The link between common pain relievers and fertility

Last summer, the Journal of Human Reproduction Update published an article indicating that total sperm count among men in Western countries, including North America, has plummeted 59% over a nearly 40-year span.

A new study aimed at better understanding this concerning trend of declining reproductive health in men, led the researchers in Denmark and France to study 31 adult males under the age of 35. Some men took 1,200 milligrams of ibuprofen daily, the maximum limit as often directed, over a six-week period, while other men received the placebo. Recently, the findings from the study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and were also recently reported in the USA Today. The study concluded that heavy use of ibuprofen pain medicine “alters human testicular physiology” and results in a disorder called compensated hypogonadism.

Additionally, new research involving young women has shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) inhibit ovulation and reduce progesterone levels, which could seriously undermine fertility.

The good news is that the disorder remains totally reversible when the NSAIDs are taken over a brief window of time, Bernard Jegou, co-author at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, told CNN. What remains unknown, and will require more research, is whether the effects of taking NSAIDs over a longer period of time can be reversed, Jegou told the network.

Here is what we know so far about ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. According to Science Daily, since 2005, more than 30 million people take NSAIDs daily for pain relief, headaches, and arthritis. We know that these medications are responsible for severe and potentially deadly gastrointestinal problems. We know that each year, the side effects of long-term use NSAIDs are responsible for as many as 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths. So over the course of 13 years, since the initial article was published in Science Daily, there have been 214,500 deaths and 1,339,000 hospitalizations from taking over the counter ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medications. The numbers are staggering. People are in pain, and they need help.

We believe there’s a better way of dealing with inflammation than to pop a potentially dangerous pill to ease chronic aches and pains. Inflammation can occur in response to trauma, illness, and stress. However, it can also be caused by unhealthy foods and lifestyle habits. Making sure your joints are aligned through periodic chiropractic checkups, eating anti-inflammatory foods, exercise, good sleep and stress management can help. In some cases, getting additional support from supplements may be useful as well.

  • Listen to your body, it works hard to help you do all the activities you enjoy.
  • Eat an inflammatory free diet by avoiding processed foods, and enjoying a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean proteins.
  • Incorporate anti-inflammatory products like fish oil, alpha-lipoic acid, curcumin, ginger, resveratrol.
  • Remember that NSAIDs only mask the symptoms. The important part is determining the cause of your inflammation, so that you work with your body, instead of against it.
  • At the Woolston Wellness Center, we specialize in determining the location and severity of spinal ligament injuries, which are the #1 cause of pain and disability in the world today.