Researchers in Denmark and France have found that ibuprofen can trigger a condition called "compensated hypogonadism" that is otherwise observed in men with reproductive disorders. Under the condition, which is normally seen in smokers and older men, the body needs to boost testosterone production because normal production inside the testes has declined.
The researchers found that prolonged ibuprofen use suppressed "important aspects of testicular function, including testosterone production".
The study involved 31 men (ages 18 to 35) who were randomly assigned to take ibuprofen (two doses of 600 mg each) or a placebo every day for six weeks. The ratio of these hormones to testosterone dropped, causing compensated hypogonadism. It didn't take long - just two weeks - for the drug to disrupt the hormonal balance and rate of testosterone production of these men.
Before now, he says, "most warnings regarding this family of painkillers have focused on limiting long-term use in the elderly to prevent gastrointestinal, renal and cardiac adverse effects". Of course, there is a bright side to this new finding, and that is to limit your intake of ibuprofen.
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But long-distance runners and athletes who regularly take ibuprofen during training or sports matches in order to ward off inflammation may want to keep an eye on the research. The highlighted cardiac and hormonal disruption risks point toward the need to be cautious with such medications, and anyone who is concerned should talk to their doctor about it before taking the medication. "The risk is greater than the benefit". "These compounds are good painkillers, but a certain amount of people in society use them without thinking of them as proper medicines".
The new study is a continuation of research that first began with pregnant women, Jégou toldCNN, in which the researchers examined the health effects when a mother-to-be took one of three mild pain relievers found in medicine chests around the globe: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen.
'Therefore it is also of concern that men with compensated hypogonadism may eventually progress to overt primary hypogonadism, which is characterised by low circulating testosterone and prevalent symptoms including reduced libido, reduced muscle mass and strength, and depressed mood and fatigue'.
As it relieves pain, ibuprofen may also diminish male fertility, according to a small but compelling new study.
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