Excessive Use of Tylenol / Acetaminophen May Negatively Affect Testosterone Levels in Unborn Boys

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on April 19th, 2024
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Tylenol is one of the most popular pain relievers used in the United States and is clinically known as Acetaminophen or Paracetamol. Some risks have long been associated with the over-use of Tylenol, one of the most common of which is liver damage.

Tylenol is the leading cause of Liver Toxicity in both the United States and Great Britain.

A recent study produced by the University of Edinburgh shows evidence that Tylenol use may have another, less recognizable effect upon human beings. When taken regularly during pregnancy, Tylenol appears to suppress Testosterone production by male children in the womb.

Tylenol Linked to Reproductive Issues in Boys

Previous studies have provided similar data, which shows that taking too much Tylenol while pregnant can lead to increased odds of reproductive abnormalities in the male child.

Producers of Tylenol and its generic counterparts are already required to label their bottles to indicate the risk and warn that pregnant women should use Tylenol as briefly as possible with the lowest dosage of medication to provide relief. Many women may wish to forgo Tylenol entirely as a result of this information.

Prenatal Testosterone Study Performed on Mice

This particular study was conducted on rodents, but the way that the liver processes Tylenol, and the way that Testosterone production is related to liver function is similar in both mice and human beings.

The mice in this study were provided Tylenol three times per day for seven days. After a single week, the rodents produced only 55% as much Testosterone as the control counterparts.

The Importance of Testosterone

Testosterone is the lynchpin of male function and health and suppressed Testosterone Levels are associated with a host of medical issues, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, and obesity.

For women that are pregnant, it is incredibly important to provide a healthy body for the fetus to develop and grow into a thriving child, and anything that blocks the healthy release of Testosterone in the womb can cause sexual issues in the child, including, but not limited to undescended testicles, heightened risk of testicular cancer, and fertility issues.

The mice in this study were surgically modified to imitate the healthy development of the testes in the womb. Researchers grafted the rodents with living tissue from human testicles.

Previous research has revealed that this method very closely imitates the real way in which the body grows and forms the testes during prenatal development.

Regular Use of Testosterone Linked to Testosterone Suppression

Tylenol, when used for aches and pains, is generally taken three times per day, up to seven days. Researchers dosed the rats 21 times in seven days, then recorded Testosterone production sixty minutes after the last dose was given.

What researchers discovered was that Tylenol did not have an immediate effect upon Testosterone Levels after a single day of treatment, but a full week of Testosterone Administration led to a forty-five percent drop in Testosterone Levels.

This study is essential, because it strengthens the evidence regarding the dangers of Tylenol use during pregnancy, as it can negatively impact the healthy development of the male fetus.

Based on the results of the study, researchers do not suggest that pregnant women give up Tylenol altogether, but that they are conscientious about the use of the drug, and use it for the least number of days and use just enough to achieve sufficient pain relief.

Testosterone Abuse and Overdose are Very Dangerous

One issue that often gets people in trouble is that they lean on Tylenol for long-term pain, taking it for longer than recommended, even at standard dosage. The other issue is that Tylenol, at the suggested dosage, does not provide sufficient relief, and people take more to compensate, which can be dangerous.

The risks of both of these choices are heightened in the case of the pregnant mother because Testosterone is actively molding and shaping the unborn child, whereas, in adults, Testosterone is used merely to promote health and hormone balance, so Testosterone Deficiency does not affect development, merely normal function.

Doctors recommend that any woman that experiences pain that low-dose, low-frequency Tylenol can't resolve, go to a medical professional that can help them find a pain treatment that is safe for their unborn child.

Drug Use Should Be Limited During Pregnancy

Specialist Doctor Martin Ward-Platt explains that there are a wide variety of drugs that can negatively impact the unborn child, and, unless necessary, pregnant women should try not to take any medications during their pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.

There are many conditions, such as modest pain and colds, that don't require medicine, and, if at all possible, the mother should just bear through the issue. Of course, some patients may feel that Tylenol is essential to them. Before continuing a Tylenol regimen, it is vitally important to seek the advice of a medical professional, or from a nearby pharmacy.

Limited, Conscientious Use Appears Safe with a Doctors Approval

Dr. Ward-Platt explains further, that this particular study only relates to the frequent use of Tylenol, and that Tylenol is much safer and will likely cause no problems when used briefly for the treatment of fever or other episodic medical issues.

The doctor even suggests that, in the case of a fever, the benefits of Tylenol used once or twice to relieve a fever are significant as compared to the potential risks of having a prolonged fever while pregnant. Fevers are associated with issues with the developing heart, and spina bifida, for example.

His final note regarding Tylenol is that mothers should not use Tylenol until they seek the advice of a medical professional, whether that be their physician or their pharmacist.

On the other hand, the majority of women should not worry about using Tylenol for pain or fever, as long as it is used only briefly for episodic issues. For issues that last more than a couple of days, other treatment options should always be weighted heavily over Tylenol.


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