproduction Update, found sperm counts of men in developed world are plummeting. Forty years until 2011, sperm concentration has declined 52% and sperm count has dropped 59%.