Common over-the-counter pain relievers may affect women’s fertility

Although there have been prior studies to suggest that over-the-counter pain relievers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can delay the day that a woman ovulates, a recent presentation of data by Dr. Sami Salman at the 2015 European League Against Rheumatism Congress has brought attention to this topic once more.  The recent study included 39 women who took NSAIDs such as naproxen prior to, and in proximity of, ovulation.  There was a 75%-93% reduction in ovulation among women who took NSAIDs and lower progesterone levels were associated with NSAID use as well.  One third of the women developed ovarian cysts due to unruptured follicles.  Upon discontinuation of taking NSAIDs, women resumed with normal ovulation again the next month, which showed that the effects of NSAIDs on fertility are reversible.

Dr. Shahryar Kavoussi, Medical Director at Austin Fertility and Reproductive Medicine/Westlake IVF states, “For years, we at AFRM have advised fertility patients to avoid taking over-the-counter NSAIDs in the peri-ovulatory timeframe due to concerns about delayed ovulation or decreased ovulation rates.  The recent data presented in Rome by Dr. Salman supports this concept”.