The Jakarta Post
The study reveals that persistent ibuprofen use may lead to compensated hypogonadism, which can lead to infertility, erectile dysfunction, depression and loss of bone and muscle mass in males, among other symptoms. (Shutterstock/File)
New research shows that the use of common over-the-counter analgesics may contribute to male infertility, a problem that approximately 7 percent of men in the United States face.
A study published earlier this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that persistent ibuprofen use may lead to compensated hypogonadism, which can lead to infertility, erectile dysfunction, depression and loss of bone and muscle mass in males, among other symptoms.
Time reported that, of the 31 male volunteers in the study, 14 took two 600 milligram doses of ibuprofen daily for six weeks — an amount many athletes take to ease aches and pains — while others were given placebos.
Both groups of men were subjected to blood tests and hormonal analysis throughout the course of the study. Two weeks of ibuprofen use led to higher blood levels of luteinising hormone (LH), which regulates androgen production. After 44 days, LH levels soared even higher. These increases were not met with increased testosterone production, resulting in a low testosterone to LH ratio, a sign of hypogonadism.
Unexpected hormonal fluctuations were also observed, portending wide-ranging consequences of hypogonadism.
Researchers subsequently tested the effect of ibuprofen on testicular functionality using samples taken from organ donors. When exposed to similar amounts of ibuprofen, the samples produced less testosterone after only 24 hours. The researchers found a positive correlation between the level of exposure and the negative side effect. Their work also revealed that gene expression associated with converting cholesterol to steroidal hormones was impaired.
An earlier manuscript by the study’s lead author revealed that boys born to consumers of ibuprofen during the first trimester of pregnancy may have impaired testicular development, further suggesting that ibuprofen adversely impacts male fertility. (afr/kes)