Painkillers During Pregnancy Affect Male Fertility

Nov 09, 2010
Women, who use such common painkillers as paracetamol and ibuprofen during pregnancy may put their baby boys at risk of developing reproductive problems, a new study suggests.

The researchers from Finland, Denmark and France say that women, who used a combination of several painkillers during pregnancy, were more likely to have sons with the cryptorchidism, a condition that are characterized by undescended testicles.

This problem may often cause testicular cancer or fertility problems, such as low sperm count and poor sperm quality. The risk is especially high if a woman takes these mild painkillers during the second trimester of pregnancy.

It is known that more than half of all pregnant women make use of mild painkillers during pregnancy. And while women should avoid using medicines during pregnancy, many doctors still consider using paracetomol or ibuprofen and aspirin as safe medicine during pregnancy.

Researchers believe that the decreasing male fertility is partly caused by the use of painkillers. According to the stats, the sperm count decreased by 50 percent in the past half century.

During the study the scientists questioned 834 women in Denmark and 1,463 women in Finland about the use of painkillers during pregnancy. The baby boys were examined for the signs of cryptorchidism, which ranged from the mild form to more severe one.

The risk if undescended testicles was higher if a woman took more than one painkiller during the second trimester of pregnancy, from 4 to 6 months of pregnancy, when the male organs are forming. Scientists say that mild analgesics disrupt the supplies of testosterone, male hormone that plays an important role in the development of male reproductive system.