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Painkillers in Pregnancy May Harm Son's Fertility, Study Suggests
Date:11/11/2010

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women who use mild painkillers may boost the risk that their male children will grow up to be infertile, a new European study suggests.

Commenting on the study, a U.S. researcher said the findings are weak, although he thinks pregnant women should be careful around painkillers, including aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, for another reason: miscarriages.

The European study, which included 834 women in Denmark and 1,463 in Finland, found that women who combined more than one mild painkiller at the same time were seven times more likely to give birth to sons with undescended testicles compared to women who took no painkillers.

In particular, the second trimester seemed to be the most vulnerable time, with any use of mild painkillers during that time period more than doubling the risk, the study authors noted in a news release from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Combining more than one painkiller during the second trimester increased the risk 16-fold, the investigators reported in the study published online Nov. 8 in the journal Human Reproduction.

It appears that it is becoming more common for males to have undescended testicles, particularly in Denmark, where the incidence has increased from 1.8 percent in 1959-1961 to 8.5 percent in 1997-2001, the study authors noted. The condition is thought to boost the risk of infertility and testicular cancer later in life. However, many males with undescended testicles grow up without these problems, they added.

In support of the findings, a study in rats by researchers from France and Denmark found that painkillers disrupt the endocrine system, changing the way the body produces testosterone.

"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 attentio
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