- Research has revealed that painkillers could be harmful to an unborn child when taken by the mother during pregnancy
- The study was carried out by researchers from Edinburgh University
- According to the study, ovaries exposed to paracetamol for one week had more than 40% fewer egg-producing cells
A new study has revealed that pregnant women who take painkillers could be harming the fertility of their unborn child, and even that of future generations.
Researchers from Edinburgh University looked at the effects of paracetamol and ibuprofen on samples of human foetal testes and ovaries, NAN reports.
Legit.ng notes that the results indicated that ovaries exposed to paracetamol for one week had more than 40 per cent fewer egg-producing cells. The effect of ibuprofen was even greater as the number of cells was almost halved.
Girls produce all of their eggs in the womb, so if they are born with a reduced number it could lead to an early menopause, experts say.
The study showed that painkiller exposure during pregnancy could have effects on unborn boys as well. Testicular tissue exposed to the drugs had around a quarter fewer sperm-producing cells.
Scientists found that the drugs can trigger mechanisms in the cells that make changes in the structure of DNA, leaving “marks” that can be inherited. As a result, the effects of painkillers on fertility may be passed on to future generations.
The research team leader, Dr Rod Mitchell, said: “We could encourage women to think carefully before taking painkillers during pregnancy and to follow the existing guidelines — taking the lowest possible dose for the shortest time possible."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported Dr Aliyu Dahiru Waziri of the department of Hematology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Shika, Zaria, said that repeated use of paracetamol, could lead to kidney disease.
In a lecture titled ‘Managing Sickle Cell Crises’, on Friday, the doctor said research has shown that consistent consumption of paracetamol can affect the function of the kidney.
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