A small cohort of 31 healthy young men who took 600mg of ibuprofen twice a day for six weeks developed "compensated hypogonadism" (little balls), because the ibuprofen interfered with their testosterone production and their gonads had to work overtime to compensate.
This condition, normally only seen in elderly men, has implications for fertility. Luckily, it's reversible, provided that ibuprofen use is discontinued before too long.
The study comes with the news that many athletes take ibuprofen every day.
In the latest research, scientists looked at the impact of ibuprofen on 31 healthy young men over six weeks and performed further tests on cells and pieces of human testes in the lab. Ibuprofen lowered testosterone production in the tissues, but levels of the hormone remained the same in the men. This is because the pituitary gland at the base of the brain had ramped up levels of another hormone that drives the production of extra testosterone.
"In the living body the pituitary gland kicks in to compensate for this, but the brain is pushing more to get the same amount of testosterone," Kristensen said. "If you go on and stress the pituitary gland over the long term, this state could become permanent and you develop a more serious condition." Details of the study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ibuprofen alters human testicular physiology to produce a state of compensated hypogonadism [David Møbjerg Kristensen, Christèle Desdoits-Lethimonier, Abigail L. Mackey, Marlene Danner Dalgaard, Federico De Masie, Cecilie Hurup Munkbøl, Bjarne Styrishave, Jean-Philippe Antignac, Bruno Le Bizec, Christian Platel, Anders Hay-Schmidt, Tina Kold Jensen, Laurianne Lesné, Séverine Mazaud-Guittot, Karsten Kristiansenk, Søren Brunak, Michael Kjaer, Anders Juul, and Bernard Jégou/Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]
Ibuprofen may increase risk of fertility issues in men, study suggests [Ian Sample/The Guardian]
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