Study: Ibuprofen Affects Male Fertility

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Ibuprofen Affects Male Fertility

Infertility is a widespread problem which occurs when a couple cannot conceive after one year of having sexual intercourse without using contraception. Male infertility occurs[1] when, after both spouses were tested, reproductive problems that prevent pregnancy are found in men.

About one-third of infertility cases are caused by male reproductive issues, but in more than 50% cases the cause of male infertility[2] is unknown. Various factors can affect a man’s fertility. The most recent study found that ibuprofen is linked to this growing problem.

Ibuprofen And Male Fertility

Fertility problems affecting both men and women are on the rise and although causes aren’t always clear, they can be connected to one’s lifestyle too. For many years it was theorized that male reproductive disorders in the Western world were strongly related to the disruption of male endocrinology.

Previous research has demonstrated that exposure to mild analgesics during fetal life is linked to anti-androgenic effects and congenital malformations, but their impact on adult men remained unknown.

A group of scientists led by David Kristensen at the Copenhagen University Hospital from Denmark carried out a study whose primary objective was to determine whether analgesics have a negative effect on adult men and their reproductive health.

The combined team of French and Danish scientists recruited 31 healthy male volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35. Of these, 14 men received a daily dosage of ibuprofen (600mg twice a day), while the remaining 17 participants were given a placebo.

Both groups of men submitted blood tests and hormonal analysis throughout the course of the study. After 14 days of ibuprofen use, scientists observed higher blood levels of a luteinizing hormone which regulates testosterone production (and other hormones).

About 44 days later, levels of this hormone were even higher. Interestingly, production of testosterone didn’t increase. The result of this action was a lower ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormone, a sign of hypogonadism. Findings of the study were published[3] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

How Does Ibuprofen Affect Testicles?

Scientists made interesting findings which confirmed that intake of ibuprofen affects the reproductive function of adult men through impaired hormonal balance. They also analyzed the direct impact of ibuprofen on testicles by using samples that have been taken from organ donors.

How Does Ibuprofen Affect Testicles

When samples were exposed to ibuprofen at levels that were similar to dosages that are taken orally, testicles produced a lower amount of testosterone after only 24 hours. Scientists discovered that the higher the dosage and longer the level of exposure, the more severe the impact of ibuprofen on testicles function. In addition, ibuprofen impaired gene expression that was linked to converting cholesterol in steroidal hormones.

Although the study confirmed[4] the link between ibuprofen use and impaired male fertility, it is not known whether the effects are reversible. This calls for more studies to check whether discontinuing use of ibuprofen could undo the damage to hormone levels and male fertility.

Tips To Improve Fertility

  • Exercise regularly and increase activity levels by trying to move more e.g. take frequent walks, use stairs instead of elevators, etc.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Decrease or avoid alcohol consumption
  • Quit smoking
  • Have sex frequently, don’t treat it as a “job”
  • Consume more antioxidant-rich foods
  • Keep weight in a healthy range


Previous research found that exposure to mild analgesics is linked to anti-androgenic effects in fetal life, but it wasn’t clear whether their intake could negatively affect adult men’s reproductive function. The latest study found that intake of ibuprofen contributes to male infertility. Consult your doctor about this subject if you’re trying to have a baby with your significant other.

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Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed ()

This Article Has Been Published on January 12, 2018 and Last Modified on December 11, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain Shams University. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

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