You get a headache, you take an aspirin. You have cramps, you down an Advil. You strain a muscle, you take a Tylenol or a Motrin. Who doesn’t? These may all seem like normal actions, but consider this fact: many new studies being reported in the world’s most prestigious medical journals are reporting a direct link between the use of anti-inflammatory analgesics such as aspirin, Tylenol and Motrin and a failure to ovulate.
Amazing, but true. Research is now showing that these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications (also known as NSAIDs), can actually prevent the follicles in the ovaries from bursting and releasing eggs for fertilization. Often referred to as luteinizing unruptured follicle syndrome (LUF or LUFS), this can result in an inability to get pregnant.
Does that mean that taking ibuprofen once in awhile will kill your chances of having a baby? Not necessarily, but no one is sure exactly how much it takes to sabotage a pregnancy. Some doctors believe that taking just a single dose right before ovulation can keep the egg from releasing that month. The most concern, however, is in regards to women who take these drugs on a regular basis.
This leaves most doctors agreeing that women should avoid taking any type of NSAID a few days before she believes ovulation will take place, just to safeguard her fertility. And, regular use of the drug should be avoided at all costs since its properties can build up in your system over time and prolong its fertility effects.
At the present time there is no evidence to indicate that taking aspirin or any other type of anti-inflammatory medication has any affect on a man’s ability to produce quality sperm.
The good news is that infertility caused by NSAID use can be completely reversible in most cases. Once the anti-inflammatory drugs are cleared from the system, regular ovulation seems to resume, making it more possible for natural conception to occur.
Does all this mean that aspirin is bad for one’s fertility? Not always. There is some evidence to indicate that aspirin can actually help some couples get pregnant. In rare instances, certain antibody reactions within the body could be hampering conception. This is caused when anti-nuclear, lupus and anticardioipin antibodies are present. In this case, the medicinal use of aspirin and other NSAIDs can be used to reduce inflammation and stop this negative reaction.
As is the case with most issues, simply saying no to aspirin and its counterparts is not always the best thing. What’s important is to ask your doctor about NSAID use and its affect on your ability to get pregnant.
Adnan S. Al-Janabi. Pharmacological effects of low-dose of aspirin on ovulation rate in mature cycleing female mice. Middle East Fertility Society Journal, 2007