Study looks at boxer shorts versus underpants and sperm count

Maricruz Casares
Agosto 10, 2018

"Beyond providing additional evidence that underwear choices may impact fertility, our study provides evidence, for the first time, that a seemingly random lifestyle choice could have profound impacts on hormone production in men at both the level of the testis and the brain", Jorge Chavarro, senior author of the study and associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology, said in the statement.

The full findings are present in the journal- Human Reproduction. This study has the largest sample size yet, including 656 male partners of couples seeking treatment at the fertility center of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

There have been several studies of late that show that there is a steady decline in sperm counts. These men were found to have sperm concentrations that were 25% higher than the men who mostly wore tighter-fitting types of underwear, and total sperm counts that were 17% higher.

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FSH promotes sperm production. Almost half of the men - 345, said that they preferred boxer shorts over bikini briefs for men. Their sperm were 33 percent more motile. Higher levels in men who didn't wear boxers could be evidence of the body trying to compensate for the challenge to sperm production wrought by tight underwear, Chavarro said.

Wearing looser underpants could be a simple way for men to improve their sperm count and the hormones that control it, a U.S. study suggests. From the semen samples the team of researchers looked at total count of sperm, motility of the sperms, morphology or appearance of the sperm and the extent of DNA damage to the sperm. The cause behind such fall is unknown say experts. "There seems some compensation, but this compensation is not sufficient to bring them back to sperm counts of men who wear looser-fitting underwear". This study adds to the scientific basis to that advice. "Though the physiological mechanisms behind this pattern remain mysterious, the authors also discovered that men who wore briefs, "jockeys" (tight but long undies), or 'bikinis" (tight and very short undies) had lower blood levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) - a chemical messenger involved in spermatogenesis that is produced in the brain's pituitary gland.

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