A commonly used painkiller may end up yielding more pain in life for men who want to have kids.
Ibuprofen has a negative impact on the testicles of young men, a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed. When taking ibuprofen in doses commonly used by athletes (600 milligrams of ibuprofen — sold under brand names Neurofen and Advil — twice a day for six weeks), a small sample of young men developed a hormonal condition that would more typically begin during middle age, if at all. This condition is linked to reduced fertility.
The researchers surmise that long-term use of ibuprofen could have various health implications for men, given the known link between the disruption of reproductive hormones and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infertility.
This is the first time ibuprofen has been shown to have an impact on testicular health in adults; however, additional, larger trials are needed to understand the impact on fertility in the long-term.
“The effects were very mild even after six weeks of regular consumption of ibuprofen, which is longer than is usually recommended in practice, so this data should not concern men who occasionally take ibuprofen for pain relief,” says Ali Abbara, senior clinical lecturer in endocrinology at Imperial College London
“If men are known to have impaired testicular function and take ibuprofen regularly, then it would not be unreasonable to consider other painkillers until more data is available to better inform this potential risk, although we must bear in mind that many alternative painkillers may also affect the reproductive axis.”
Such alternatives include aspirin, Omega-3 fatty acids, the yellow spice turmeric, acupuncture — and depending on the kind of pain you’re suffering, there’s always “liquid therapy.”