Sorry men, scientists say ibuprofen may be bad for your testicles

Painkillers.
(Image credit: iStock)

Guys, you may want to gird your loins for this bombshell.

A new study suggests that some men who regularly take the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen could be doing serious damage to their testicles, or at least the stuff stored inside them, CNN reported Tuesday. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, found that ibuprofen altered the balance of hormones tasked with producing testosterone in the study's participants — resulting in less testosterone production. In clinical terms, this is known as "hypogonadism." This condition, CNN explains, can lead not only to fertility issues — it can also be linked to depression, fatigue, and possibly even a higher risk of heart problems.

Researchers came to this somewhat disturbing conclusion after splitting 31 male test subjects between the ages of 18 and 35 into two groups; they gave one group ibuprofen, and the other group a placebo. The ibuprofen-poppers were instructed to take the recommended daily dosage limit of 1,200 mg day. It didn't take long — just two weeks — for the drug to disrupt the hormonal balance and rate of testosterone production of these men. Researchers even tested ibuprofen on "bits of human testes" collected from organ donors and saw the same result: The drug hampered testosterone output.

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This study might be especially troubling for athletes; Bernard Jégou, one of the study's co-authors, told CNN that many athletes take ibuprofen regularly to combat the aches and pains that accompany their sport, and warns that long-term usage like this could do irreversible damage. But, don't worry, if you just want to dull the pain of a minor ankle sprain for a week or two, Jégou says, "it is sure that these effects are reversible."

Read more about the study at CNN and the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

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