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Ibuprofen may be linked to decreased male fertility, says study

This may be helpful information for couples trying to conceive. 

Ibuprofen may be linked to decreased male fertility, says study

A new study on the detrimental effects of ibuprofen usage on male fertility is small in its sample size, but big in scope as thousands of men use the popular pain-relievers Advil, Motrin or generic ibuprofen regularly.


According to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, men who took 1,200 mg of ipuprofren—the maximum recommended dose—on a daily basis experienced “compensated hypogonadism” within 14 days of usage. Characterized by a decreased ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormones, this poses a risk to overall fertility.

For the study, researchers tracked 31 men aged 18 to 35. Fourteen participants received the maximum ipuprophen dosage for two weeks; the remaining participants received placeboes. The researchers also observed lower testosterone levels in testicles within 24 hours of oral ibuprofen usage.

Although those who took ibuprofen experienced negative fertility side-effects from the short-term usage, the researchers were confident the effects could be reversed—but concerns remain for men who use high-doses of the pain-reliever for longer periods of time or for men who are actively trying to conceive.

“Our immediate concern is for the fertility of men who use these drugs for a long time,” says co-author David Møbjerg Kristensen from the University of Copenhagen in The Guardian. “These compounds are good painkillers, but a certain amount of people in society use them without thinking of them as proper medicines.”

With a recent analysis published in the journal Human Reproduction Update showing a “significant” decline in sperm counts among men in Western countries over a 40-year period and broader concerns about the roles men play in partners’ struggles to conceive, the new study may be a cause for hope: Men who cut back on ibuprofen usage may improve their fertility outcomes.

Still, other experts note the limitations of the small study and encourage further research. "Larger clinical trials are warranted," Erma Z. Drobnis, an associate professional practice professor of reproductive medicine and fertility at the University of Missouri, Columbia, tells CNN.

She explains most drugs are not evaluated for their effects on male fertility before marketing. "This is timely work that should raise awareness of medication effects on men and potentially their offspring," says Drobnis.

Co-author Kristensen adds to CNN that ibuprofren does “help a lot of people worldwide.” However, he says the study demonstrates the importance of taking a more critical view of common over the counter drugs.

In This Article

    An expectant mama's to-do list can feel endless… but here's the good news: A lot of those tasks are actually really exciting. Planning your baby registry is especially thrilling: You get a say in what gifts friends and family members will buy for your new addition!

    But it can also feel a bit overwhelming to make sense of all the gear on the market. That's why we suggest mentally dividing your registry into two categories: items you need to prepare for your baby's arrival and items that sure would be nice to have.

    Here at Motherly, our editors have dozens of kids and years of parenting experience among us, so we know our way around the essentials. We also know how mama-friendly the registry-building experience is with Target, especially thanks to their recently upgraded registry and introduction of Year of Benefits. Just by creating your baby registry with Target, you'll snag a kit with $120 in discounts and samples. The savings keep coming: You'll also get two 15% off coupons to buy unpurchased items from your registry for up to a year after your baby's expected arrival. Change your mind about anything? The Year of Benefits allows for returns or exchanges for a full year. And as of August 2020, those who also sign up for Target Circle when creating a baby registry will also get the retailer's Year of Exclusive Deals, which includes ongoing discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

    Here are 10 items we agree deserve a spot in the "need" category on your registry, mama.


    A crib to grow with your baby

    Delta Children Farmhouse 6-in-1 Convertible Crib

    First-time mamas are likely creating nursery spaces for the first time, and that can get expensive. Adding a quality crib to Target registry gives friends and family members the option to join forces to make a large purchase through group gifting.

    $269.99

    A safe + convenient car seat

    Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

    The list of non-negotiable baby essentials is pretty short, but it definitely includes a car seat. In fact, most hospitals will not allow you to leave after delivery until a car seat check is performed. We recommend an infant seat, which can easily snap into a base in your car.

    $99.99

    A traveling nursery station

    Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

    It's hard to beat a good playard when it comes to longevity. This item can be baby's sleeping place when they're sharing a room with you for the first months. Down the line, it can function as a roving diaper change station. And when you travel, it makes a great safe space for your little one to sleep and play.

    $99.99

    A swing for some backup help

    4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

    A dependable swing can be a real lifesaver for new parents when they need their hands free (or just a minute to themselves). Because many babies are opinionated about these things, we appreciate that the mamaRoo has multiple modes of motion and soothing sounds.

    $219.99

    An easy-to-clean high chair

    Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

    Our best registry advice? Think ahead. It really won't be long before your child is ready for those first bites of solid food, at which point you'll need a high chair. We like one that transitions to a booster seat atop an existing dining room chair.

    $99.99

    A diaper bag to share

    Eddie Bauer Backpack - Gray/Tan

    When you're a mom, you're usually toting diapers, wipes, clothing changes, bottles, snacks, toys and more. You need a great bag to stash it all, and if you're anything like us, you'll choose a backpack style for comfort and functionality. Bonus: This gender neutral option can easily be passed off to your partner.

    $64.99

    A hygienic spot for all those diaper changes

    Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad 16X31"

    We can confidently predict there will be a lot of diaper changes in your future. Do yourself a favor by registering for two comfortable, wipeable changing pads: one to keep in the nursery and another to stash elsewhere in your house.

    $29.99

    A way to keep an eye on your baby at night

    Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8

    Feeling peace of mind while your baby sleeps in another room truly is priceless.That's why we advocate for a quality video monitor that will allow you to keep tabs on your snoozing sweetheart.

    $165.99

    A comfortable carrier to free up your hands

    Petunia Pickle Bottom for Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, Strolling in Salvador

    A wrap carrier may be about as low-tech as baby items come, but trust us, this product stands the test of time. Great for use around the house or while running errands, this is one item you'll appreciate so much.

    $39.99

    A full set of bottles + cleaning supplies

    Dr. Brown's Options+ Complete Baby Bottle Gift Set

    Whether you plan to work in an office or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, bottles are a valuable tool. To make your life as simple as possible, it's nice to have an easy-to-clean set that is designed to work through the first year.

    $39.99

    Target's baby registry is easy to create from the comfort of your own home. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with the Year of Benefits featuring exclusive deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

    This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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