Share this Story

Is There a Link Between Ibuprofen & Male Infertility?

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

What you need to know about the study linking ibuprofen & infertility

When taken in high doses, ibuprofen may impact male fertility according to a new study. Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research found that when young men take the dosage of ibuprofen regularly prescribed to athletes — 600 milligrams, twice a day — it can disrupt the production of testosterone, the primary male sex hormone.

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and is taken by athletes both to prevent and treat pain. In this study, 14 of 31 participants were given the daily 1,200-milligram dose of the over-the-counter drug, and after two weeks, they showed signs of dysfunctional testicles, which could ultimately lead to infertility.

More: My Male Partner Won't Agree to a Sperm Analysis — Now What?

But before you clear your medicine cabinet of Advil and Motrin, here are a few things to consider:

1. The sample size was very, very small

With a total of 31 participants, this is by no means a large-scale study. Are the findings interesting and a good starting point for further research? Absolutely. But more work is definitely needed in this area to come to any really robust conclusions.

2. The dosage in the study was very high

When you reach for the ibuprofen because you have a headache and pop two pills, that's a total of 400 milligrams. Sure, there are days when you may have terrible cramps or an injury when you need to take three of the 400-milligram doses, but ideally, it's not something you have to do on a regular basis. If that is the case, it's a good idea to see your doctor about the cause of the pain and come up with a better pain-management solution.

MoreTrying to Conceive? The Important Test Your Gynecologist Isn't Telling You About

3. The effects may be reversible

According to Dr. Bernard Jégou, coauthor of the study and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France, it is highly likely the effects of taking ibuprofen will be reversible for the 14 men in the study who experienced hormone disruptions. Speaking to CNN, he said at this point, it is not known whether the effects from long-term use of ibuprofen are reversible and more research needs to happen in this area.

Like most scientific studies that receive immediate media hype, take this one with a grain of salt. It's probably not a great idea for anyone to take the maximum permitted dose of any OTC medication on a very regular basis, and pay attention to your body and the potential sources of chronic or acute pain.

Comments
Follow Us

SheKnows Media ‐ Beauty and Style

Hot
New in Health & Wellness
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!

b h e a r d !

Welcome to the new SheKnows Community,

where you can share your stories, ideas

and CONNECT with millions of women.

Get Started