Ever see that headline that addresses a question that’s been nagging at you? When you are struggling with infertility, a lot of things are nagging at you. Is there something I could be doing differently to resolve this? Did I forget to ask a question? Is there a treatment or method I don’t know that could help? And headlines can answer questions – or create questions – you never knew you had.
Here is a sample of some (not all) headlines that came out about a recent study. I took the liberty to highlight what I learned just by reading enough headlines (and share some of my reactions).
- This over-the-counter painkiller has been linked to male infertility (what is it?!? I have to click, right???)
- Study Links Ibuprofen with Male Infertility (oh)
- Study: Ibuprofen may lead to male infertility (may lead?)
- Ibuprofen use linked to male infertility, study finds (linked or leads?)
- Ibuprofen linked to Male Infertility in Small Study (how small?)
- New study suggests ibuprofen could be linked to male infertility (getting vague now)
- Ibuprofen use may be linked to male infertility (back to links and maybes. But there is a lot of headlines. Maybe there is something here)
- Taking a lot of ibuprofen could mess with men’s fertility – here’s what you should know (Wait, how much? And what does mess mean?)
- Regular Ibuprofen Use May Contribute to Male infertility, Study Says (how often is regular?)
- Daily Ibuprofen usage associated with infertility (that’s pretty regular, but how much? And what is associated? for what kind of infertility? Nothing male here!)
- Should you worry about new study linking ibuprofen to male infertility? (Why are you asking me this?)
- Ibuprofen could cause male infertility? (Cause? How come you can’t decide if this is a question or a statement?)
Did you want to click? Did you want to know more? If there is a male involved with your fertility struggles, did it make you think about perhaps switching to acetaminophen? Did you consider past use? Did you wonder if maybe it effects women too?
Here is a question I have for you now: Do you trust your doctor? If you do, tell him or her about any medications you take and ask questions. If the doctor is not sure, ask your doctor where you can learn more. Stay away from the random newspaper or internet site that gives quick quotes about research. Because here is what you really need to know:
- Infertility is complex
- There are more causes and possible scenarios for fertility challenges than any one article could ever address
- It is not your fault. There is rarely a quick “fix”
- The news is not meant to make you feel better or address your situation. A lot of news is meant to sell, and fear sells
- The last thing someone experiencing infertility or fertility challenges needs is another reason to worry.
In case you were curious, the study is with 31 men. The test was only for six weeks. The results were not causal and they were reversible. So to the last question, does Ibuprofen cause infertility (was that really a question?). No. Ibuprofen maybe, could be linked to “messing” with men’s fertility if he is taking a lot, daily.
Summary: Talk to your doctor about any medications you and your partner are taking.
And read a good book, have a cup of tea or take a walk outside to give you a break from the stress of reading the news.
Update: Ransom paid here (Headline: The truth about ibuprofen and male infertility)