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"Ibuprofen Appears To Mess With Male Hormones. Should You Be Worried?" - Ariana Eunjung Cha

  • The Washington Post
  • New York, NY
  • (January 10, 2018)

In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that a concentrated dose of the over-the-counter painkiller taken by young, healthy men appears to be linked to a testicular condition that typically only appears at middle age and has been linked to infertility. Studies about environmental factors that may impact male fertility have become more urgent with growing evidence that sperm quality is falling globally. In July 2017, in a large analysis published by the American Society of Andrology, researchers looking at data from 42,000 men between 1973 and 2011 confirmed that there appears to have been a 52.4 percent drop in sperm concentration in those 40 years.

The current study focuses on a different measure of the male reproduction system — testosterone production rather than semen analysis. Shanna Swan, PhD, professor of environmental medicine and public health, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and co-author of the 2017 male sperm study, said that the team that worked on the ibuprofen study is known for its pioneering work on the effect of analgesics, until now focused largely on acetaminophen, on reproductive function. Dr. Swan explained that “a large body of evidence points to the role of prenatal exposure to environmental factors that alter the in utero hormonal milieu, causing decreased male reproductive health that persists throughout life.” However, she said, “this would not likely be an issue for ibuprofen” because it’s not typically recommended for use during pregnancy.”

- Shanna Swan, PhD, Professor, Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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