Is ibuprofen causing male infertility?


A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States seems to indicate that taking ibuprofen will lower the amount of testosterone a man produces. That might be true, but then people have taken it one step farther to say that the decrease in testosterone leads to infertility.

Dr. Lisa Hansard of Texas Fertility Center says making that assumption “is a big stretch.” What the study needed to look at to determine fertility levels is sperm count.

What the ibuprofen did is lower the luteinizing hormone level in these men. LH sparks testosterone production, but often when one level is low, the body will compensate by raising another hormone level, Hansard says.

“It’s really reaching,” she says. “The vast majority of men who have fertility issues don’t take ibuprofen and the vast majority of men that take ibuprofen don’t have fertility issues.”

Too much testosterone can be a bad thing. Often men will come to Hansard with infertility issues thinking that if they take supplements to boost their testosterone levels, that will solve the problem. In fact, some of those supplements might be causing the problem.

Male factor infertility — that’s infertility that is related to sperm — is the most common cause of infertility in couples, making up about 20 to 25 percent of infertility problems. Other causes can be structural issues in women, endometriosis, female hormone issues or unexplained causes.

Most studies have focused on female infertility. More needs to be done to understand male infertility, Hansard says.

When a couple comes to her, she looks at both people if the cause isn’t already known. If it is male factor infertility, then it’s about working with the sperm he does have by doing things like artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.

This isn’t the first time that ibuprofen and reproduction has been called into question. A study in rats showed that ibuprofen use in moms may have caused their male babies to not have testicles that descended. That study, though, hasn’t been replicated in humans.

“It’s really premature to try to connect those dots,” Hansard says.

What we do know about ibuprofen and fetuses is that it can cause a part of the heart to close up early, causing damage or even death.

Tylenol has recently been called into question as well during pregnancy because of a possible link between it and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

Memorial Day events include Treaty Oak Rod Run, W Austin’s Soundwave
Memorial Day events include Treaty Oak Rod Run, W Austin’s Soundwave

Memorial Day events The Hell Yes Project Olympics at the ABGB. The Memorial Day party, a second annual event, will feature eight Austin nonprofits competing in field day-style activities for a $1,000 gold medal prize. The scheduled activities include a water balloon toss, speed cornhole, crowler can stacking and Simon Says. Points will be rewarded...
Head into summer with Steely Dan show, a salsa soirée and more
Head into summer with Steely Dan show, a salsa soirée and more

1. “An American in Paris” 8 p.m. May 30-June 2, 2 p.m. June 2, and 1 and 7 p.m. June 3. $30-$125. Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. texasperformingarts.org. Inspired by the Academy-Award winning film, this Tony Award-winning play is the idyllic story of an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European...
Today’s birthdays - Sunday, May 27
Today’s birthdays - Sunday, May 27

Today’s Birthdays: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Herman Wouk is 103. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is 95. Former FBI Director William Sessions is 88. Author John Barth is 88. Actress Lee Meriwether is 83. Musician Ramsey Lewis is 83. Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is 82. Rhythm and blues singer Raymond Sanders (The Persuasions) is 79....
Kick off the summer with these family events in Austin, May 27-June 2
Kick off the summer with these family events in Austin, May 27-June 2

Events RED Arena Round-Up. Family fun and inclusive rodeo play day with a petting zoo, kid games and mini horses. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Free. Dripping Springs Ranch Park, 1042 Event Center Drive, Dripping Springs. redarena.org Ask a Vet. Bring your questions to hear from Thundering Paws veterinarian Lauren Cannon. 11:30 a.m. Saturday...
Dear Abby - Sunday, May 27

Dear Abby: I have the sweetest boyfriend I’ll call “Earl.” He’s 58. I’m a widow and have been with him for two years. Earl loves me, helps me and goes out with me wherever I want to go. One problem: He flirts with other women. It can be family, neighbors, clerks, waitresses, etc. He calls them “sweetheart,&rdquo...
More Stories