by Charmaine Dennis, FGHG Naturopath and Director
New research is suggesting that Ibuprofen (the pain-relieving NSAIDs sold as Neurofen, Advil, Motrin etc) may negatively affect testicular health and fertility.
When researchers realised the impact on pregnant women (including more than double risk of miscarriage) and the testicles and heart of her male offspring (to be avoided in pregnancy!), they were interested to see if there were implications for men taking it regularly too.
In this new study of 31 men, 14 were given the recommended dose of ibuprofen (600mg 2 x day) for 14 days and 17 given placebo. The men in the study group showed an imbalance of hormones producing a compensated hypogonadism, a condition normally seen in elderly men and associated with impaired fertility, depression and increased risk for cardiovascular events, including heart failure and stroke.
While researchers thought it likely reversible with short-term use, they said they fear effects on the testicals could be permanent for long-term users. Given the trends for unmonitored use of ibuprofen amongst weekend warriors and high performance athletes, this needs research needs careful attention.
As spermatogenesis turns over sperm every 70 days, it seems senisble to consider likley negative impact if men are taking it in the 3 months prior to conceiving too. This is the preconception health care period where our naturopaths and acupuncturists help to support optimal health and investigate all likely contributing factors to fertility.
If you need other ways of finding anti-inflammatory pain relief, come and talk to us. Across our modalities on offer, there is much we can do to get you back on a path to pain-free wellness and optimal fertility too.
It is also important to note, there is evidence that other medications are also harmful to the male reproductive system and fertility, including testosterone, opioids, antidepressants, antipsychotics, immune modulators and even the over-the-counter antacid cimetidine. My rule of thumb is – if a medication or any substance is known to be problematic for pregnant women and their developing babies (especially teratogenic substances) it is important to consider if it is a factor in the health of developing sperm too. It can take time for research on medication to catch up to these things and common sense is required at times.
There is no doubt that medication is of course absolutly necessary in some cases – and sometimes other approaches are worth considering too. Let us know if you are wondering if we can help with any of your health concerns. We probably can! And we will always be in contact with your doctor when needed for your best health and fertility outcomes.
Charmaine Dennis (FGHG director and Naturopath)
Charmaine Dennis is a naturopath, fertility and health expert, mentor, writer, mother, and businesswoman. She is the founding director of Fertile Ground Health Group, co-creator of the Be Fertile relaxation CD series and co-author of The Breakfast Project, among other health inspired projects. Her greatest gift and inspiration is making health, wellbeing, and passionate living accessible, inspiring and achievable for everyone. Charmaine’s naturopathic career has followed a special interest in working with couples with infertility requiring IVF support since 1999. She has assisted many in realising their dreams to conceive healthy, beautiful babies in collaboration with GPs and fertility specialists, acupuncturists and other health modalities.