Now, before you panic, there's no suggestion yet that occasionally relying on an ibuprofen will make your balls shrivel up and die.
The disorder normally occurs when the testes do not produce enough testosterone, so the body boosts production levels of the hormone.
The disorder called "compensated hypogonadism" developed in the study participants within two weeks of having 600mg of ibuprofen twice a day. Inhibition of testosterone levels was found to be significant and dose-dependent after 24 and 48 hours of ibuprofen exposure (in doses which corresponded to the oral doses used in the trial). Tests showed their testosterone levels hadn't changed, although the testes weren't producing adequate levels.
For many, including myself, ibuprofen is a go-to painkiller.
While reducing pain signals in the brain, ibuprofen also lowers the male sex hormone testosterone.
Overuse of ibuprofen could lead to full-blown hypogonadism, which refers to low levels of testosterone and diminished functionality of the testicles.
So researchers wanted to look into what happened in adult males who took ibuprofen, which had the strongest results in the earlier study.
According to Erma Z. Drobnis, an associate professional practice professor of reproductive medicine and fertility at the University of Missouri, Columbia, there is evidence that other drugs like opioids and antidepressants can cause male infertility. But the authors have done a thorough job of following up on their results. Gene expression associated with turning cholesterol into steroidal hormones was also impaired, they found. A similar study in 2016 also found that the common painkiller could exacerbate heart failure. One thing that seems unscathed was the production of sperm, as genes involved in that process appeared unaffected within the time frame examined by the researchers.
Again, it's important to emphasize this was a really small study that required two weeks of constant ibuprofen use before there was any indication that something was out of the ordinary. And the problem is not likely to be ibuprofen-specific, as most NSAIDs work through similar mechanisms.
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