Can cause impotence in tight underwear
The choice of underwear is possibly not just a matter of taste: men who wear boxer shorts have more sperm than those who prefer tighter underpants, according to US medical professionals in the specialist magazine Human reproduction.
Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón's team from Harvard University examined 656 men and asked them what type of underpants they usually wear. The boxer shorts not only had a 17 percent increase in the total number of sperm cells, their sperm cells were also fitter: They had 33 percent more swimming sperm than the men with a different underwear preference, and a higher sperm concentration. In contrast, the concentration of a hormone that stimulates sperm production was higher in the blood of those wearing tight underpants. The researchers suspect that this could be a reaction of the body to the reduced number of seeds, so to speak to counteract the effect. To make sure that the differences were not caused by other factors that could affect fertility - such as how old the test subjects were, whether they smoked, were overweight, or how often they went to the sauna - the scientists calculated these variables out of the equation.
This isn't the first study to show a link between underwear and male fertility. The explanation is simple: the optimal temperature for the testicles is a few degrees below that of the body, around 33 degrees. Free dangling in boxer shorts allows cooling, while tight underwear can quickly become too warm for sperm formation.
The wrong underpants do not make you sterile
Nevertheless, no man has to worry about his fertility, the researchers emphasize: More than half of the men in the study preferred boxer shorts - nevertheless, the semen quality was still in the normal range for all the others.
The subjects had been selected in a fertility clinic, which they visited with their wives, because they had problems getting pregnant. Factors such as the pants that were worn over them were also not investigated. Boxer shorts under skinny jeans are probably just as bad for cooler testicles as tight briefs.
The Federal Institute for Population Research announced just a few weeks ago that more and more couples in Germany are making use of the services of so-called fertility centers because they cannot naturally have offspring. In order to restrict male fertility as little as possible when trying to have a baby, according to the new findings it could not hurt to wear wide underpants and thus maximize the sperm count with simple means.
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