Pregnant women who use a combination of more than one painkiller such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen stand a greater chance of giving birth to sons with undescended testicles. (Egads.) So says a study done by researchers from Finland, Denmark and France.
Undescended testicles, known as cryptorchidism, is considered to be a risk factor of poor semen quality. Males who suffer from the condition also have a greater risk of being diagnosed with testicular cancer later in life.
The study, which was published Monday and reported by Reuters, examined two groups of women—834 from Denmark and 1,463 from Finland. These women were asked about their medicine use during pregnancy and their answers were analyzed in conjunction with examinations of their sons at birth which looked for signs of cryptorchidism.
The results concluded that women who concurrently took a combination of painkillers had seven times the chance of giving birth to a son with some form of cryptorchidism. The results were even more drastic for women in the second trimester. They stood 16 times the chance of giving birth to a son with cryptorchidism.
The study was corroborated by researches who studied rats in Denmark and France and found that analgesics led to a dearth of testosterone during the time of gestation when male organs are formed. As a result of these findings, lead researcher Henrik Leffers of Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet suggests that “women may want to try to reduce their analgesic use during pregnancy.”
Other experts believe that the findings, although alarming, should be “interpreted with caution.” British researcher Allan Pacey of Sheffield University says: “It is worth noting the researchers found a significant difference when women had used painkillers for two weeks or more and that the impact was greatest when taking them during their second trimester. Clearly further research is needed as a matter of priority.”
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