While reducing pain signals in the brain, ibuprofen also lowers the male sex hormone testosterone.
Within just two weeks, it seems that the testosterone-producing hormones in the subjects became linked to the amount of ibuprofen in their blood.
The condition is normally seen in older men and smokers, and is caused by the body having to boost testosterone levels because normal production in the testes is insufficient.
Researchers told CNN that, while these effects were reversible, they were unsure of whether there were long-term health effects associated with the prolonged use of ibuprofen.
Erma Z. Drobnis, a University of Missouri, Columbia, professor who specializes in fertility, says this study is important, given how common ibuprofen is, even with such a small sample size.
"Long-term use of ibuprofen has other negative effects on overall health so people should only be taking it over a period of weeks, months or years if a doctor has prescribed it". Of the group of men ages 18 through 35, 14 of them were given 600 milligrams twice a day. That number rose to a 23 percent decrease after 44 days.
All 3 drugs are considered anti-androgenic, meaning they disrupt male hormones.
. Long term, it can lead to a more serious condition called overt primary hypogonadism, which is characterized by low testosterone and libido, depressed mood and reduced muscle mass and strength.
Now, before you panic, there's no suggestion yet that occasionally relying on an ibuprofen will make your balls shrivel up and die. The higher and longer the level of exposure, the researchers found, the more dramatic the impact. The consistency of the results, however, as well as the earlier epidemiological results, suggest that there might really be an issue here.
The hormonal imbalance caused compensated hypogonadism, which is a condition linked to decreased male fertility, depression, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
According to the results of their study, taking aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen during pregnancy can lead to complications with regards to the development of babies.
If you are concerned about your levels of testosterone and your ibuprofen use, though, it's worth chatting to your GP so you can get checked out and find a way to deal with chronic aches and pains in a healthy way.