When a couple is trying to conceive, the focus is often on the female partner. Many women will learn to track their periods, check for ovulation, and identify their fertile window. The male side of the equation should not be overlooked, however, including how ibuprofen use may have a negative impact on male fertility.
For men, there is a wide range of lifestyle factors and medications that can impact their fertility. Smoking (either tobacco or marijuana) has been shown to adversely affect semen parameters. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can also impair a man’s fertility. Additionally, there is a LONG list of medications that can negatively influence sperm production and function. This list includes: high blood pressure medications, diuretics, some anti-inflammatory drugs, psychiatric drugs, corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, antacids, anticonvulsants, chemotherapy drugs, and immunosuppressants, to name a few.
There is data to suggest that ibuprofen use in pregnancy can have a negative effect on the testicular development of male fetuses. A recent study suggests that ibuprofen use in grown men may also negatively impact their testosterone production and testicular function. A small randomized trial was performed with men between the ages of 18 and 35. Men were randomized to two weeks of either daily ibuprofen or placebo pills. The men in the ibuprofen group exhibited hormonal shifts consistent with a condition called “compensated hypogonadism” which is associated with testicular dysfunction and male infertility.
Larger trials are needed to better understand the impact of ibuprofen (as well as many other over-the-counter medications) on male and female fertility. In the meantime, patients who are trying to conceive should be cautious in their use of over-the-counter medications. If you have any questions about your or your partner’s fertility, please contact us today!