Taking painkillers like aspirin could leave your unborn sons infertile, according to a report published in Human Reproduction, Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal.
The researchers warned that prolonged use of paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen could put unborn boys at risk of fertility problems, poor sperm quality and testicular cancer in later life.
It’s estimated that around half of all pregnant women take painkillers during pregnancy, most often for headaches.
Scientists said that that unborn babies are most at risk between the fourth and six month of pregnancy when taking one painkiller doubled the risk compared to women who took none. Paracetamol doubled the risk, while ibuprofen or aspirin increased it four-fold. The study also claimed that taking two painkillers together increased the risk 16-fold. The senior scientist at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen who led the research, said mild painkillers acted as hormone disruptors, intensifying low-level exposure from environmental chemicals in the womb.
Dr Henrik Leffers said: ‘If exposure to endocrine disruptors is the mechanism behind the increasing reproductive problems among young men in the Western World, this research suggests that particular attention should be paid to the use of mild analgesics during pregnancy, as this could be a major reason for the problems.’
He warned that women should try to reduce their use of over-the-counter analgesics during pregnancy.