Sorry men, scientists say ibuprofen may be bad for your testicles

Francis Osborne
January 10, 2018

The scientist tested aspirin, Tylenol and ibuprofen.

The study included 31 men, ages 18-35.

The study shows that it has a negative impact on the testicles of young men, altering their sex hormone production and affecting their reproductive health. "The decrease in the free testosterone/LH ratio resulted primarily from the increased LH levels, revealing that testicular responsiveness to gonadotropins likely declined during the ibuprofen exposure", the authors write.

The men who took ibuprofen during that time had a condition called compensated hypogonadism, which can lead to fertility issues and erectile dysfunction, according to the study. The condition arises when the body has to boost levels of testosterone because normal production in the testes has fallen. "Ibuprofen puts a severe damper on testosterone production, so the brain has to kick in", said David Møbjerg Kristensen, a senior researcher at the Copenhagen's main hospital, Rigshospitalet.

Male infertility has been called a crisis, and a new report that a common, over-the-counter medication could spur the problem adds to the alarm.

Ibuprofen is a very common over-the-counter pain reliever that we've probably all taken at some point. The experimental group received ibuprofen twice a day for a total of six weeks and was tested for hormone levels at two and six weeks. That number rose to a 23 percent decrease after 44 days.

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'Concern has been raised over increased male reproductive disorders in the Western world and the disruption of male hormones has been suggested to play a central role.

The researchers also pointed out the risk of those with compensated hypogonadism progressing to overt primary hypogonadism, which is characterized by "low circulating testosterone and prevalent symptoms including reduced libido, reduced muscle mass and strength, and depressed mood and fatigue".

The findings are certainly significant, as the 1,200mg of ibuprofen given to the participants each day is far below the suggested daily maximum of 3,200mg per day.

"The study shows that ibuprofen use results in selective transcriptional repression of endocrine cells in the human testis", the significance on the PNAS site reads.

If you are concerned about your levels of testosterone and your ibuprofen use, though, it's worth chatting to your GP so you can get checked out and find a way to deal with chronic aches and pains in a healthy way.

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