Boxers vs briefs: Men who wear boxers have higher sperm count

Modesto Morganelli
Agosto 11, 2018

The levels of follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH was found to be higher among men who wore briefs regularly.

"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", said study senior author Jorge Chavarro.

But if that isn't enough to put men off of wearing them in favour of boxers, this new study just might.

FSH promotes sperm production.

The study was published August 8 in the journal Human Reproduction. Choice of underwear seemed to affect only the total count of the sperm and the other parameters remained unaffected.

For this study, researchers collected information and semen samples from 656 men who were part of couples that were seeking treatment at a fertility center.

There have been several studies of late that show that there is a steady decline in sperm counts. 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. Their sperm were 33 percent more motile.

Importantly, while those differences were significant, none of the men had clinically low sperm counts - so while wearing looser boxers might be better for your sperm count, going for tighter ones wouldn't necessarily make you infertile.

More than half (345) wore boxer shorts, and only a slightly smaller number of the group wore snugger-fitting underwear: 311. Further the levels of their FSH was 14 percent lower.

"Since men can modify the type of underwear they choose to wear, these results may be useful to improve men's testicular function", lead researcher, Dr Lidia Minguez-Alarcon, a research scientist at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said.

Commenting on the research, Prof Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology, University of Sheffield, said: "This study confirms my long-held belief that men with poor sperm quality could potentially improve things by wearing looser underwear and keeping their testicles as cool as possible".

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