Choosing to wear looser underpants may be a simple solution for men looking to improve their sperm count and the hormones controlling it.
This is according to a US study of 656 men by researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Boxer short wearers had a 25% higher sperm concentration than men wearing tight-fitting underpants.
Researchers believe that cooler temperatures around the testicles may be the reason. Simple lifestyle changes may also improve men’s fertility.
Sperm production is sensitive and requires an ideal temperature of 34C (92F) which is why the testicles hang down away from the body. Certain types of underpants can bring the scrotum closer to the body, causing the testicles to warm up. Boxer shorts are cooler and looser, meaning they don’t cause this problem.
What The Male Sperm Count Study Shows
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, is the largest of its kind to date. Researchers found men attending a fertility clinic with looser-fitting boxer shorts had a higher sperm concentration – a 17% higher total sperm count and 33% more swimming sperm than men with tight-fitting underwear. The sperm shape or DNA quality wasn’t affected however.
Factors that may affect sperm such as age, body mass index (BMI), smoking habits and hot tub use all speculate that a higher level of heat inside the pants is causing the problem.
The study researchers also found that a hormone from the brain that tells the testicles to produce sperm, known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) was 14% lower in those wearing looser underwear.
The findings suggest that this hormone kicks into gear when it needs to compensate for increasing scrotal temperatures and decreasing sperm counts in tight underwear.
Prof Allan Pacey, professor of andrology, from the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the study, said the different levels of FSH among men with different types of underwear “suggests that the tight-pant wearers have evidence of testicular damage”.
Simple Lifestyle Solutions For Increasing Male Sperm Counts
While the sperm counts were considered in the normal range – the issue is more to do with sperm quantity and quality. Switching from tight to more loose fitting underwear is a cheap and easy solution to counteracting this problem.
If you’re trying for a baby, planning in advance is essential. Experts say it takes about three months for an entire population of sperm to change. As reproduction requires two people to make a baby, it’s not just a female problem.
Infertility can happen at any age when lifestyle factors such as this are contributing to the problem. Men can take control of their fertility by making such simple shifts as changing their style of underpants.
Other factors that can impact male fertility include keeping a cell phone in your pocket. In 2014, University of Exeter scientists found that men who keep their cell phone in their pant pocket may be compromising their fertility.
Taking the right nutrients and antioxidants to boost sperm count may also improve male infertility. For example, supplementing with Co-enzyme Q10 can help to improve sperm movement in infertile men.
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