If you are someone who reaches for over the counter pain relievers occasionally, you should know that they very well may be impacting your ability to ovulate normally. This is a little-known fertility fact: taking NSAIDs (such as Advil, Motrin, aspirin, Excedrin and Aleve) has been shown to cause LUFS, or luteinizing unruptured follicule syndrome. This just means that the egg matures in the ovary but doesn’t get released even though it is ready. The other possibility with taking NSAIDs is that the egg’s release is delayed- by on average 5 days, during which it continues to grow. This “over-ripens” the egg, making its quality less than ideal. One study also showed decreased progesterone levels- which is important for proper implantation and lining development.
The take-home message is- if you do need to take a pain reliever anytime while you are trying to get pregnant, go with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead. It has not been shown to have any effect on ovulation or conception. If you suffer from aches and pains and regularly need to take over the counter pain relievers, try acupuncture! It is excellent treatment for musculo-skeletal pain, headaches and arthritis, just to name a few.
For a detailed list of the studies which have been completed on NSAIDs and their effect on ovulation click here.