A new research has claimed that regularly taking common over-the-counter painkillers like Ibuprofen may contribute to male infertility.
Ibuprofen is a drug that is often used by athletes, among other groups of people, to treat minor aches and is often used as an alternative drug by those sensitive to aspirin.
However, a study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that regular ibuprofen use may lead to compensated hypogonadism, a condition that can lead to infertility, erectile dysfunction, depression and loss of bone and muscle mass, among other symptoms.
The condition is most commonly seen in smokers and the elderly, but the new research suggests it can affect young men, too.
Also, the study, which was conducted by a group of Danish and French scientists, indicated that men who are used to over-the-counter drugs to relieve minor aches could be at a higher risk of suffering even more serious health problems.
The researchers recruited 31 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35. Fourteen of the men took two 600-milligram doses of ibuprofen per day for six weeks — an amount consistent with what many athletes take to manage aches and pains — while the remaining 17 took placebo pills.
Both groups of men submitted to blood tests and hormonal analysis throughout the study. After 14 days of ibuprofen use, the researchers observed higher blood levels of luteinizing hormone, which regulates the production of testosterone and other hormones. After 44 days, levels were even higher.
Testosterone production, however, did not increase concurrently, resulting in a lower ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormone — a sign of hypogonadism, according to the paper.
The researchers also observed other hormonal disruptions at 14 and 44 days of ibuprofen consumption, suggesting wide-ranging consequences of hypogonadism.