NSAIDs, like the OTC drugs that some women regularly take for menstrual cramps or cramping associated with ovulation, have been found to cause a drop in progesterone … A significant drop in progesterone. 

According to a very recent study’s lead investigator, Professor Sami Salman of the Department of Rheumatology at the University of Baghdad, the findings have some serious implications:

“After just ten days of treatment we saw a significant decrease in progesterone, a hormone essential for ovulation, across all treatment groups, as well as functional cysts in one third of patients.”

The women were taking just about the equivalent amount of NSAIDs that can be found in about two caplets of Aleve. Here are the exact amounts of the NSAIDs used in the study that was responsible for the significant drop of progesterone:

diclofenac (100mg once daily)

or

naproxen (500mg twice daily)

or

etoricoxib (90mg once daily)

 

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) stressed that there could be big problems with the use of NSAIDs by women trying to have children.

“These findings show that even short-term use of these popular, over-the-counter drugs could have a significant impact on a women’s ability to have children. This needs to be better communicated to patients with rheumatic diseases, who may take these drugs on a regular basis with little awareness of the impact.”

Women need progesterone for more than ovulating and getting pregnant, though, so NSAIDs might affect more than just ovulation. Progesterone is crucial in maintaining a pregnancy as well. The endometrium needs progesterone during pregnancy to sustain the fetus for pretty much the entire first trimester.

How many miscarriages have been blamed on low progesterone? Heart-wrenching anecdotes abound from women who suffered multiple miscarriages due to low progesterone.

The effects of the NSAIDs on progesterone levels were so significant that Prof. Salman said that this could open the door for a new kind of emergency contraception. Prof. Salman stated that women in their childbearing years should be warned that NSAIDs can have negative effects on fertility and pregnancy.

But wait, there’s more. Low progesterone can cause women problems later in pregnancy as well. Here’s what the March of Dimes says about progesterone:

“Progesterone plays a key role during pregnancy. In early pregnancy, it helps your uterus (womb) grow and keeps it from having contractions. If you have contractions in early pregnancy, it may lead to miscarriage. This is the death of a baby in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy. In later pregnancy, progesterone helps your breasts get ready to make breast milk. It also helps your lungs work harder to give oxygen to your growing baby.”

Even though last year, Israeli researchers said that NSAIDs won’t increase risks to pregnancy, we need to consider this: Basically, women need progesterone for most aspects of bringing a child into the world, and NSAIDs, according to the most recent research, causes a significant decline in progesterone.

This might be a very big deal. Please pass this information along.

[Photo via Pixabay]