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Ibuprofen Side Effects May Impact Male Infertility, Study Finds

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Men who commonly take Advil, Motrin or other ibuprofen-based medications to soothe their aches and pains may face a higher risk of infertility, according to the findings new research. 

In a study published recently in the medical journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, researchers indicate that daily doses of ibuprofen among men increase the risk of a medical condition known as hypogonadism, which is associated with infertility and physical health disorders.

Advil, Motrin and similar painkillers are commonly used by young men, especially athletes dealing with pain and sore muscles. However, the study raises concerns about the potential long-term impact on reproduction.

Roughly one in every four couples trying to get pregnant experience infertility, according to estimates released by the World Health Organization. Past studies have shown taking mild analgesics, such as Motrin and Advil, during pregnancy is associated with anti-androgenic effects in males and congenital malformations.

In this latest Danish study, researchers studied 31 men between the ages of 18 and 35. Fourteen participants were given a daily dose of 600 milligrams of ibuprofen twice a day. This is a dose commonly used by athletes. Seventeen of the men were given placebos.

Advil and Motrin, or generically ibuprofen, are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are commonly recommended for pain, inflammation, fever, and aches.

During this study, the men who took ibuprofen developed a condition known as hypogonadism. This is common among elderly men and causes reduced fertility. Researchers concluded NSAIDs, like Advil, disrupted the male hormones.

Additionally, they discovered within 14 days of taking ibuprofen, their luteinizing hormones became coordinated with the level of Advil circulating in their blood.

Luteinizing hormones are secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulates the testicles to produce testosterone. The testosterone to luteinizing hormone ratio decreased, which indicates dysfunctional testes.

Researchers determined that ibuprofen in Advil, Motrin and other popular drugs alters the endocrine system through a process called selective transcriptional repression in human testes, which causes hypogonadism and is also linked to depression, risk of cardiovascular events, heart failure, and stroke.

For those that used ibuprofen for only a short time, like the 14 days noted in the study, the effects were reversible. However, the researchers are not certain if men who have taken Advil or Motrin over long periods of time may be able to reverse the effects.

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